For the third time in four seasons, the Big East was left out of the inaugural USA Today Coaches Poll. While the sting of not housing a single Top 25 team was probably felt in league offices, the less than proud distinction doesn’t come as a shock to those who follow the league.
A pair of Big East teams – West Virginia and Cincinnati — did finish last season ranked in the poll. West Virginia is back at #11, but no longer part of the conference. Cincinnati was fourth in the “receiving votes” section. By all accounts, they look to be a Top 30 team in the eyes of the coaches. Still, there are question marks surrounding their middle-of-the-pack standing in the Big East preseason poll.
While not having a single squad in the preseason poll is tough to swallow, the coaches have been proven wrong before. Three Big East teams finished in the final poll after the 2009 season.
Although the “receiving” votes section is little more than a consolation prize in small print, the top four vote getters in the Big East Media Preseason Poll were represented with at least some volume. Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, and Rutgers all garnered some support. It wouldn’t be surprising to see any or all of them in the poll at some point this season.
Here is the complete USA Today Poll:
9. South Carolina
11. West Virginia
13. Michigan State
19. Oklahoma State
20. Virginia Tech
21. Kansas State
22. Boise State
24. Notre Dame
Fifty-nine coaches participated in the voting. Four — Kyle Flood, Butch Jones, Skip Holtz, and Paul Pasqualoni– came from Big East programs.
Mark your calendars for September 22. That marks the first time one of the “snubbed” Big East contenders takes on an out of conference foe in the Top 25. Rutgers travels down to Arkansas to attempt to gain back some respect for the Big East.
Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.