September 11, 2007


Ascension of Big East Appears To Be No Fluke (RUSSELL LEVINE, September 11, 2007, NY Sun)

The conference's recent history reads like the rising of the phoenix. It lost three marquee programs, Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech, in 2004 and 2005. Yet today, the Big East is a better overall league than the ACC to which those three schools bolted.

Rutgers's climb to join West Virginia and Louisville in the ranks of the national elite gave the conference some much-needed credibility last season. A nation's best 5-0 mark in bowl games brought even more. The ability of West Virginia and Rutgers to keep their coaches from departing for higher-profile programs this winter sent a message about those schools' longterm commitment to football.

But even the architect of the Big East's resurgence, commissioner Mike Tranghese, knows that only depth can bring his conference the respect of the type the SEC is afforded. Tranghese had to be smiling when South Florida managed to beat Louisville and West Virginia the past two seasons. Those losses hurt the title chances of the conference's marquee teams, but they also proved that the league as a whole was getting better.

Last weekend brought even more good news for the Big East. South Florida staged its most noteworthy upset, winning at Auburn in overtime. It was the second time the Big East has stung the SEC in recent seasons, following West Virginia's upset of Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

It used to be harder to be the 2nd best conference.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2007 12:00 AM

Yawn. The SEC is probably the best conference, but along with that comes being unquestionably the most overrated. The Pac-10 is clearly no worse than #2, and if you had to match up team-by-team, they'd do no worse than split the 10 games.

Posted by: b at September 11, 2007 11:16 AM

Come on down and play a season in the SEC. You'd be so beat up that you would be bound to lose your bowl games.

Posted by: Bartman at September 11, 2007 1:31 PM

Yes, the SEC is the deepest league.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2007 2:39 PM