New Big East Power Rankings – Week 12

Welp. Rutgers is no longer part of the New Big East. Too many people will write too many words on this, so I’m not going to say much. Someone else will probably leave – all signs point to Louisville or UConn. But honestly, unless the ACC makes their $50M buyout stick to Maryland, the Big East isn’t the only conference in trouble. For as much strength as John Swofford got by wresting Notre Dame away from the Big East and any overtures from the B1G, he lost it by having a founding member split for cash. So the NBE rankings bid farewell to Rutgers and now has 12 teams.

Anyway, it’s Thanksgiving Day, so we’re going to be quick about the rankings this week. Think of these as the twitter version of the rankings – short and missing all the details.

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New Big East Power Rankings – Week 11

There are no more undefeated teams in the New Big East after Louisville fell at Syracuse this weekend. Louisville drops to #2 in the power rankings this week behind Rutgers. Louisville has a great offense but struggles defensively while Rutgers continues to shine on defense enough to let its offense do enough to win. Their season-ending battle should be a fun one.

As I continue to do these rankings, it is becoming more and more clear how important a new TV deal is to the conference.  The current one isn’t just low paying, it’s terrible exposure. For example, two of the top three teams in conference face off this week (Rutgers at Cincinnati). That’s a matchup between a top-25 team and a team that is receiving votes and can have a significant impact on who gets to go to a BCS bowl game this year, and it is being shown on the regional Big East Network. And while that is bad, it’s worse for lowly Memphis. This upcoming week’s game at UAB will be the third consecutive week Memphis gets no TV coverage – not even ESPN3 – for a game. For the season, Memphis will have 5 games with no TV, 2 on ESPN3, and 5 on regional TV. That’s not a great lineup for a school trying to pull itself out of the cellar of D-1A football. The new TV deal will not only infuse cash into schools, but also increase the national profile of the conference on the whole.

On to the power rankings!

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New Big East Power Rankings – Week 10

Ten weeks into the season and we’re at the point where we’re really not learning much new about the meta of the New Big East. But as a Navy fan, you have to like what the meta has shown us. The Midshipmen aren’t moving up from the #7 spot this week, but is it so bad to be sitting right smack in the middle of the new conference?

Last week I was asked by Dave69 if I thought there was a 4-4-4 pattern evolving in the New Big East. To finally answer him, I don’t see that existing in the conference.

But it’s extremely frustrating trying to break it down into parts. For example, one could say that we could define 4 “should win” teams this year based on their performances – Temple, USF, UConn, and Memphis. I think USF is having a crisis this year that may or may not cost Skip Holtz his job. But I certainly would not put the Bulls into that category long-term. Temple and UConn have had some success in the last 5 years, but are clearly regressing some this season. So at best there are 3 teams that are “should wins” in a good year for Navy. The issue with applying that to Navy’s schedule is that we’ll probably only get all 3 of those teams once every 6 years while divisional matchups rotate.

The “toss-ups” also shrink. Right now I’d put Houston, SMU, and SDSU into a toss-up category. But SDSU just beat Boise State at Boise, making them a prime candidate to move up to “stretch.” That would shrink the toss-ups to just two teams out of 13, and likely just one regular year-in-and-out opponent.

That means there is a whopping large “stretch” category. Once USF gets back on track, there will be 6 teams firmly in there – nearly half the conference. Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Boise State, and UCF are clearly stretch games for Navy at this point.

So there you have it. Being fairly optimistic the NBE sets up as a 6-3-3 conference right now. When you realize that our OOC schedule of Army, Air Force, Notre Dame, and a (likely) 1-AA team gives us a 1-2-1 lineup, you start to see how going 6-6 will be a really good season.

Ok, that’s my opinion. I invite others to share theirs in the comments. And now – the rankings!

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New Big East Power Rankings – Week 9

And then there was one. Nine weeks into the season, Louisville is the sole undefeated team left in the New Big East. We all knew that that Highlander rules applied, but I don’t think anyone foresaw a couple of MAC teams wielding the swords that would lop the zeroes off of the records of Rutgers and Cincinnati. A week after Cincinnati fell to Toledo, Rutgers hosted Kent State and became the first ranked team the Golden Flashes beat in the history of the program – some 92 years.

Despite the disappointing out of conferences losses, it’s fair to say that the New Big East is doing better than most would have forecast before the season. In fact, Louisville checks in at #10 in the latest BCS rankings, while Boise at #19 just needs to keep winning and will likely finish inside the top 16. It’s something of the dawn of a new era for Boise State, as evidenced by comments from CNNSI writer Stewart Mandel:

Yup – Boise has transitioned from BCS buster to riding on the coattails of past success. At this point it doesn’t even matter that Nevada spent 60 minutes shoveling dirt on its pride against Air Force last Friday night. The Broncos simply need to keep winning and a BCS bowl should take care of itself. The Statue of Liberty play seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

Click on through to the rankings!

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Q & A with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco

Q & A with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco | Cougars | a blog.

Definitely worth a read. I don’t like an east-west divisional alignment very much, since it feels too much like “new” Big East vs. “old” Big East. I would have thought that the western schools would want more of an association with the established Big East programs. If that’s not the case, and the western schools would prefer a more geographic fit for our divisions, then great. Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the divisions change by the time Navy (and a mystery 14th member) joins.

New Big East Power Rankings – Week 7

Another good week in the books for the New Big East. There were just three losses, with one of them being from a Big East conference game between Temple and UConn. The thirteen teams have a combined record of 46-31 and halfway through the season, there are nine teams sitting at .500 or better. Louisville and Rutgers are both bowl eligible, while Cincinnati will follow suit if they can win at Toledo this week. On the flip side, we’ll probably see Memphis become the first team eliminated from the postseason when they host UCF this weekend.

And to address the first BCS rankings that came out on Sunday. Rutgers is ahead of Louisville, thanks mostly to FIU, Kentucky, and Southern Miss being hideously awful. But there are 4 New Big East Teams in the Top 25, and with a loaded back half to the schedules, there’s a great chance for a team to go undefeated and finish in the Top 10. Boise fans are de facto Nevada fans, for they’ll need a quality win to finish out the season and bolster their shot at a BCS bowl. But it’s looking like they’ll just need to get to 16th in the standings, given that the Big Ten currently has no teams ranked.

On to the rankings!

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Big East before 2015?

Not to be overlooked from the weekend’s news is this report that Big East commissioner Mike Aresco intends to talk to Navy about joining earlier than the original 2015 target; an idea to which Chet Gladchuk responds, “SIR NO SIR.” I assume that Aresco’s interest in bringing Navy into the fold sooner than originally planned is related to television contract negotiations. However, considering everything with scheduling and television contracts that Navy had to rearrange just to make 2015 feasible, it’s no surprise that the Navy AD rejected the idea.

On top of the contractual hassles, putting the entry date in 2015 allows Navy to build up to Big East competition, both in facilities (as Gladchuk mentioned), and in giving Navy coaches a full recruiting cycle to sell themselves as a Big East program before playing a conference schedule. Joining any earlier is a bad idea if Navy wants to hit the ground running. I understand why Aresco might want it to happen sooner, but let’s hope this is the last we hear of it.

New Big East Power Rankings – Week 5

Something was in the air this week, and I’m not talking about that fall crisp that has thankfully washed over most of the East Coast. For example:

• Washington State was within 4 of Oregon at the half.
• LSU trailed Towson and took some time to put the 1-AA team away
• West Virginia and Baylor agreed to play no defense and finished within a field goal of the D1-A scoring record set in that epic 2007 Navy-North Texas matchup.
• Georgia and Tennessee played in the highest scoring SEC contest…ever.

Point being, there were some struggles this weekend. And while those struggles certainly extended into our future conference, the cream of the conference rose to the occasion and won thier games. We enter the month of October with three undefeated teams – Louisville, Rutgers, and Cincinnati. The Coaches’ Poll has all of them ranked and adds in Boise State to give the New Big East 4 ranked teams. In the AP Poll, Cincinnati and Boise lead the “others receiving votes” category.

5 weeks into the season and we’ve pretty much defined three tiers of the conference. And for as nice at that top tier looks, the bottom tier is just as ugly. Navy, Houston, Memphis and SMU have combined for a grand total of one win over D1-A competition, thanks to Houston beating 1-win Rice this week. Yikes. As a reminder, these rankings aren’t a view of how the season will end, nor is it solely reflective of that week’s action.

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New Big East Power Rankings – Week 4

It was not a good week for a lot of the members of the New Big East. With no league games on the docket, opportunities were plentiful to increase win totals against mostly middling competition. Unfortunately, 5 of the 9 teams that played this weekend lost and some of those that did win did so with their share of struggles. 6 teams hit the road and 4 of them returned home with a loss. Of course, this does nothing but muddle the middle of the conference and make the power rankings as much as a crapshoot after 4 weeks as they were after week 1. But on the positive side, the New Big East has 3 teams ranked in the AP poll (Louisville #19, Rutgers #23, and Boise State #24).

1. Louisville (4-0)
Last Week #1; This Week: Won 28-21 @ FIU
Teddy Bridgewater came back down to earth a little this week, but still did enough to get the Cardinals a win at FIU. Throwing more incomplete passes than he had in the previous three games combined, he was also picked off for the first time (actually, first two times). FIU was able to grab a 14-7 2nd quarter lead, but Louisville scored the next 21 points. A 4th-quarter Bridgewater interception gave FIU the ball deep in Louisville territory and set up the Panthers’ only 2nd half score, closing it to 28-21. But the Cardinals were able to pick up three first downs and run out the clock. They and their undefeated record head to Southern Mississippi this Saturday (CBSSN, 8pm).

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