Thanks to a link from ML’s Twitter, my defining memory of this conference will be that Villanova was closer to Cincinnati than Cincinnati is to Alabama in Sagarin’s predictor rankings. In fact, only Cincy, Pittsburgh and WVU rank ahead of Villanova as Big East teams.
You could basically call the Bearcats, “Clemson with an easier schedule and better luck.” This was not that great of a team this year, they just happened to win some games they probably should not have. They lose Pike and Gilyard for next season, though it’s hard to say how people will view them as Collaros was pretty good filling in for Pike and it looks like there is a good chance that Kelly will be out the door in the off-season. I would say they have enough to be competitive again, but not the best.
Pittsburgh was only a small step below Cincinnati this year, with again the big difference being luck. They’ll have to replace Stull at QB, Wannstache is still the coach, but this team should probably open as the Big East favorites next year. Recruiting-wise, Rivals.com has them as the best team in the Big East for 2 of the past 3 years.
The ‘Cuse will obviously have to fill the shoes of the legendary Greg Paulus, but other than that, I see them remaining as a pretty under-rated Big East squad. The Orange actually out-gained opponents in conference play, which helps explain some crazy lines despite a 1-6 conference record.
There is a decent chance they lose Randy Edsall, but if they don’t I think they are another potentially over-rated squad.
A win against Notre Dame, probably disguises the fact that they were out-gained by conference opponents and have had the worst rated recruiting class in the Big East in two of the last three years. I’m not sure how people will treat this team next year, but I’d say they are closer to Louisville than the top of the conference.
As these are going to be exceedingly quick, and used as a jumping off point next August, I don’t think there is much more to touch on. Louisville was bad, and should be bad again next year, but I don’t think there is any reason to expect them to be particularly under-rated.