|SI.com Conference Power Index: Big East|
The Conference Power Index (CPI) is a compilation of each conference's rank (six points for first place, five points for second place, etc.) in the following categories: AP poll rankings, BCS record, other bowls record, nonconference RPI and NFL draft picks. AP poll and BCS record were weighted doubly. This study examined two five-year periods: 1) The 1998 season through the 2003 NFL draft; 2) The '03 season through the '08 NFL draft.
Big East continues to search for respect
Since the 1998 inception of the BCS, the Big East has continually fought a national perception of being marginally worthy of its stature. (The so-called "Syracuse Rule" regarding minimum BCS standards was put into effect after the Orange earned a BCS bid that first year despite finishing 15th in the rankings.) The ACC's 2003 raid of recent title-game participants Miami and Virginia Tech, as well as Boston College, was viewed as a potential death knell for the conference.
While the restructured Big East -- which booted cellar-dweller Temple while adding Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida -- did finish sixth in our power index for the most recent five-year period, the league's overall score dipped just two points (from 18 to 16). It's produced an impressive 13-10 bowl record and won three straight BCS games (two by West Virginia, one by Louisville). It finished last, however, in poll placement, nonconference RPI and NFL draft picks.