Every year, some of the big knocks against the Big East are about strength of schedule and performance in games against other automatic-qualifying conferences.
The overall nonconference record might look great -- 29-16 in 2011 -- but Big East teams generally play three of their five nonconference opponents against non-AQ competition. So how did the Big East fare against teams from automatic-qualifying conferences?
I have the answers right here, thanks to Heather over at the ACC blog. Somehow, Heather wants to continue to take a beating for the way the ACC performed this season. Sure the ACC had two more wins than the Big East in nonconference play, but let's remember the conference is bigger AND the winning percentage is worse.
Here is a look at how the six AQ conferences fared against AQ competition only in the regular season and bowls, not including the independents.
Big 12: 12-5
Big Ten: 9-10
Big East: 7-11
By winning percentage
Big 12: .706
Big Ten: .474
Big East: .389
Here is breakdown of how the Big East fared against AQ conferences:
ACC: 4-4. Wins: West Virginia over Maryland and Clemson, Cincinnati over NC State, Syracuse over Wake Forest. Losses: USF to Miami, Rutgers to North Carolina, Louisville to North Carolina, Louisville to NC State.
Big Ten: 0-1. Pitt loss to Iowa.
Big 12: 1-1. Rutgers, UConn split with Iowa State.
Pac-12: 0-2. Pitt lost to Utah; Syracuse lost to USC.
SEC: 2-3. Wins: Cincinnati over Vanderbilt, Louisville over Kentucky. Losses: UConn to Vanderbilt; West Virginia to LSU; Cincinnati to Tennessee.
Seven of the 11 nonconference losses were by a touchdown or less. Three of the losses were by a field goal or less. So the Big East did come close to having an even better season.