It's the middle of summer, and it's hot outside. Like, blazing hot. But around here, our minds always drift to the fall. And that got us wondering: What are the hottest games in each conference this season?
Here's my pick for the Big East:
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Dec. 4
When the Big East added new teams for the 2005 season, Pitt and Cincinnati tried to inject some interest in their matchup by starting a trophy game and calling it the River City Rivalry.
Well, it turns out that they didn't need an ugly trophy or a goofy name. They just needed to play some important, hotly contested games, and that's really been the case of late. Cincinnati won at home in 2008 to wrap up the Big East title, as its fans streamed onto the field while Pitt still had the ball and an outside chance of winning. Then last year, in a game that built to a fever pitch all season, the Bearcats beat the Panthers 45-44 at Heinz Field in a furious comeback with the league's BCS bid on the line.
Big East officials scheduled this year's meeting for the season's final weekend, no doubt hoping for some more drama. Both teams figure to be major contenders for the conference crown again, and Pitt wants revenge for the last two years. Whether the Panthers can get past the Bearcats now that Brian Kelly is gone will be one of the hottest subplots of the fall in the Big East.