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Big East Possibilities for the 2008 Schedule

Yesterday, I broke down the list of possible replacements for UTEP from the ACC and determined that our best shot at landing a solid opponent out of that conference is Boston College. The Big East yields greater possibilities given that their seven game conference schedule allows for five OOC games.

  • Cincinnati: Akron (9/27), Marshall (10/4), Eastern Kentucky (TBA), 2 more OOC games to be scheduled.
  • Connecticut: Baylor (9/20), North Carolina (10/4), Virginia (TBA), Temple (TBA), 1 OOC game to be scheduled.
  • Louisville: Kentucky (8/31), Kansas State (9/20), Middle Tennessee State (TBA), 2 OOC games to be scheduled.
  • Pitt: All five OOC are scheduled for 2008.
  • Rutgers: Navy (9/20), North Carolina (9/20), Buffalo (TBA), Army (TBA), 1 OOC to be scheduled.
  • South Florida: All five OOC are scheduled for 2008.
  • Syracuse: Akron (9/6), Penn State (9/13), Notre Dame (11/22), Northwestern (TBA), 1 OOC game to be scheduled.
  • West Virginia: All five OOC are scheduled for 2008.

I know everyone will find the idea that we'd have to go into a home and away with Cincinnati absurd, but I think the days of getting a 1 off with BCS teams are done. Additionally, we've traveled to Cincinnati in the last 20 years or so. Say what you will about Cincinnati, but I'd rather play them than some Sun Belt team.

Looking at Connecticut's future schedules, I also think we'd have to give them a home and away, or at least a home and a neutral site game a la Duke. They're getting Iowa, Virginia and several other BCS teams at home. I think the days of landing a home game only deal with BCS schools is virtually over. Maybe we could play their home game at Gilette Stadium in Foxboro. That way they could make a bunch of money off of our fans. It'd have to be early season though. Who wants to play in freezing-ass-cold Massachusetts in October or November?

Louisville has dates that'll work and it would certainly be epic. I'd love to see this game. I can't think of anyone that wouldn't. It doesn't look like any of their OOC games are road games so far in 2008, so maybe we could lure them to Tuscaloosa to improve the quality of the season ticket package. We could travel there in 2009 seeing as they have away games scheduled at Kentucky and Utah.

Rutgers is another attractive possibility. There's a lot of buzz about them right now and three of their four OOC games scheduled so far are at home (they travel to Navy.) Another good intersectional pairing that might get ESPN "comin' your ci-tay."

I don't really see Syracuse as a possibility given that they're playing both Penn State and Notre Dame next year. Syracuse has stunk it up pretty badly lately so they're going to want to schedule a few complete powder puffs to try to eek out a win or two.

I think there are some attractive options here. Louisville would obviously be at the top of the list, followed by Rutgers, but I also think Cincinnati is one to really consider under the circumstances in that they're a decent BCS conference team. UConn is an option, but not a particularly good one. Of course, I'd rather play them than Louisiana-Monroe again.