User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Big East surges with 3 ranked, undefeated teams

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Excuse Big East commissioner Mike Aresco if he's feeling a bit giddy this week. When the dust settled after weekend play, he still had three undefeated teams ranked in the AP Top 25.

Advertisement
While nine ranked teams lost, No. 18 Louisville, No. 20 Rutgers and No. 21 Cincinnati boosted their combined record to 14-0 and remained among the 14 undefeated teams in major college football.

The best news for Aresco is that all three are staying put as he continues to rebuild the much-maligned conference.

``Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers are some of our core programs, and they have strong football,'' Aresco said. ``What it shows also is that, going forward, we will have even stronger football. It's only going to get better. This is early evidence of it.''

Boise State (4-1), currently No. 24, joins the conference next year. That should more than make up for the departure of Pittsburgh and Syracuse after this season as they make the jump to the Atlantic Coast Conference. If only West Virginia - 5-0 and ranked No. 5 - hadn't bolted for the Big 12.

``When we bring in the new schools, we're going to have a powerful football conference top to bottom,'' Aresco said. ``It's going to be very competitive, very rugged.''

It already is. Just ask Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, whose Hokies used to play in the Big East.

After Pittsburgh started the season under first-year coach Paul Chryst with a stunning two-touchdown loss to Youngstown State, which plays at Division I's second level, and followed that with a loss at Cincinnati, Pitt upset then-No. 13 Virginia Tech, 35-17, forcing the Hokies into four first-half turnovers.

Tech hasn't been the same since, also losing to Cincinnati and North Carolina. So, for the record, the Hokies, another former league member, are 0-2 vs. the Big East.

``(The Big East is) having a good year, that's for sure,'' Beamer said. ``Cincinnati was for real, and the day we played Pittsburgh ... they were good, so I have nothing but respect for them.''

Since 2006, the Big East is 215-89 (70.7 winning percentage) in nonconference play, behind only the SEC (304-70, 81.3 percent) and the Big 12 (259-86, 75.1 percent). And since 1998, the Big East has the best postseason record (43-27) of any Bowl Subdivision conference during the Bowl Championship Series era.

So, why is the conference always an afterthought?

``Because we beat each other up,'' Louisville offensive guard Jake Smith said. ``There aren't too many unbeaten teams that come out of the conference. It's tough. I won't say we'll have the national champion every year, but I think there are really good teams in the Big East.''

It's just that nobody seems to notice.

Such is life in a league with no dominant teams, even if players such as Baltimore Ravens tailback Ray Rice (Rutgers) or New England Patriots rookie defensive end Chandler Jones (Syracuse) quickly become household names as pros.

``This conference is really underrated, honestly,'' Smith said. ``There are a lot of really good players that come out of the Big East. You don't have to look far to find great talent.

``It's kind of offensive when you see somebody just bashing the conference that you're in. Last year, when West Virginia was in the conference, they came and blew out Clemson (70-33 in the Orange Bowl), and then they moved to another conference and have become a top-10 team - and that's the team we beat last year. I think it's the perception nationally. I don't think that's how it should be.''

Aresco already knows he won't have three unbeaten teams at season's end, and he's OK with that.

``It's always been a conference that has been able to reinvent itself and get even stronger,'' Aresco said. ``We're doing it now. It's not surprising to me that we've got teams that are in the Top 25. It's nice to have undefeated teams, but they've got to play each other.''

Not yet. Which means Aresco still has three good bargaining chips on his side as the league continues negotiations on a new television contract.

``It's great timing,'' Aresco said. ``It sends the signal that I've talked about. We are a strong football conference, we're a valuable football conference, we're going to be valuable to our media partners. Not only is it great timing, but it foreshadows the future.''

The drawback to the start, though, has been everyone else. If you take out the three ranked teams, no other league member is over .500. But at least, there are the Cardinals, Scarlet Knights and Bearcats to brag about.

``We really didn't know what was going to happen this year,'' Smith said. ``Cincinnati had questions, Rutgers had some questions, and with us there were some questions of youth. But to have three undefeated teams, it's good to see that competitiveness.

``And I like it.''

Aresco does, too.

---

AP Sports Writers Gary Graves in Louisville, Ky., and Hank Kurz in Richmond, Va. contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Dobish: Betting Recap - Week 14
Clemson wins ACC title, playoffs up next
Penn State tops Wisconsin for Big 10 title
Bama rolls past Florida 54-16 to win SEC
San Diego State edges Wyoming for MWC
West Virginia beats Baylor, 'under' cashes
Temple cruises past Navy to win AAC
Richmond rallies to eliminate North Dakota
WMU holds off Ohio for MAC Championship
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
5-2 Run, 10-5 G-Plays, +1,885 TY
11-5 L16, 34-12 Streak, +1,841 TY
3-0 Saturday, 7-1 L8, 12-3 L15
8-1 Win Streak, 14-5 L19 Totals
4-1 Picks, 13-3 G-Plays, +1,653 TY
18-6 L5 Saturdays, 59% +1,543 TY
14-3 Last 17 G-Play Streak
+2,757 NCAA FB Over/Unders TY
7-3 L10 Picks, 13-4 L17 G-Plays
39-14 L5 Saturdays, 48-24 Streak
19-9 L4 Saturdays, 30-16 L46 Run
8-4 Sat., 19-7 GPlays, +2,353 Totals
28-14 L6 Saturdays, 31-15 Streak
14-6 CFB Record L20 Picks
9-4 L13 CFB Guarantees
4-0 Saturday, 7-1 L8, +1,036 TY
4-2 Saturday, 11-4 G-Plays TY
3-0 Week 14 Record
4-1 L5 Guaranteed Plays
11-4 L15 G-Plays, 17-9 L26 Picks
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1885
Joe Williams + 1841
Kyle Hunter + 1653
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 480
James Manos + 445
Stephen Nover + 300
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Pat Hawkins 58 %
Kyle Hunter 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 984
Marc Lawrence + 917
Kyle Hunter + 740
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2757
Micah Roberts + 2353
Kyle Hunter + 2001
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 605
Vince Akins + 605
Scott Rickenbach + 557
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership