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Big East bowl predictions, Week 14

11/24/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
This weekend added a lot of clarity to the Big East bowl scenario. Here's what we know:

• Only Cincinnati and West Virginia can earn the league's BCS berth;

• The Gator/Sun bowl slot is back in play, and will go to a Big East team if Notre Dame loses to Southern Cal and Rutgers beats Louisville;

• South Florida is guaranteed a bowl.

With that in mind, here are the latest postseason possibilities and predictions for each potentially eligible Big East team (listed alphabetically):

Cincinnati

The Bearcats are in an enviable position. They just need to beat Syracuse at home Saturday or get a West Virginia loss in the next two weeks, and they'll be BCS-ing it.

Possibilities: BCS game, Gator/Sun bowls, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: Orange Bowl

Connecticut

UConn was eliminated from a Big East co-championship with its loss to South Florida on Sunday. The best the Huskies can finish is 8-4, and it's unlikely they'd get invited to one of the league's top bowls.

Possibilities: Gator/Sun bowls, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: International Bowl

Louisville

After their fourth straight loss Saturday, the 5-6 Cardinals are clinging to their bowl lives. They'll have to beat Rutgers on the road to get eligible, and even then they'd probably need to find an at-large berth somewhere else.

Possibilities: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: No bowl

Pittsburgh

The Panthers had their fate in their hands until they lost to Cincinnati. They can still finish with nine wins and become an attractive bowl team, however.

Possibilities: Gator/Sun bowls, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: Meineke Car Care Bowl

Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights are now bowl eligible after beating Army and can lock up a Big East game (and keep Notre Dame out of the Gator/Sun slot) by beating Louisville.

Possibilities: Gator/Sun bowls, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: Papajohns.com Bowl

South Florida

The Bulls assured themselves of a Big East bowl by notching their seventh win on Sunday. They seem like a lock for nearby St. Petersburg, a new game that wants to sell tickets.

Possibilities: Gator/Sun bowls, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: St. Petersburg Bowl

West Virginia

The Mountaineers must beat Pitt and South Florida and root like heck for Syracuse. More likely, they'll get the Gator/Sun slot. I predict the Gator takes a Big 12 team because of that conference's strength and also to preserve its ability to take Notre Dame next year. That means El Paso for West Virginia.

Possibilities: BCS game, Gator/Sun bowls, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, International Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl.

Prediction: Sun Bowl