As the Big East Conference gets set to take center stage in Providence, RI this week, here are the big questions surrounding the conference for the upcoming season. Laces Out will be updating you with the latest and greatest coverage this week.
1. Who is the favorite?
If we’re to listen to Las Vegas, Louisville is the favorite to take home the Big East crown and earn a spot in a BCS game this year. In a league destined to fall short of serious contenders and difference making, poll busting teams, the Cardinals represent an interesting selection. While South Florida has a long way to go to impress the national voters, they return a dynamic, veteran QB in B.J. Daniels. A new coach in Piscataway, NJ has kept expectations down at Rutgers, but Greg Schiano has left the defense in tremendous shape. They could be heard from.
2. Will anyone watch?
The defection of West Virginia, drama with TCU, and addition of Temple kept the Big East in the headlines through the offseason. Unfortunately, that can’t guarantee in season news. While it’s possible that a surprise contender emerges or one team sets themselves apart, it’s likely that the conference continues to produce a below average product in comparison to power conferences.
3. Can Temple compete this time around?
Considering the abysmal showing in the Owls’ last Big East tenure, it’s hard to believe that the program won’t exceed those results. As the program has grown in stature and respectability, the conference has come back down to their level. Competing from Day 1 may be a challenge, but a solid coaching staff, legitimate ties to Philadelphia’s top athletes in recruiting, and a foundation laid by recent NFL players have Temple in a position to succeed in the Big East now.
4. How much does the Syracuse defection hurt?
In terms of their current football program — not much. In terms of future conference viability — that remains to be seen. With the league in upheaval, little can be counted on even just three years from now. That — more than any particular program — will be a theme in Providence.
5. Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF.
2013 will be here before long. How much of the conversation will be centered on scheduling and travel for next season?
6. Who will be the big guests?
Look for commentary and story lines from these sources: Interim Commissioner Joseph Bailey, all eight head coaches, players, and of course the big one: Results of the media’s Big East Preseason Poll.
Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.