2010 BCS Conference Profiles: Big East Conference

Bleacher ReportContributor IJuly 18, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This is fourth in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How’s season preview. Today’s conference is the Big East.

Conference: Big East Conference (Big East)

Active Since: 1979

Current Member Schools: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Louisville Cardinals, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, West Virginia Mountaineers. (8)

Bowl Affiliations: BCS Bowl Bid, St. Petersburg Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Car Care Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, Liberty Bowl. (7)

2009 Results:
Conference Champion – Cincinnati
Conference Runner-up – West Virginia/Pittsburgh
BCS Bowl Results: 2010 Sugar Bowl – Florida 51 vs. Cincinnati 24
Overall Bowl Record: 4-2
Heisman Vote Recipients: Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard (9th Overall)

2010 Outlook: The smallest of the six BCS conferences had been the domain of Cincinnati and coach Brian Kelly for the past two seasons of Big East play, but this year looks to shape up a bit differently.

Gone are Kelly, QB Tony Pike, and WR Mardy Gilyard, opening up the Big East once again for a free-for-all type of season we’ve come to expect from a conference that has been unpredictable since Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech all left during the middle of last decade.

However, while Cincinnati was completing an undefeated season and nearly making the BCS National Championship Game, other teams showed signs of life and potential for seasons ahead. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Connecticut all showed flashes of brilliance that could translate into success this season.

Heisman hopefuls Noel Devine (West Virginia) and Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh) will key two of the Big East’s best hopes, while Connecticut will feature a balanced attack led by QB Zach Frazier and RB Jordan Todman, along with recent USC transfer DJ Shoemate and a mostly returning defense.

One of these teams will likely step up to claim the conferences’ BCS bowl bid, but in a conference with no true front runner, it's hard to tell just who it might be.

2010 Heisman Hopefuls: Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis, West Virginia RB Noel Devine

BCS Know How’s 2010 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Connecticut Huskies
Conference Runner-up – Pittsburgh Panthers
BCS bids – One: Connecticut – Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists – Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis