What we learned in the Big East, Week 13

November, 29, 2009
11/29/09
10:00
AM ET
1. The Pitt-Cincinnati game doesn't glimmer quite so bright: Pitt's 19-16 loss to West Virginia on Friday threw a bit of cold water on this week's showdown against Cincinnati at Heinz Field. It's no longer a matchup of Top 10 teams, and the Bearcats won't benefit as much from public perception with a win. But it's still a game for the Big East title and the automatic BCS bid between two extremely talented teams. It may not be the biggest Big East game of all time, but it still should be a dandy -- assuming Pitt plays better than it did on Friday.

2. The Gator Bowl is officially a Big East game: Notre Dame's 45-38 loss at Stanford ensured that a Big East team will go to Jacksonville for New Year's Day instead of the 6-6 Irish, who are ineligible to take the league's bid. That's great news for the conference, which can now send all six of its bowl eligible teams to Big East affiliated games. And the league is spared the embarrassment of having a potential 11-1, Top 10-ranked Cincinnati play in Charlotte.

3. West Virginia could make a New Year's Day game: The Gator is back in the fold -- and the Mountaineers are very much in the mix for that spot. If Pitt loses to Cincinnati and West Virginia beats Rutgers, the Mountaineers will finish second in the Big East with the same number of wins as the Panthers and that head-to-head victory. And with West Virginia's stronger reputation for filling seats, it would be an attractive option for the Jacksonville game. It may not have been a banner season in Morgantown, but if it ends in the Gator Bowl, that's not too shabby.

4. UConn will be an attractive bowl team: Not only did most people root for the Huskies after the Jasper Howard tragedy, but this is a pretty darn good team. The UConn offense has revved up, as the team has produced 45, 33 and 56 points in its past three games. The Huskies will be favored to beat South Florida this week at home in the season finale. They are a great story and will be a handful for any opponent in a bowl game.

5. South Florida isn't ready to make it a Big Four: In retrospect, South Florida's win over Florida State, while historic, wasn't any great achievement against a mediocre (at best) Seminoles team. When the Bulls played a good BCS team from their home state, Miami, they got soundly thumped 31-10 at home. South Florida has lost four of its past six games by at least three scores and is far too inconsistent to be a powerhouse in the Big East, much less against Miami or Florida.

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