I was reading the West Virginia message boards when I came across this lively debate between Eer and Big 10 fans titled "Who has the toughest schedule Michigan or West Virginia?" I thought to myself "holy shit these idiots can't possibly be thinking that they are in the caliber as Michigan and the Big 10". They sure as shit think that they do. They really think that the Big East can compete with the Big Boys on a weekly basis. That is just crazy talk....(HT for the Tip BucknEer)
For sake of argument, here are the Michigan and WVU schedules. Note that the WVU is littered with ESPN telecasts. That nugget of information will be important in a few minutes.
|September 1||Western Michigan||3:30 PM ET||Tickets|
|September 8||at Marshall||11:10 AM ET||Tickets|
|September 13||at Maryland||7:45 PM ET||Tickets|
|September 22||East Carolina||TBA||Tickets|
|September 28||at South Florida||8:00 PM ET||Tickets|
|October 6||at Syracuse||TBA||Tickets|
|October 20||Mississippi State||TBA||Tickets|
|October 27||at Rutgers||TBA||Tickets|
|November 8||Louisville||7:30 PM ET||Tickets|
|November 17||at Cincinnati||TBA||Tickets|
Michigan 2007 Football Schedule/Results
|September 1||Appalachian State||12:00 PM ET||Tickets|
|September 8||Oregon||3:30 PM ET||Tickets|
|September 15||Notre Dame||3:30 PM ET||Tickets|
|September 22||Penn State||TBA||Tickets|
|September 29||at Northwestern||TBA||Tickets|
|October 6||Eastern Michigan||TBA||Tickets|
|October 13||Purdue||12:00 PM ET||Tickets|
|October 20||at Illinois||8:00 PM ET||Tickets|
|November 3||at Michigan State||TBA||Tickets|
|November 10||at Wisconsin||TBA||Tickets|
|November 17||Ohio State||TBA||Tickets|
Michigan has a tough schedule this year, but the toughest games are at home: Oregon, Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State all come to Ann Arbor. Wisconsin will be tough road game.
WVU has Louisville at home, and both Rutgers and USF on the road. Since these two aren't known as being tough road environments and WVU should win both. Eer fans really seem to believe that since ESPN is broadcasting some of their games that an ESPN broadcast means that their opponent is tougher. Somehow rationalizing that ESPN broadcasts means that their strength of schedule is increased......Grasping ...at......straws....Eers... Reality is that all of the television broadcasts are just part of the contract between the Big East and ESPN.
Reading on through the message board thread, Eer fans posted super smart comments like "Michigan sucks" and the "Big Ten is mediocre". To be honest, I agree with the Eer comments. I just happen to think that WVU sucks more than Michigan does and that the Big East is overhyped conference because of the ESPN contract. Am I flaming? Yes I am, but I can back it up. Check this data because the numbers don't lie:
Ohio State 22-3 / West Virginia 22-3
Wisconsin 22-4 / Louisville 21-4
Penn State 20-5 / Rutgers 18-7
Michigan 18-7 / South Florida 15-10
82-19 / 76-24
The top four teams in the Big Ten played 35 ranked opponents and went 22-13 while the Big East top four schools played 19 ranked teams and went below .500 at 9-10. Keep in mind that there 11 teams in the Big 10 and only 8 in the Big East. (Stats from Stassen and Sagarin)
West Virginia 3-2, Louisville 3-2, South Florida 2-4, Rutgers 1-2
Ohio State 9-3, Wisconsin 4-2, Penn State 5-4, Michigan 4-4
Iowa 13-12 / Cincinnati 12-12
Minnesota 13-12 / Pitt 11-12
Purdue 13-12 / U Conn 9-14
Northwestern 11-13 / Syracuse 5-18
50-49 / 37-56
Michigan State 9-14
Wow again. The Big East big four are below .500 with a 9-10 record against ranked opponents the last 2 seasons. Hellfire, they only have 8 teams in the conference as compared to 10-12 in the Big Boy conferences. They should be better overall from a mathematical perspective, but they aren't. The moral of this story is that you can only shine the Big East turd so much. And turds don't shine real bright.
What about the Big East claim of "we were 5-0 in bowls"? What about that, hmmm? Let’s review the Big East’s stellar 2006/2007 five and 0 bowl record (HT to Jon Koncak for the data):
- UL beats Wake Forest in the most unattractive BCS bowl games to date. The worst Orange Bowl for as long anyone can remember. When Orange Bowl officials found out who they got for their premier game, a collective, “awww, shiiiaaatttt…” leaked from the board room.
- The cute Rutgers story of the year put them in the Texas Bowl against Big 12 (7-6) powerhouse, Kansas State. Rutgers, the Big East runner-up, wins 37 - 10. Aww. It’s their 1st ever bowl win in 137 seasons played. How cute.
- WVU, the big east #3, sneaks into the Gator Bowl and “destroys” GT 38-35. Ironically, that’s the same score they “destroyed” UGA with. “Destroy” is taught in WV public schools as a term to describe winning by any margin. WVU fans will not say that South Florida “destroyed” the mountaineers 24-19 in Morgantown, but, whatever.
- Now here’s where the big games start. Big East #4, South Florida, faces the juggernaut East Carolina from C-USA. This was a game for the ages with South Florida winning the Papa John’s Bowl 24-7. Papa John’s gave both conferences $100,000 worth of liquid garlic butter and those mini end tables used to keep the pizza box from being brushed into the cheese.
- Cincinnati (8-5), Big East #5, played the scrappy Western Michigan Broncos in Toronto in the International Bowl. I actually watched this whole game. I don’t know why, other than I must have been sick and the batteries on the remote must have been dead. Ironically, this was a good game. Kinda like how you can go to a high school football game and see a good game. Cincinnati came out to a 24-0 lead and eventually won the contest 27-24. Now that’s football.
So, the Big East’s 2006/7 bowl opponents were Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, East Carolina, and Western Michigan. Wake Forest is the only team in the bunch to finish ranked in the top 30 with an 18 in the AP poll and 17 in the Coaches poll.
Why say all of that? I don’t know, really. Big East fans will never agree that their conference is inferior, so not only do I waste time watching Cincinnati in the International Bowl, but I wasted time researching Big East Bowl games.
You know how they have classifications in high school football? A, AA, AAA, AAAA, AAAAA? The Big East is AA. Every year a AA team will beat a AAAA or AAAAA team in football. They cheer and get all happy and say they can compete, but everyone knows they don’t have the depth or the ability to compete with the big boys every week. One game here and there? Sure, but WVU or UL isn’t escaping the SEC schedule with less than 3 losses during their best year.
2002 Vandy 28-24 Conn.
2002 Tenn 35-14 Rutgers
2001 Tenn 33-9 Syracuse
2002 Auburn 37-34 Syracuse
2003 Tenn 10-6 Miami
Big East Wins
2001 B.C. 20-16 Georgia
2002 V.Tech 26-8 LSU
2000 Miami 37-20 Florida
2002 Miami 26-3 Tenn
2002 Miami 41-16 Florida
2003 Miami 38-33 Florida
2006 W.V. 42-14 Miss. St.
2005 W.V. 38-35 Georgia
2000 W.V. 49-38 Miss.
2001 Syracuse 31-14 Auburn
2004 Rutgers 37-34 Vandy
2005 Louisville 59-28 Kentucky
2006 Louisville 31-24 Kentucky
Yep, they claim Miami, VT and Boston College. Schools that bailed out to the ACC leaving a vacuum for mid majors like Louisville to join a conference and allowing WVU to stop being a Big East bottom feeder. Speaking of bottom feeders, the Big East has worn out Ole Miss, Vandy and Mississippi State. It makes their argument of "we play and beat the SEC" sound really good until you look at who they play....
And finally, Big East fans love to ask "what happened when our champion met the SEC Champion in their home state?"
The Big East Team won. The blame for all of the Big East hype is squarely on the shoulders of UGA, nice going Mark Richt, way to overlook the little guy. Evidently the biggest win ever for the Conference, because they have no other point of reference. That win was similar to the 1980 US Hockey Team win over the USSR; The Cardinals winning the series last year; Boise State beating Oklahoma; South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs beating the University of Louisiana Cougars; A blind squirrel finding the occasional acorn; a broke clock giving the right time twice a day; and Halley's Comet. The point is that it was a blip on the radar, and anomaly. A Big East team can't play an SEC schedule week in and week out.
What will be really interesting is how the Conference will rebound when it's marquee players leave. I think that they only have three that are really pretty good. Who will replace Brohm and the two kids from WVU. Hell I don't even know their names so they can't be that great.I am sure it is hard to recruit to obscure schools with itty bitty stadiums.