2013 AQ Conference Profiles: American Athletic Conference

AAClogo

BCS Know How will take you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 season. Short and sweet previews begin with the newly renamed and reorganized American Athletic Conference. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: American Athletic Conference (AAC)

Active Since: 1979 (as the original Big East)

Current Member Schools: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Houston Cougars, Louisville Cardinals, Memphis Tigers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, SMU Mustangs, South Florida Bulls, Temple Owls, UCF Knights (10)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: BCS Bowl (At-large), Russell Athletic Bowl, Belk Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (7)

2012 Results:
(As the Big East)
Conference Champion — Louisville Cardinals (11-2, 5-2)
Conference Runners-up — Cincinnati Bearcats (10-3, 5-2), Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-4, 5-2), Syracuse Orange (8-5, 5-2)
BCS Bowl Results: 2013 Sugar Bowl: Louisville 33 vs. Florida 23
Overall Bowl Record: 3-2

Heisman Hopefuls: Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, Connecticut RB Lyle McCombs, Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Louisville Cardinals
Conference Runner-up — Rutgers Scarlet Knights
BCS Bids — Louisville — Fiesta Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None

Louisville BCS Bound After Topping Rutgers

Louisville is going BCS bowling. On the strength of their victory over Rutgers on Thursday night, the Cardinals are all but assured of a BCS bid as the Big East’s conference representative.

Depending on the results of the weekend’s games, there could be a four-way or two-way tie atop the Big East, but Louisville will likely emerge as the winner of any tiebreaker scenario after topping the Scarlet Knights, 20-17, and be on their way to the BCS for the second time in school history.

The Cardinals will likely emerge as the highest-ranked Big East team in the final BCS rankings, which would give them a BCS bowl berth.

With the berth, Louisville is likely on its way to the Sugar or Orange Bowl.

If any of the BCS busters are able to crack the five BCS bowls, it is likely that Louisville will be selected to play an SEC team in the Sugar Bowl, with Kent State, Northern Illinois or Boise State headed to the Orange Bowl.

But if the BCS busters miss out, Louisville will likely be on their way to the Orange Bowl to play the ACC champion — either Florida State or Georgia Tech.

State of the BCS Survey: Long Under-Served ACC Fans Most Unhappy With BCS

Scroll down for full results!

One of the best things about the BCS Know How State of the BCS survey is that is gave us an insight into statistics and opinions that haven’t really been explored before.

Most notably, we wanted to see how badly the BCS was hated, who wanted a playoff and who thought they were getting the short end of the stick.

With the more than 3,100 results all tabulated and reviewed, it’s pretty obvious. Atlantic Coast Conference fans feel a little peeved about the BCS.

By splitting our sample into fans who self-identified as being from the states where each of the six AQ conferences have teams, we could easily see who among the six groups want change the most.

And it was pretty clear — ACC fans have real beef with the BCS.

In our original survey, 73 percent of respondents said they wanted a playoff. But in ACC country, more than 81 percent called for the overhaul many have wanted for seasons and a system ACC fans think their teams might have benefitted from.

ACC country also accounted for the largest portion of respondents who said they were at least “somewhat unhappy” with the current system of crowning a national champion — 90 percent were at least a little peeved at the system that hasn’t given the ACC a champ in quite some time.

Not surprisingly, fans from states with SEC teams were a little warmer to the ideas behind the current BCS after having produced each of the last six BCS national champions. Yet, given the fact that the SEC seems well suited for the BCS system, the response was not much warmer than average.

Of the six major AQ conferences, SEC fans only wanted a playoff 66 percent of the time, well less than the 73 percent among all respondents. SEC country also had the highest density of “plus-one” supporters, with 29 percent supporting that system against just 20 percent support overall.

SEC fans claimed the BCS formula was a fair process for evaluating teams 36 percent of the time, well clear of the overall feeling toward the formula, which got a cold 29 percent approval rating.

There certainly is some overlap between “fan groups,” and the process of saying fans from states with teams are automatically fans of those teams. But the mentality of the fans can spread among neighbors and friends, so it’s as good a look as we can get right now.

[Teams were assigned the conference they will be a part of on opening day this season.]

For fun, we also included a group lovingly called the “Little Sisters” subgroup, fans from Idaho, Utah and Hawaii — three states that have given us recent memorable “BCS Busters” in Boise State Broncos, Utah Utes and the Hawaii Warriors. We excluded Texas (TCU) for obvious reasons.

Among this group, and even though realignment will soon have given both Utah and Boise State a chance to play with the AQ conferences, the hatred was even more deep-seeded than in ACC territory.

A whopping 99 percent of respondents from the three states were at least “somewhat unhappy” with the BCS, while 94 percent called for a playoff to be put in place. Fans from the three states gave the BCS a paltry 11 percent approval rating.

Here’s a collection of the entirety of the geographical findings (overall results in BOLD).

Take a look and leave your comment below:

Your view of the current postseason system in the Football Bowl Subdivision:

Conference Needs Altering Should remain the same
“Little Sisters” 96 percent 4 percent
ACC 94 percent 6 percent
Pac-12 94 percent 6 percent
Overall 93 percent 7 percent
Big East 92 percent 8 percent
Big 12 92 percent 8 percent
ACC 92 percent 8 percent
Big Ten 91 percent 9 percent

How would you change the system?

Conference Playoffs! Plus-one
“Little Sisters” 94 percent 5 percent
ACC 81 percent 13 percent
Big East 76 percent 18 percent
Pac-12 76 percent 17 percent
Overall 73 percent 20 percent
Big 12 70 percent 28 percent
Big Ten 69 percent 25 percent
SEC 66 percent 29 percent

How pleased are you with the way a champion is crowned in FBS college football?

Conference At least “somewhat unhappy”
“Little Sisters” 99 percent
ACC 90 percent
Big 12 89 percent
Pac-12 89 percent
Big East 87 percent
Big 10 87 percent
Overall 86 percent
SEC 81 percent

Is the current evaluation method used by the BCS (human polls, computers) to judge teams fair?

Conference Yes No
SEC 36 percent 64 percent
Big East 34 percent 66 percent
Big Ten 32 percent 68 percent
Big 12 31 percent 69 percent
ACC 29 percent 71 percent
Overall 29 percent 71 percent
Pac-12 24 percent 76 percent
“Little Sisters” 11 percent 89 percent

Big East’s BCS Bid To Be Determined By BCS Standings, West Virginia Likely BCS Bowl Bound

After victories by West Virginia and Cincinnati on the season’s final weekend, the Mountaineers, Bearcats and Louisville will share the Big East’s regular season crown at 5-2 in conference play.

Only one of the three teams, however, can receive the conference’s automatic bid to a BCS bowl game, and as the Big East’s conference rules state, the tiebreaker for a three-way tie such as this will be the final BCS standings.

West Virginia, who ranked highest among the three teams last weekend, at No. 23, is likely to win the tiebreaker and make a return trip to the BCS for the first time since the 2008 Fiesta Bowl.

BCS Know How is also projecting the Mountaineers will receive a bid to the Orange Bowl.

2011 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Big East

Welcome to the 2011 college football season! BCS Know How will be taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences and five non-AQ conferences with profiles of each conference. We continue with the Big East. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other 10 conferences.

Conference: Big East Conference (Big East)

Active Since: 1979

Current Member Schools: Cincinnati Bearcats, Connecticut Huskies, Louisville Cardinals, Pittsburgh Panthers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, West Virginia Mountaineers. (8)

Bowl Affiliations: BCS Bowl Bid, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, Belk Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl. (7)

2010 Results:
Conference Champion – Connecticut
Conference Runner-up – West Virginia
BCS Bowl Result – 2010 Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 48 vs. Connecticut 20
Overall Bowl Record: 4-2

2011 Outlook: The Big East has taken a back seat to many of the other automatic qualifying conferences these past few years, and with turmoil, overhaul and unpredictability characterizing the Big East’s off-season, we might see more of the same this year.

Last year’s surprise Big East BCS bid went to Connecticut, but after losing their coach and their star players, nothing is guaranteed to the Huskies.

West Virginia saw turmoil matched only by that of Ohio State’s this off-season, and the traditional Big East power might have trouble re-acclimating themselves to the football landscape.

Could all of that open the doors for recently dormant Pittsburgh or Cincinnati? Or could unheralded USF or Syracuse take advantage?

2011 Heisman Hopefuls: West Virginia QB Geno Smith

BCS Know How’s 2011 Predictions:
Conference Champion – South Florida Bulls
Conference Runner-up – West Virginia Mountaineers
BCS bids – One: South Florida Bulls – Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists – None

Oklahoma and Connecticut Set to Entertain in the Fiesta Bowl

Connecticut Huskies (8-4)

How They Got Here: After finishing in a three-way tie for first place in the Big East conference, the Connecticut Huskies were the beneficiaries of the tiebreaker with both West Virginia and Pittsburgh after beating both teams during the regular season. As the winner of the tiebreaker the Huskies were awarded the Big East’s automatic BCS bowl bid.

Connecticut’s 2010 Season: Expectations were high for the Huskies entering the 2010 season, but after starting the season 1-2 against non-conference opposition, people began to rethink their opinion of Connecticut. Then when the Huskies dropped their first two Big East games, there were even doubts about UConn’s bowl eligibility hopes.

But after rolling off four straight victories against Big East conference opponents, the Huskies were in position to win the Big East conference’s BCS bowl bid by virtue of a tiebreaker.

Then on the final day of the 2010 regular season, the Huskies pulled out a last-second victory over South Florida on the strength of a Dave Teggart’s 52-yard field goal with 17 seconds to play — clinching the three-way tie atop the Big East at 5-2 and a BCS bowl bid.

Oklahoma Sooners (11-2)

How They Got Here: Champions of the Big 12 South division on the strength of their finish in the seventh BCS standings of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners clinched another BCS bowl bid with their 23-20 victory over Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game in the final week of the season.

Oklahoma’s 2010 Season: The Sooners were among a select group of teams that pundits believed had a chance at a national title in 2010, and the Sooners looked the part, climbing as high as No. 1 in the BCS early in the 2010 season.

However, losses to Missouri and Texas A&M dashed the Sooner’s hopes at another shot at a BCS national title, and instead the Sooners are headed to yet another BCS bowl as champions of the Big 12 in the conference’s final season as a 12-team league.

Matchup to Watch: The nation as a whole has been well-versed in Bob Stoops offense and defense as the Sooners are seemingly a yearly feature in the Big 12 and BCS races. The real question here is how UConn’s offense and truly the entire team will be able to respond to the spotlight of their first BCS bowl in school history.

UConn running back Johnathan Todman is among the best in the country, and at just 5-foot-9 will be a difficult task for the Oklahoma front seven to locate and tackle. Can Todman and quarterback Zach Fazer overcome the perceived mismatch and hand Oklahoma yet another loss in a BCS bowl?

BCS Know How Prediction: Yes, Oklahoma has made a habit of dropping the ball in the biggest situations — namely BCS bowls — but this matchup seems to be more in the Sooners’ favor than ever before. UConn is a better team than their record or rank show, but they’ll be hard pressed to hang with Oklahoma.

Oklahoma 42 vs. Connecticut 17

Connecticut Is BCS Bowl Bound

Discounted and suffering through their early-season schedule, many counted the Connecticut Huskies out.

Now they are BCS bowl bound.

A 52-yard field goal from Dave Teggart gave the Huskies a close, thrilling 19-16 victory over USF late Saturday night to clinch a share of a three-way tie atop the Big East standings. And by the power of the tiebreaker in the Big East, the Huskies will be the conference’s representative in the BCS for the 2010 season.

The Huskies finish 5-2 in the conference, tied with West Virginia and Pittsburgh, but with head-to-head victories over both teams, can claim to be the best team in the conference.

Connecticut now awaits their fate in the BCS bowl selection process, with a Orange or Fiesta Bowl bid likely in their future. However, it likely matters very little to the surprise Big East champions, as few even expected to contend for the conference title this season.

BCS Conference Title Race Scenarios Updated 12/4

With the season entering its final two weeks, conference races in all six conferences are coming down to the wire.

And although some are clear cut and easy to understand, others are a little bit more messy and may even require some tiebreakers.

Each of the six BCS conferences are listed here, with the teams still vying for a spot, and how each team will need the next two weekends to play out in order to either make their conference title game or win their conference crown.

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Coastal Division

Virginia Tech has clinched the Coastal Division and will play in the ACC Championship Game.

Atlantic Division

Florida State has clinched the Atlantic Division and will play in the ACC Championship Game.

Big 12

North Division

Nebraska has clinched the North Division and will play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

South Division

Oklahoma has clinched the South Division by the nature of the three-way tiebreaking BCS standings, and will play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Big East

Connecticut (4-2) will win the conference if they beat South Florida.

West Virginia (5-2) IF Connecticut loses to South Florida.

Big Ten

Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finish 7-1 in conference, and the Big Ten’s automatic BCS bid will go to the team ranked highest in the final BCS standings.

Pac-10 Conference

Oregon has clinched the Pac-10 conference championship and will receive a BCS bowl bid.

Southeastern Conference (SEC)

East Division

South Carolina has clinched the East Division and will play in the SEC Championship Game.

West Division

Auburn has clinched the West Division and will play in the SEC Championship Game.

Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East Rundown Week 12

Big Ten

Conference Leader: Wisconsin (10-1, 6-1)

Lurking: Ohio State (10-1, 6-1)

Game of Last Week: Ohio State 20 vs. Iowa 17. The Buckeyes struggled, but they did just enough to stay alive in the three-team Big Ten title race, that will likely come down to positioning in the BCS standings.

Game of Next Week: Ohio State vs. Michigan. Ohio State will need some help to claim the Big Ten title, but a victory in their traditional rivalry game with the Wolverines is as important as ever.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines, Penn State Nittany Lions, Illinois Fighting Illini.

Big 12

Conference Leaders: Nebraska (9-2, 5-2; North Division) and Oklahoma State (10-1, 6-1; South Division)

Lurking: Missouri (9-2, 5-2; North Division) and Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2; South Division)

Game of Last Week: Texas A&M 9 vs. Nebraska 6. A victory here would have given the Cornhuskers the North title, instead the Aggie victory opened both division races and left it to the final weekend to decide who will fight for the Big 12’s BCS bid.

Game of Next Week: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State. Bedlam will have an extra important feel this year, as a victory for the Cowboys would give them the Big 12 South title, while an Oklahoma victory would likely give the Sooners that crown — by virtue of a three-way tiebreaker.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Missouri Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Baylor Bears, Kansas State Wildcats, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Big East

Conference Leader: Pittsburgh (6-4, 4-1)

Lurking: Connecticut (6-4, 3-2)

Game of Last Week: Pittsburgh 17 vs. South Florida 10. If the Bulls could have won on Saturday, they would have had a surprisingly good shot at the Big East title, but a Panther victory ended most of those hopes while keeping Pitt a game clear of the rest of the Big East race.

Game of Next Week: West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh. The Backyard Brawl has added meaning as a victory for Pittsburgh would help them get to the BCS, while a West Virginia victory could spell a variety of possible Big East conference champions.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, West Virginia Mountaineers, Connecticut Huskies, Pittsburgh Panthers.

Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East Rundown Week 11

Big Ten

Conference Leader: Wisconsin (9-1, 5-1)

Lurking: Michigan State (9-1, 5-1)

Game of Last Week: Northwestern 21 vs. Iowa 17. A last minute drive — which would prove to be his last of the season — engineered by Wildcat quarterback Dan Persa gave Northwestern the upset victory, their fifth win over Iowa in six tries.

Game of Next Week: Ohio State vs. Iowa. The game has slightly less importance after Iowa’s loss to Northwestern, but the test will be just as still for the Buckeyes in Iowa City.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines, Penn State Nittany Lions.

Big 12

Conference Leaders: Nebraska (9-1, 5-1; North Division) and Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1; South Division)

Lurking: Missouri (8-2, 4-2; North Division) and Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2; South Division)

Game of Last Week: Texas A&M 42 vs. Baylor 30. A meeting between two surprise contenders in the Big 12 conference proved to be an affirmation of the Aggies victory over Oklahoma the week before.

Game of Next Week: Nebraska vs. Texas A&M. A victory here would assure Nebraska of the Big 12 North title and a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game, while a victory for the Aggies would keep them in the race for the South.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Missouri Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Baylor Bears, Kansas State Wildcats, Texas A&M Aggies.

Big East

Conference Leader: Pittsburgh (5-4, 3-1)

Lurking: Syracuse (7-3, 4-2)

Game of Last Week: Connecticut 30 vs. Pittsburgh 28. UConn running back Johnathan Todman ran for 222 yards and the Huskies converted a fourth down in their own territory to give the Panthers their first Big East loss and reopen the Big East title race.

Game of Next Week: Connecticut vs. Syracuse. Although no game seems to be a “knockout game” in the Big East race this year, victories by either team would certainly help their aspirations for a Big East conference title.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Syracuse Orange, South Florida Bulls, West Virginia Mountaineers.