- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rutgers leads the three undefeated Big East teams in the first BCS standings released Sunday night, ranking No. 15 -- just ahead of No. 16 Louisville by a razor-thin margin.
Though the Cardinals are the higher-ranked team in the two human polls that are used in the BCS compilations (No. 14 coaches' poll, No. 16 Harris poll), Rutgers has the much better computer average, at No. 11. Louisville is No. 19 in its computer average. That difference allowed the Scarlet Knights to rank ahead of Louisville by a mere 0.0022 points.
Cincinnati, which has played two FCS teams in its five games this season, ranks No. 21, also lower than its ranking in the human polls.
The last time the Big East had three teams in the BCS standings was the final ranking of 2009: Cincinnati was No. 3, West Virginia was No. 16 and Pitt was No. 17.
Given the way the BCS standings shook out, you have to think Rutgers received a huge boost in its computer average because of its win over Arkansas. Though the Razorbacks (3-4) have been one of the biggest disappointments this season, they do play in a conference that has four of the top seven teams in the BCS standings. Louisville's best win is over North Carolina (5-2). The ACC has only two ranked teams in the BCS standings, and its highest team is Florida State -- ranked just ahead of Rutgers at No. 14.
What does this all mean in the grand scheme of things? Right now, there are six one-loss teams ranked ahead of Rutgers and Louisville. None of that comes as much of a surprise, especially since none of the three undefeated Big East teams are much higher in the Harris and coaches' polls.
So, essentially, if any of these Big East teams can finish the season undefeated, it will have an uphill climb to try to get into the BCS national title game. Not only will they need all the undefeated teams ranked ahead to lose, they most likely will also need multiple one-loss teams to lose.
While it is true Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville will get a boost to their strength of schedule once they start playing each other, the bottom of the Big East is not exactly going to lift them to greater heights. It will help if their marquee opponents (Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia Tech) continue to do well. But the bottom line is, the Big East has a lot of work to do and needs major outside help to play for a national championship.
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney