With West Virginia likely headed to the Big 12 next season, the team that would have likely been the favorite to win the league is no longer a threat. That now means the conference race should be wide open.
The Mountaineers return 15 starters next season and all of their skill players so needless to say, they will be the preseason pick if they are in the league next year.
But, what if the Mountaineers win their battle in the courts and move on to the Big 12? Who then takes the reigns as the conference’s elite?
Two teams come to mind immediately.
As of right now, the frontrunner may be Louisville. The Cardinals only finished the season 7-6 last year, but came on strong at the end of the year and were one of the youngest teams in the league.
True freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater showed some of his true potential by the end of the year and is certain to develop into one of the most dynamic players in the conference over the next three years.
The Cardinals finished with a share of the Big East title this season and will get to play both Cincinnati and West Virginia at home in 2012.
That bodes well for a team that is one of the best coached teams in the country.
Another contender will be the Cincinnati Bearcats. Cincinnati loses a lot on both sides of the ball, but quarterback Munchie Legaux proved he can handle the starting role as he stepped in for the injured Zach Collaros late in the year.
The Bearcats will be deep at wide receiver and in the secondary.
While there are certainly other teams who will be better, including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Louisville are the early favorites to fight for the league crown next fall.
Stay tuned, because in the ever-evolving Big East things could change very quickly.