The Big Beast: How About a Little Respect for Big East Football?

Shawn Withrow@withrowspCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2008

Big East teams went out in the first week of the 2008 season and did a terrible job representing the league, so it does not surprise me that folks have once again started the negative chatter. 

I mean, why would anyone want to miss an opportunity to step on them when they have a down week?

The Big East seems to be the conference that football fans love to hate, but I would like everyone to consider the following information.

"West Virginia’s win against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl gave the BIG EAST’s representative four Bowl Championship Series wins in the last five years. The conference was a combined 32-13 outside the league in 2007, with their .711 winning percentage trailing only their 2006 and 2000 records of 37-8, .822 and 28-9, .757, respecitvely as the best in BIG EAST history." 

"Seven of the eight BIG EAST teams were either ranked or received votes in one of the three major national polls.  Four of the eight were ranked in the top 10 at some point, while two schools—West Virginia and USF—were ranked No. 2." (From

West Virginia’s 33-5 record over the last three seasons is second only to the USC Trojans.  Also, in the last three years, the Big East has had out of conference wins against SEC teams such as Georgia (SEC champion at the time), Auburn, Kentucky, and Mississippi State.

They have beaten ACC opponents Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami (FL), Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Wake Forest.  The Big East has even beaten mighty Big 12 Champion Oklahoma.

In limited match play with the Pac-10 and Big Ten, they have come away with wins against Oregon State and Illinois.

Clearly, the best conference in college football is the SEC.  I wouldn’t even dare to argue that.  The performance of the Big East teams in week one of 2008 was obviously disappointing, but it is a long season.  I think it would be wise to wait until the end of the year to make your full assessment.

It is a little hard to accept the argument many have made that the Big East doesn’t deserve an automatic BCS berth when a team from the conference went into two BCS Bowls and beat the SEC and Big 12 Champions on neutral ground.

The Big East conference is home to some great players, passionate fans, and very exciting games, but I am not implying that the Big East is even one of the top two or three conferences in the country.

I am just suggesting they are competitive on a national level—and in the words of Mrs. Franklin, they deserve "just a little bit of respect."  It is all in fun anyway, so just take a deep breath and relax. 

Epilogue: With all of that being established, the more important level is not the conference: It is the team.  I realize it is strange to bring this up at the end of this type of article, but I think we really need to spend more time focusing on rooting for our team, and not bickering over which conferences are the strongest.  The team vs. team debate is a lot more entertaining.