Tranghese touts Big East's balance

When Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College bolted from the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference earlier this decade many thought the league would lose the luster and competitiveness that had defined the east coast football conference since the 1990's.

But with the additions of Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida it didn't. In fact, Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said Tuesday in Newport, Rhode Island that the conference is as balanced and competitive as it's ever been.

"When we began reorganizing I thought our strength was going to be balance and competiveness," Tranghese said at the 2008 Big East Media Day. "As I look back over the last three years we have yet to have a team get through this league undefeated. It has been very difficult and it's going to continue to be very difficult."

The numbers support Tranghese's statements. Last year, six of the Big East's eight members were ranked in the Top 25 at one point during the season. The conference also sent five teams to bowl games and posted a winning record in those contests for the second straight year. "Five of our teams went to bowl games and we secured another winning record in post-season play," Tranghese said.

More importantly than the league's overall bowl record, Trangheses said, is the fact that the Big East champion has won their BCS bowl game each of the past three seasons, knocking off league champions from the SEC, ACC and Big 12.

"It demonstrates that we can play," Tranghese said.

Tranghese said the Big East will continue to be a big draw for ESPN on Thursday and Friday nights. Those games undoubtedly provide the league a prime outlet to showcase the balance and competitiveness that Tranghese has talked about.

Tranghese also sounded excited about the Big East's new affiliation with the new St. Petersburg, Florida Bowl game. In another bowl lineup change this season, the Big East representative to the PapaJohn' Bowl in Birmingham will play a representative from the SEC instead of a member from Conference USA.

"We're very excited about this," Tranghese said of the new Florida bowl venue. "We think that there is an incredible growth potential there. It is a great venue and it's the kind of place that we are seeking to go and our coaches and players are really looking forward to it."

Tranghese also announced a new change for Big East officiating. Terry McAulay, a respected NFL official for the past 11 years, takes over as head of Big East officiating. He succeeds John Soffey, who retired after serving at the BIG EAST since 1998.


Rank Team Pts.
1. West Virginia (22) 189
2. USF (1) 149
3. Pittsburgh (1) 128
4. Rutgers 110
5. Cincinnati 98
6. Connecticut 97
7. Louisville 69
8. Syracuse 24

First Place Votes in Parentheses

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