Rare poll positions for Big East, Stanford

The Big East enters this weekend’s games without a team ranked in the AP poll. It’s the first time a BCS automatic qualifying conference has been shut out of the AP Poll during the season since the November 21, 1999 poll when the Pac-10 didn’t have a representative (Note: The Big East did not have a team ranked in the 2009 Preseason Poll).

The following week in 1999, the Stanford Cardinal appeared in the poll at No. 22 after beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Cardinal stayed there until dropping out of the final poll after losing to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. The Oregon Ducks would be the only Pac-10 team ranked in the final poll that season after the they won their final six games and beat Minnesota in the Sun Bowl, finishing 19th.

Stanford currently finds itself at the other extreme, enjoying its best AP ranking since finishing the 1992 season ninth, and this is the first time since 1971 that the Cardinal have entered October with a top-10 ranking. If Stanford can pull off an upset on the road Saturday, it has a chance to move into the top 5 for the first time since the Sept. 28, 1970 poll (3rd). That was also the year that Jim Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy and led Stanford to a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl.