One thing we know for sure is that the Big East Football Conference will send a team to a Bowl Championship Series bowl game. Almost as certain is that media and fans in general will scream bloody murder that the Big East does not deserve an automatic bid to a BCS game. That is nothing new, because the Big East has been a target for those critics since Miami and Virginia Tech left the conference for the ACC.
Much of the outrage about the Big East’s automatic bid is probably overstated. In a majority of the seasons the conference as a whole has enjoyed decent rankings among the other major conferences, a stat that is pooh poohed by the critics. The Big East representative has actually won three of the BCS bowls including wins by WVU over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Looking at the current standing there are five teams with two losses and that sets up a number of potential tiebreakers. That list includes Pitt (3-2, 5-5) and Louisville (4-2, 6-5), a couple teams with five losses. It is very possible that a five-loss team could represent the Big East in the BCS and the floodgates of criticism will open.
I won’t even try to untangle the entire possible Big East ties and tiebreakers, but I will try to explain what WVU needs to do, and have happen to secure the Big East’s BCS bid. So you can sort it out yourself using the tiebreaker rules below.
In order to determine the Conference's representative to the Bowl Championship Series, the procedures listed below will be followed.
All references to "rankings" refer to the BCS Poll released after the regular season is completed for all BIG EAST members.
The winner of the head-to-head match-up will represent the BIG EAST in the Bowl Championship Series.
A "MINI-CONFERENCE" is created amongst the three tied teams.
Scenario I: All three teams have either a 6-1 or 5-2 record and have each won one game and lost one game against the other tied teams in the mini-conference. In this case, the highest ranked team amongst the three earns the bid. If two of the three teams are tied for the highest ranking, the bid is earned by the team winning the head-to-head match up.
Scenario II: All three teams have 5-2 records, and within the mini-conference, Team A is 2-0, Team B is 1-1, and Team C is 0-2. Team A earns bid regardless of ranking.
A "MINI-CONFERENCE" is created amongst the four tied teams.
Scenario I: In the mini-conference, Teams A & B are 2-1, and Teams C & D are 1-2. The higher ranked of the 2-1 teams earns the bid. If the 2-1 teams tie for the highest ranking, the bid goes to the team that won the head-to-head match up.
Scenario II: In the mini-conference, Team A is 3-0, Team B is 2-1, Team C is 1-2, and Team D is 0-3. Team A earns bid regardless of ranking.
The first thing, and most important thing, is for West Virginia to win their final two games against Pitt this Friday night and at South Florida next Thursday night. Even if they do that, the Mountaineers would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Louisville if the Cardinals win at South Florida this Friday. That’s why Mountaineer fans will be rooting for USF this Friday.
In multiple team ties, WVU needs for Cincinnati to be involved so that the tiebreaker goes to the highest ranked team. WVU would lose a three-way tie with Rutgers and Louisville. WVU wins a three way with Cincinnati and Louisville. WVU wins a four-way tie with Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers.
If Louisville wins Friday, they will be the Big East representative in the BCS if Cincinnati loses another game. In that case, the BCS will be welcoming a 7-5 team with home losses to Florida International and Marshall. There is no pity party here for WVU either. The Mountaineers really stunk up the place in their losses to Syracuse and Louisville and deserve to be in the predicament they find themselves.
It would be pretty easy to make the argument this year that no team from this conference deserves a BCS bowl.