College Football

Big East Expansion: New Teams Will Weaken BCS Automatic Qualifier Status

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 05:  Ralph Abernathy #19 of the Cincinnati Bearcats bobbles the ball on a kickoff against the Pittsburgh Panthers on November 5, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Adam SpencerCorrespondent INovember 11, 2011

Losing West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse is really going to hurt Big East football.

There aren’t enough good teams willing to join the conference to continue making it a viable BCS automatic-qualifier.

The list of teams the Big East is currently targeting includes Boise State, Houston, UCF, Air Force, Navy and SMU. Unfortunately for the Big East, only one of those schools (Boise State) is consistently good enough to deserve an automatic bid.

Even with recent reports that they will be looking into adding BYU and San Diego State, they won’t be competitive. San Diego State is good against the bottom half of the Mountain West, and BYU is inconsistent and can’t consistently beat the top teams in the major conferences.

Meanwhile, both West Virginia and Pittsburgh were consistently competitive football teams that often represented the Big East in BCS bowl games.

In fact, West Virginia has a chance to represent the Big East again this year, as does Pitt. They are both 2-2 in Big East play, and the Mountaineers have a big game against the conference-leading Cincinnati Bearcats this weekend.

The point is that while teams like Houston, SMU and Navy are competitive every once in a while, they aren’t good enough to beat any other BCS teams.

For instance, this year’s ACC representative will probably be either Virginia Tech or Clemson. Both of those teams would beat Houston (once they lose Case Keenum), UCF, Navy and SMU nine times out of 10.

And, when you compare the future top teams of the Big East to the top teams of every other automatic-qualifying conference (SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten), the talent level isn’t even close.

Boise State will continue to be a football powerhouse, but this move is more of a lateral move for them. At this point, the Big East isn’t much better than the Mountain West.

If the Big East is going to continue to be an automatic-qualifying conference after this expansion, then conferences like the Mountain West and Conference USA also deserve to be automatic-qualifiers.

I’d much rather see the third-best SEC or Big Ten team in a BCS bowl than the top team from the Big East. That would also probably lead to better TV ratings for the bowl game as well.

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