The name calling has been going on for years. As the much-maligned Big East fights for its honor as an automatic qualifier in the BCS, the critics are often quick with the wit.
"The Little East." "The Big Least." "The Big Worst." Take your pick, this league has heard it all.
There was hope that the conference could recover after losing Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech. A few years ago Rutgers, South Florida and Pitt all looked to be ascending, and last year TCU accepted an invite to leave the Mountain West Conference for the Big East.
But a year later the Big East seems like the girlfriend everyone dated and dumped in high school.
Syracuse and Pitt are set to flee for the ACC, TCU reneged once the Big 12 came calling and West Virginia, the pride of Big East football, did the same.
The Mountaineers won the league three times in the BCS era and won all three ensuing bowl games -- the 2006 Sugar Bowl, 38-35 over Georgia; the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, 48-28 over Oklahoma; and the 2012 Orange Bowl, 70-33 over Clemson. No other current team has won two. But now, the Mountaineers will take their act to the Big 12, leaving behind one big mess back East.
And don't expect much to change now that Temple will rejoin the league next season. The Owls are a quality team for the A-10 but not an automatic qualifying conference for the BCS. The Big East is also talking about helping Villanova develop its football program with the hopes it could become FCS. Yeah, not very promising.
Just ask the pros. If you look at the odds to win the 2013 BCS title on PinnacleSports.com
, you'll find only three Big East teams on the board. And you have to look hard: Cincinnati (+8150), Pittsburgh (+13,000), and South Florida (+13,000).
Temple? Rutgers? UConn? Louisville? Syracuse? Nowhere to be found.
Our advice? If you had to play one, we'd lean on the Bulls, who have that Florida skill and speed, and are known to knock off a big team or two. The oddsmakers agree to an extent, or they wouldn't be giving odds to a team that went 5-7 last season.
If you simply want to bet the league champion -- when those odds are released -- we’d suggest Rutgers, a team that went 9-4 last season, won a bowl and maintained the majority of its recruiting class after coach Greg Schiano bolted for the NFL.
Other than that, there's not much going for this league. In 2013, it will officially lose Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, and the eventual exchanges for those schools -- Boise State, Houston, SMU, Central Florida, San Diego State, Memphis and Navy -- are underwhelming with the exception of the Broncos.
As far as 2012 is concerned, though, you're better off looking toward another league to find a national champion. If you must have a Big East flavor, try the national field (15-1). At least that way, another team from another league can bail you out.