Big East Football: Connecticut, Pittsburgh Create 'Mediocre' Chaos

-- See SB Nation's On The Banks for Rutgers coverage, and Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician for Syracuse coverage.

Oh, boy. This could get ugly.

Last Saturday, after Syracuse lost to Louisville, 28-20, and gave the Pittsburgh Panthers a potential two-game advantage in the Big East standings, it seemed like everyone in the conference was playing for second place.

This Saturday, everyone but last-place Cincinnati is back in the Big East title race. Well, that's not even true.

That's because Connecticut running back Jordan Todman turned into the Techmo-Bowl Nintendo Version of Bo Jackson, rushing for 222 yards, and helping the Huskies beat the Panthers, 30-28, on Thursday night.

Pittsburgh still holds a one-game advantage but has a tough three-game schedule remaining -- at South Florida (Nov. 20), vs. West Virginia (Nov. 26), at Cincinnati (Dec. 4).


Big East Conference Standings

(updated 11.12.2010 at 2:48 AM EST)


What now?

Currently, the Big East BCS bowl bid can be summed up like this.

"Odds are this is going to be a big old jumbled mess that's too unpredictable to call at this point," wrote ESPN.com Big East blogger Brian Bennett in his Friday mailbag.

That is true. The conference standings are so screwed up that with four weeks remaining even the last-place team, Cincinnati, has a shot at the title -- it's a long shot, but it's a shot.

Pittsburgh's loss not only made the next four weeks of games more important -- shhhhh, don't tell the BCS committee -- but it also is helping the Big East set records.

"Halfway through the Big East season the conference is on track to produce arguably the lowest-rated team by far to ever play in a Bowl Championship Series game," wrote Wall Street Journal's Darren Everson on Friday. "Big East leader Pittsburgh has a computer ranking of 46 -- and that's due to drop even further because of the Panther's loss at Connecticut on Thursday night. In the 12-year history of the BCS, the lowest-rated team to reach a BCS bowl game was Pittsburgh in 2004 (33rd)."

According to  Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, Pittsburgh possibly could become the sixth team in history to play in a BCS bowl with at least three losses.

"Yes, BCS membership has its privileges," he wrote in a well-written article that chronicles pretty much everything current in the Big East. 

Things are so mediocre that even the stat geeks are ribbing on the conference's poor play.

"How bad of a year has it been for the Big East?" asked Paul Kinney of the Stats & Info Blog at ESPN.com. "Consider that we're in Week 11 and the Big East is the only BCS-AQ conference WITHOUT a bowl-eligible team. That's amazing when you look at the other conferences and how many teams are already bowl-eligible."

Despite the mediocre play, Big East presidents and committee members are still seeing the glass as half-full.

How do I know this?

On Thursday, Joe Perez of the Norwich Bulletin blogged that the conference launched Big East Bowl Central, "a website designed to allow fans to share their bowl experiences."

Did I mention that NO Big East teams has yet to become bowl eligible? Syracuse, South Florida, West Virginia and Louisville could become eligible with victories on Saturday.

Ironically, mediocrity is creating excitement.

Now that Pittsburgh is deciding to play like the rest of the conference the next four weeks are going to be a battle -- a not so pretty battle, but a battle.

If TCU were playing in the Big East this season, the conference title would have been wrapped up weeks ago. Every fan would rooting for a second-place finish. That's not the case now.

Maybe the Big East presidents and committee members have it right.

It really doesn't matter how good or bad your conference is.

So what if you and your friends are the smallest and weakest kids on the playground, the ones who get picked on because you play Star Wars with imaginary light sabers. The fact is everyone is having fun. Who cares what others might think?

In the end, the Big East is producing something their fans are enjoying. Even though it may be a bit against the college football grain.

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