Big East – 2012
2012 Big East Conference Profile
The one thing that seems to be for sure in the Big East is so many people picking South Florida to win it in the pre-season. While the majority of the rumblings are about Louisville, and rightfully so, it continues to amaze me how so many people can cling to a single season and expectations of a coach’s past performance. UConn and the crazy runs that Randy Edsell took them on has shown that anything can happen in the Big East. All of it’s current coaches are in no more than their 3rd year of experience and two are brand new to running a Big East team. It is quite ironic that those two new coaches, may have the biggest impact on how the Big East plays out in 2012.
The new team brought in to ‘replace’ the departed West Virginia University is the Temple Owls. It was no shock to the numbers in the CFBMatrix as Temple was seen as a top 5 selection to move up to the Big East. The Owls brought a huge media outlet, money and strong academics. What they did not bring was strong football. On the plus side for the Owls, the Big East is the weakest AQ conference in the country and it is harder to go 0-12 than it is to go 12-0. They may have some competition on the bottom with Syracuse and Connecticut if they get lucky, but the CFBMatrix is about finding the best odds of success and both the Orangemen and Huskies should beat the Owls. In the bottom tier of the conference.
The middle tier of Pitt and South Florida are the .500 teams. Both have slightly tougher conference schedules than my top 3 in 2012. Pitt has a new coach and the Bulls have a coach that has been at or below the Matrix predictions for 2 straight years. Fans like USF due to their 22 returning starters but I have shown that is a very misleading stat. Pitt’s talent was run into the ground by Wannstedt so while dangerous in the Big East, they are still in a rebuilding phase to get back to the upper part of the conference recruiting levels.
When the CFBMatrix spit out all the numbers, there was a 5-2 tie at the top of the conference with Louisville, Cincinnati and yes, Rutgers. Of the three, the one with the greatest potential for a monster season is the Scarlet Knights. Their talent and schedule rankings in the Matrix suggests the best odds for a top 10 season (it goes by total wins then conference strength). However, with a new head coach it is unlikely but I give them the edge in talent. While the Bearcats don’t have the talent levels, they have a proven coach. HC Jones has a positive effect on game outcome and his experience may be the difference in a conference championship tie breaker over the national favorite in the Big East, Louisville. But what is good coaching for the Bearcats is bad for the Cardinals. Coach Strong and his staff will loose the conference with home games. While solid on the road, they are terrible at home over the last 3 years. If they can win at home, they can win the conference. With other teams having talent or coaching advantages over Louisville, I have them behind Rutgers and Cincinnati as my conference favorites.