Big East moves on

The Big East is moving ahead in the aftermath of its flagship program, Miami, defecting to the ACC.

During Big East media day at Giants Stadium on July 28, the conference unveiled its new seven-team alignment, and even though Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese admitted this was a "transition year," he was still supremely confident the Big East would be considered out of the top conferences in the nation.

"You obviously can't replace Miami," Tranghese said. "I think we can become a great conference again from top to bottom, but I'm not sure we'll have a dominant team."

Coaches have argued there is plenty of talent left in the Big East.

"I've been asked that a lot: 'Are you going to miss the challenge of coaching against Miami?' Yes and no," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "This never was a two-team league as some may believe. You don't have to look much further than last year when West Virginia was co-champs. As far as I know they're still sitting in this room."

One upside to the defection of Miami, Virginia Tech, and following the 2004-05 season, Boston College, will be the BCS bid in the Big East is up for grabs. While West Virginia is an early favorite – it is the only team in the conference to be ranked in the preseason top 25 – the Mountaineers aren't nearly as close a lock as what Miami was in the past few years.

"Every team can legitimately say that we have a shot at being in a BCS game," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.

Tranghese also announced the conference's new ties with the Motor City Bowl. Although it isn't a guaranteed bid – the bowl is signed with the Big Ten and the Mid-American conferences – the Big East could snatch a bid if the Big Ten cannot produce enough bowl-eligible teams.

"Hey, we built it before and we can do it again and, frankly, I don't think we are all the way back to square one," Tranghese said. "In fact, we're much further ahead because back then, we didn't have television contracts, we didn't have bowl affiliations, we were on an island, we started from scratch.

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