Almost two months ago I set out on the most noble of tasks, taking a peak at the Big East's master schedule for the 2011 Football season and shedding a light on the best and most important games for the 2011 season. I just started with the Bearcats schedule and then expanded to the rest of the conference, starting with the non conference schedule. That just leaves the Big East conference schedule to do. I think I need a beat for this.
That's more like it. Time to get to it.
Thursday, September 29th, South Florida at Pittsburgh
This is going to be a pretty interesting game to watch. I don't think that Pitt really has the personnel to make the Todd Graham offense truly explode this year. primarily because Tino Sunsari isn't the multi faceted QB needed to make this offense deadly, G.J. Kinnie and Paul Smith being the best examples. Still, there is enough talent there to make Pitt formidable on offense. Contrast that with USF which is going to have, in my opinion at least, the best defense in the conference next year. Should be a fascinating contrast in styles.
Saturday, October 22nd, West Virginia at Syracuse
Last years game provided the shock of the year last season and the warning shot across the bow of the conference.
They effectively announced that the Syracuse Orange were a real team after years of being a bit of a cartoon, thanks in no small part to this man. Syracuse fielded a pretty damn good defense last year and should be good once again, provided that they can figure out the linebacker position. The Orange will provide the first big in conference test of Dana Holgerson's new look mean machine.
Saturday, October 29th, Syracuse at Louisville
I like this game because it will really test the theory that nothing can bring Will Stein down. Syracuse brings pressure from everywhere and mixes their coverages extraordinarily well. Truth be told this will be a match up of two very active, very creative defenses facing a pair of offenses that will be without their prior workhorses and relying on two, um, interesting quarterbacks for the first time.
Saturday, November 5th, EVERY GAME
I have a feeling that this will be the make or break weekend for the conference race. All eight teams will be in action. The primary viewing obligations for me, besides the UC game obviously, will be Louisville and West Virginia, two teams that have played some great games in the last decade. WVU is the presumptive conference favorite, and this is one the books as arguably the toughest test they will face
The other game is the South Florida game at Rutgers. I don't think Rutgers will be anywhere near as bad as they were last year. They will be improved, but I am not too sure how much. Regardless Rutgers and USF almost always play a good game.
The Syracuse and UConn game will be interesting. But it will be better next year when the Paul Pasqualoni lead Huskies head to the Carrier Dome
Saturday, November 12th, Pittsburgh at Louisville
The main reason I am interested is that I love watching a Charlie Strong defense attack spread offenses. Outside of Nick Saban and Gary Patterson I don't think there is a defensive minded coach in the country has a better bead on how to go about attacking spread offenses. Seeing Strong get after what is effectively Gus Malzahn's scheme should be very fun to watch.
Saturday, November 19th, Louisville at Connecticut
I just want a repeat of this. Make it happen people, make it happen.
Friday, November 25th, Double Header
The marquee game here is the Backyard Brawl which has been a Friday after Thanksgiving fixture for the last few years. Always a welcome game, right Pat White.
Saturday, December 3rd, Syracuse at Pittsburgh
The Big East's set up is to try and get the best possible match up on the last weekend of the year. That certainly worked in 2009. I don't think it will work nearly as well in 2011. USF and WVU is probably the best bet for a conference deciding game sitting here, now. However, I have a feeling that game will either be a meaningless game between two teams that are already out of it, or a coronation for one team or the other. I think this game will be the best of the weekend, though that is just a guess on my part.