University’s job: Win, save the Big East
Published: Monday, October 11, 2010
Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 22:10
Could the Big East's reputation be worse right now?
The Big East's favorites Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are both 2-3 with no wins against a respectable opponent, and Rutgers and a struggling Tom Savage – who entered the season as "the league's best quarterback" – lost at home to Tulane.
Connecticut has nothing to brag about except Jordan Todman and an undefeated home record – except those three victories were against Texas Southern, Buffalo and Vanderbilt.
Louisville may have the most impressive non-conference win out of the entire bunch – a 56-0 win over a horrible Memphis team.
Even Syracuse beat South Florida Saturday for the first time in the program's history.
WVU offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen called SU's win "shocking."
Even more outrageous is the Orange is one of only two teams in the league that one couldn't make an argument for the always admirable title of "worst team in the Big East."
The other is West Virginia.
The Mountaineers have been solid this season, minus the one slipup against the current No. 12 LSU in Baton Rouge.
It was a loss that WVU shouldn't be ashamed of.
The program should be embarrassed in the rest of its league, though. Everyone knew the Big East wasn't going to do too many special things this year, but no one thought that entering the heart of the conference schedule, the league would be 22-15 – a winning percentage of just 59 – against out-of-conference teams.
It's the worst mark in the nation among BCS bowl eligible leagues and the only winning percentage in the group under 60 percent.
No Big East team has impressed at any point this season. That is except for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia is clearly the most talented team in the conference and should win and go undefeated in the conference with little trouble.
I'm sure the folks at the Big East headquarters in Providence, R.I., are praying they do. WVU has to if the Big East wants to save any of the little positive reputation it may have left.
A standout, top-15 team is what the conference needs now more than ever. It needs a clear leader and one powerhouse team.
Big East teams have beaten each other up in the past, but this year the league doesn't need its champion going 5-2 in one of the worst leagues in the country. In a conference that prides itself on competitiveness, a close race for the Big East crown would be in the worst interest of the league.
West Virginia will begin its quest to become the much-needed standout team when it hosts South Florida Thursday in the Mountaineers' Big East opener.
WVU has an opportunity in the game to show the nation it's no laughing matter, although its conference may be.
The Mountaineers have a chance to shine a rare positive light on the Big East.
"It's on the table right now," said WVU safety Robert Sands of the Big East Championship trophy.
Those folks in Providence are ready to engrave it.