Posted on 23 January 2010.
In our first two pieces, College FootBlog ranked the third through the sixth ranked BCS conferences from the 2009 season (see link). In this three-part breakdown, we analyze the results from each conference from the 2009 college football season, and we also give an outlook for the upcoming 2010 season.
Without further adieu, here are our top two BCS conferences from our Power Rankings.
2. Big East
2009 Recap: There was a time when analysts argued if the Big East should even have the right to an automatic BCS bid for its champion. That is no longer the case. Most people left the Big East for dead when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left for what was believed to be the greener pastures of the ACC. While the ACC has fallen from respectability, the Big East has consistently raised the bar over the last three years.
Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard was one of the most explosive players in college football in '09 (google images)
The Big East went 4-2 in their bowl games, and this was despite Cincinnati’s loss to Florida in the Sugar Bowl (which, coincidentally, was a horrible match up by the selection committee). We are all aware of what Tony Pike, Zach Collaros and Mardy Gilyard did for the Bearcat offense, but the Big East was much ‘Bigger’ this season, and it was the second-deepest conference in the nation.
Dave Wannstedt has Pitt back on the national scene and they gave Cincinnati all they could handle in a stunning 45-44 loss that was one of the best (if not the best) college football games all season. Overall, the Panthers finished with ten wins on the year, West Virginia and Rutgers racked up nine wins and USF and UConn each pulled in eight victories on the year.
2010 Outlook: Coaching changes could have a significant effect on the Big East next season. The Departure of Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly for Notre Dame and the firing of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt will put a lot of pressure on new head coaches Butch Jones and Skip Holtz.
The good news is that each of those two programs will have a proven quarterback. Cincy did not lose a beat when Tony Pike was lost temporarily due to injury because of the great play of Zach Collaros. And USF will have leader Matt Grothe back next fall, but they now have a proven back up in BJ Daniels.
The issue for the Bulls is going to be replacing future NFL defensive ends George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul. Pitt will have to replace quarterback Bill Stull, but running back Dion Lewis will take a lot of pressure off the new starter at QB.
Overall, it will be difficult to keep the #2 Power Ranking in 2010, but the coaching and talent will continue to gain well-deserved respect from college football.
2009 Recap: As much as some fans would like to see a changing of the guard, the SEC simply will not allow that to happen. All the SEC did this season is send ten of their twelve teams to bowl games, and they won six, which included the Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship.
When the dust settled, the SEC combined for a whopping 97-59 record in ’09, making it by far the deepest conference in the country. Led by Alabama’s national championship team and the Florida Gators, whose only loss came at the hands of the Crimson Tide, the SEC once again imposed its will on the rest of college football.
Mark Ingram's punishing running-style led the Tide to the BCS Title (google images)
With the one-two punch of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and freshman Trent Richardson, Bama’s smashmouth running game and defense was in stark contrast to Florida’s spread attack and Arkansas’ pass-happy scheme, but each was effective all season. Georgia was disappointing but still finished the year with eight wins, capped off with a 44-20 drubbing of Texas A&M. LSU and Ole Miss finished with very respectable nine win seasons as well, and both are looking to have even better years next season.
2010 Outlook: Look for much of the same with the SEC dominating college football. Flordia will have a bit of a rebuilding year after the loss of Tim Tebow and likely NFL first rounders, LB Brandon Spikes, TE Aaron Hernandez and CB Joe Haden.
The scary part is that the other top teams could be and should be even better this fall. That includes ‘Bama, who returns the running back tandem of Ingram and Richardson, but they also return WR Julio Jones and QB Greg McElroy.
Head coach Gene Chizik will look to build on the momentum he created at Auburn, and with Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead, the SEC could possibly have a pair of first round quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Just to recap, College FootBlog’s 2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings are as follows:
- Big East
- Big Ten
- Big 12
- Pac 10
Please feel free to post your own power rankings and give your feedback. Also, look for College FootBlog’s analysis of the recruiting season in a couple of weeks.