College Football 2011: The 10 Games That Will Decide the Big East Championship

Austin SchindelAnalyst IIMarch 6, 2011

The Big East is by no means a football powerhouse. At 8-5, Connecticut made it to the Fiesta Bowl where they were defeated handily by the Oklahoma Sooners.

But, as a BCS conference, one of these teams must represent the Big East in a BCS bowl game. 

Despite the poor play from the conference, its is a highly competitive league that has produced four different champions in the last five years. The standings, listed below, are a good indicator of the balance and parity that the Big East experiences and the level of competition year in and year out.

STANDINGS CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big East W-L PF PA W-L PF PA STRK
Connecticut 5-2 150 133 8-5 343 286 L1
West Virginia 5-2 171 85 9-4 327 176 L1
Pittsburgh 5-2 189 123 8-5 342 247 W2
Syracuse 4-3 116 136 8-5 288 251 W1
South Florida 3-4 131 147 8-5 313 260 W1
Louisville 3-4 155 129 7-6 343 252 W2
Cincinnati 2-5 178 237 4-8 325 336 -
Rutgers 1-6 150 250 4-8 250 318 -

*Standings courtesy of ESPN.com

Here are a look at the top 10 games that will impact the final standings this year in the Big East.

10. December 3: Connecticut vs. Cincinnati

Upset alert! Cincinnati was at the bottom of the Big East last year, but Connecticut's last game of the season could yield a late season disappointment for the Huskies. The Big East looks like it will come down to the wire again this year and the top teams cannot afford any slip-ups. 

9. September 29: South Florida vs. Pittsburgh 

Despite going 3-4 in conference South Florida finished 8-5 overall and are poised for another competitive season. Pittsburgh cannot let their guard down in this early season Big East showdown.

8. December 1: West Virginia vs. South Florida 

West Virginia was an average team on the road last season (3-3) and cannot afford to lose to South Florida if they want to go on to win the Big East crown.

7. November 12: Pittsburgh vs. Louisville

Pittsburgh cannot underestimate Louisville, who finished over .500 for the season (7-6). This is a game that they will need to win to stay at the top of the standings.

6. October 22: West Virginia vs. Syracuse

Syracuse only managed a 3-4 record at the Carrier Dome last season, and need to improve in order to continue their resurgence to the top of the league. This is a game that will separate both teams and show who is here to stay.

5. December 3: Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh 

Syracuse went 5-1 on the road last season, a feat that cannot be overlooked. Pittsburgh was a middle of the road home team in 2010 (4-2) and they will have to protect their home field advantage.

4. November 5: Syracuse vs. Connecticut

Syracuse takes their road warrior mentality to Connecticut, where they will be tested against the 2010 Big East champions. This could be the game of the year; it will have a huge impact on the standings.

3. November 25: Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia  

A matchup of co-regular season champs, West Virginia is out to prove that they should have represented the Big East. This will settle the score once and for all.

2. October 26: Connecticut vs. Pittsburgh

Another matchup of co-regular season champions as third place finisher Pittsburgh faces off against Connecticut. Both teams know how close the standings get, so look for a good game from both teams vying for Big East supremacy.

1. October 8: Connecticut vs. West Virginia

A matchup of the top two finishers in the 2010 Big East standings. Despite West Virginia having a better regular season record, Connecticut represented the conference in the BCS bowl. This bad blood will most certainly spill over to the field, and should produce a well fought game that has huge significance early in the season. 

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