Where Are They Now – Old Big East Edition?

Your University of Cincinnati Bearcats football team is currently 8-1, ranked first in the East Division of the American, ranked 17th in both the AP and Coaches Polls, and ranked 20th in the Playoff rankings. Many so-called experts have the Bearcats project to play the likes of Florida in the Cotton Bowl. And recruiting has never been better. Luke Fickell is scooping up local talent, and has even earned a commitment from one of the nation’s highest-ranked dual threat quarterbacks out of Wyoming High School in Evan Prater.

Sometimes it feels like ages ago, but beginning in 2012, the best basketball conference that will ever exist – the Big East – imploded over football money, greed, and fear. As we look back on it, the Big East was actually a fantastic football conference, as well. Remember all of those thrilling Thursday night matchups pitting two ranked opponents going down to the wire late at night? Or the classic matchups, rivalries, and trophy games?

In the aftermath, West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Rutgers all left. West Virginia went on to join the Big 12. Rutgers joined the Big Ten. And Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Louisville joined the ACC. So what are these football programs up to in 2019? Funny you should ask – absolutely nothing.

  • Pittsburgh still does not play college football in their own stadium, currently 6-3 and unranked. Their lone bowl victory since leaving was in the 2013 Little Caesars Bowl over Bowling Green by three points.
  • West Virginia is tied for last place in the Big 12 with Kansas, sitting at 3-6 on the year. Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, WVU has one 10-win season and one bowl victory.
  • Louisville is 5-4 and unranked, currently sitting in fourth place in their division. Since joining the ACC in 2014, Louisville went through quite a bit of turmoil off the field with their program personnel, athletic director, and who can forget Bobby Petrino? Louisville is coming off of a 2-10 season.
  • Syracuse is 3-6 and 0-5 in conference play, unranked, and sitting dead last in their division. Since joining the ACC in 2013, Syracuse had one seven-win season and one 10-win season, winning a combined 18 games in the five remaining seasons.
  • Rutgers is a complete dumpster fire, at 2-7 overall and 0-6 in Big Ten play. In their first year in the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers went 8-5. In the next five years, they had just 13 total wins and countless coaching and program scandals.

In the Big 12, West Virginia has one measly Cactus Bowl victory.  They beat Arizona State 43-42 in 2015.  In the Big East, WVU competed for national titles, and earned wins in the Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Gator Bowl, and Sugar Bowl.  Likewise, Louisville has just one bowl win in the 2015 Music City Bowl.  In the Big East, the Cardinals won an Orange Bowl and a Sugar Bowl.

Was it worth it? 

By Andy Smith