Big East still up for grabs in final week of regular season

Big East still up for grabs in final week of regular season

September 17, 2020 mieywmcnyozz 0

first_img Comments Just like every year, most of the national attention this weekend will be paid to conference championship games. The SEC, ACC and Big 12 each have a title game to be played Saturday. The outcomes could dramatically shake up the BCS title picture. But what the Big East may have is a set of title games of its own Saturday. Entering this weekend, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and West Virginia are all tied atop the conference at 4-2. If all three happen to lose, the league could end in a five-way tie at 4-3, with South Florida and Syracuse entering the mix. The last Big East game on Saturday at 8 p.m. is the most important one: Connecticut (7-4, 4-2) at USF (7-4, 3-3). It is the game that will decide if the Big East championship will be a simple choice or be decided through a series of tiebreakers. Because if UConn wins, the Huskies will advance to a BCS bowl for the first time in history. ‘You have a chance to accomplish the goals you set out to accomplish,’ Huskies head coach Randy Edsall said. ‘It’s going to be very difficult, though.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text A Connecticut loss would equal a complicated finish to a disappointing season for the conference. If the Huskies fall to the Bulls, the ball is placed in West Virginia’s (8-3, 4-2) court. The Mountaineers play Rutgers Saturday afternoon, and a win combined with a UConn loss that night would give WVU the title. Pittsburgh (6-5, 4-2), the preseason coaches’ pick to win the conference and the conference frontrunner for most of the season, needs both Connecticut and West Virginia to lose. That’s assuming the Panthers take care of business against Cincinnati. Pittsburgh’s tumultuous season has taken a turn for the worse down the stretch, with losses to UConn and WVU in the past three weeks. ‘We don’t have control of (the Big East) right now,’ Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt said. ‘We know that. We have an awful lot to play for this week, and our kids understand that.’ If all three of the current leaders lose — and considering the season all three teams have had, it’s certainly possible — a five-way tie would come down to head-to-head play between those five teams. In that scenario, UConn comes out as the champion, having gone 3-1 against the other four teams. West Virginia is the only hope for the Big East to send a team to a bowl with less than four losses. The Mountaineers are also the only team in the conference that has been ranked in the BCS standings at all this season. West Virginia was ranked No. 20 in the original BCS standings and climbed back into the rankings for the first time since then this past week at No. 24. But in between, WVU also endured struggles. The Mountaineers lost at home to Syracuse and fumbled seven times in an overtime loss to Connecticut. Since then, West Virginia has won three straight games over Big East teams, allowing just 10 points in each game. The Mountaineers are back on track, even if it’s a little too late. ‘They are a very good football team in all three phases,’ Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said. ‘Their defense is exceptional. They have a very talented offense with great skill players. …They seem to be hitting their stride as a football team.’ And the game that West Virginia fumbled over to the Huskies back on Oct. 29 may have helped Connecticut hit its stride. It was the beginning of what is now a four-game win streak for UConn, including three wins over the rest of the top four teams in the Big East standings. It’s a win streak that has propelled UConn from the bottom to the top of the Big East. After dropping its first two games in conference play, including a dismal offensive performance in a 26-0 loss to Louisville, the Huskies have a chance to make history for its school by taking it to a BCS game. ‘We’re in the position we wanted to be in at the beginning of the year, and that’s the bottom line,’ Edsall said. ‘I know this team will be ready to play when it comes time.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on December 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjrlast_img

 

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