It's the end of Week Twelve, and the Big East Football conference still has no clear winner. This is exactly how it should be, however, and that is what makes this conference so exciting. In fact, the Big East title could and will most likely come down to the final week.
Here are the current rankings.
As you can see, Cincinnati is in the lead, but Pitt and West Virginia also only have one loss. Pitt lost to Rutgers 54-34 and Rutgers is right behind them with two losses, those being close ones to Cincinnati and West Virginia. UConn is 3-2 and just beat Syracuse 39-14. The rest of the teams have been eliminated from Big East title contention.
To win the Big East
The Bearcats have already beaten West Virginia and must win the rest of their games to win the Big East title. Their remaining Big East games are against fellow one-loss Pitt at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati and against 1-5 Syracuse. If they win these games, they win the Big East and will go to a BCS Bowl game as the 10-2 Big East representative.
The Panthers also will win the Big East if they win out. The difference is that Pitt faces a lot harder schedule. Next week they must go on the road and play Cincinnati, and then they play at home against West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl. After that is their final game at UConn.
All three of those teams have winning records in Big East and non-Big East play. And don't forget, this team beat West Virginia.
West Virginia Mountaineers
For Pat White, Noel Devine, and the rest of West Virginia to win the Big East, it will take a little bit of luck, not just a running of the table.
First they square off against a down in the dumps Louisville, who is playing a lot better than their three straight losses indicate. Two of their last three losses were by a touchdown and another by eight points. These Cardinals are itching to snap their losing streak and not to extend it to four games, like Rutgers did against USF last week.
WV then goes to Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. They are seeking revenge for last year's 13-9 loss that knocked them out of the national title game.
Their final game is at home against South Florida. Many people thought that whoever won this game would win the Big East title, but boy, were they wrong. (The Bulls are 6-4 and 1-4 in the Big East.) To win the Big East, the Mountaineers must win out and Cincinnati must lose at least one game.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Yes, Rutgers is 5-5 right now. However, they are also 4-2 in the Big East. During this recent period of four straight wins, Rutgers has hung 54 points on Pitt, at Pitt, and flat-out embarrassed South Florida 49-16 at South Florida. Their remaining Big East game is against Louisville at home.
To win the Big East, they must first win that game. Then they'll need A LOT of good luck. Cincinnati has to lose to Pitt and Syracuse, and any combination of Louisville, Pitt, and USF has to beat West Virginia. The Panthers must lose to either UConn or West Virginia. IF Pitt loses to WV, then Louisville and USF have to beat West Virginia. The likelihood of this happening: not likely.
Coach Randy Edsall's 7-3 Huskies still have to play at South Florida. Then they go back home to play Pitt. If they want to win the Big East, UConn must beat both teams, and all the dominoes have to fall in their favor.
Cincinnati has to lose to Pitt and Syracuse, and any combination of Louisville, Pitt, and USF has to beat West Virginia. The Panthers must also lose to West Virginia. To finish it off, Rutgers would have to lose to Louisville. UConn fans, just be glad starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen is back.