The Big East faces the very real possibility of only having three teams eligible for bowl games this season because the league appears to be so top-heavy at this point in the season.
Only Rutgers (7-0), Louisville (7-0) and Cincinnati (5-1) have winning records through Week 8. Rutgers and Louisville have already clinched bowl eligibility. Cincinnati needs two more wins because it has two victories over FCS competition. Let us pencil those three in as bowl teams.
That leaves five teams fighting for bowl eligibility. Who has the best shot of getting in? Here are my rankings, from highest probability of getting to six wins to lowest.
1. Pitt (3-4, 0-3). Yes, I realize the Panthers have yet to win a Big East game, but I think they have the most favorable schedule of the bottom five league teams to get them three more wins. If the Panthers can't beat Temple at home this weekend, then I would say their chances of keeping their four-year bowl streak alive will be remote.
Games remaining: Temple, at Notre Dame, at UConn, Rutgers, at USF.
2. Syracuse (3-4, 2-1). The Orange have a win over Pitt, so why are they ranked below the Panthers? Because their remaining schedule is more difficult. I do like the way this team is playing, so I would not rule out an upset down the stretch.
Games remaining: at USF, at Cincinnati, Louisville, Missouri, at Temple.
3. Temple (3-3, 2-1). The Owls have some winnable games remaining on their schedule, but I am not sure they will be able to win three of these final five games.
Games remaining: at Pitt, at Louisville, Cincinnati, at Army, Syracuse.
4. USF (2-5, 0-3). The Bulls have to win four of their final five games. They are going to need at least two upsets to get there. If they lose at home to Syracuse on Saturday, then their chances will be all but gone.
Games remaining: Syracuse, UConn, at Miami, at Cincinnati, Pitt.
5. UConn (3-5, 0-3). The Huskies are closer to bowl eligibility than the Bulls because they have one more win. But does anybody out there think they are playing better than USF at this point? The Bulls nearly upset Louisville last week; UConn got blown out by Syracuse. They have to win three of their final four, and end the season back to back against Louisville and Cincinnati. That is why I think they have the worst chance at becoming bowl eligible.
Games remaining: at USF, Pitt, at Louisville, Cincinnati.