I'm notorious for starting series posts like these but not keeping up with them, so forgive me in advance. I will make every effort to make this a regular morning thing going forward. As many of you know, I'm a new father. My daughter is closing in on six months old. As I'm sure many of you know, infants and coherent morning thoughts don't go particularly well together. Nevertheless, here's hoping we can make this thing happen daily.
1. Take It Out On The ACC - For all of the conference acrimony towards the ACC after last year's unnecessary poaching of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the Big East will have its chances to get some revenge on the field in 2012. The nice thing for Big East teams is they'll get shots at the ACC against the best teams, teams in the middle of the pack, and teams at the bottom. USF hosts Florida State and Miami, Pitt and Cincinnati both face Virginia Tech, Louisville hosts North Carolina, Connecticut plays both NC State and Maryland, Temple also gets a shot at lowly Maryland. It's a lot to ask for either USF to beat Florida State or Pitt or Cincinnati to beat Virginia Tech, but it would certainly do some good for the future of the league Big East teams to get the good majority of the games against North Carolina, NC State, Miami, and Maryland.
2. Root For Future Members - The 2013 season will be the last one where the Big East will have an automatic BCS bowl bid, but it will be the first with new members, divisional play, and a conference title game. Louisville and Cincinnati are very young teams that should be good in 2013. It would help the league's perception of Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, and SMU all made the most of what could be very big years in 2012. Is it conceivable that three or four 2013 Big East teams begin the year ranked in the top 25?
3. Don't Root Against Pitt and Syracuse - I know the temptation will be there for many fans to hope that Syracuse and Pittsburgh lose basically every game on their respective schedules, but I hope that fans find a way to overlook realignment and root for their conference brethren while they're still brethren. There are a few reasons to be good sports to the departing schools. 1. It really won't matter with Syracuse because that schedule is so difficult, the losses are coming whether you root for them or not 2. Under this system, everyone benefits from the conference being as good as it can possibly be, so in the event that you get a 10 or 11 win Louisville, South Florida, or Rutgers team, they'd be helped by Pitt and Syracuse being as good as possible.
4. Can We At Least Avoid The Bad Losses Outside The Conference? Big East teams will have chances to notch some wins against some of the nations best teams (Arkansas, Florida State, Virginia Tech), but it might be even more important that Big East teams finally avoid the embarrassing losses to lesser teams outside the conference. Recall last year that Connecticut lost to Western Michigan, Louisville tied for the conference title but earlier in the season lost to both FIU and Marshall at home, and there were far too many close calls for losses just like that. Are there potential losses like this on the schedule? We hope not.
5. Settled Coaches And Quarterbacks - It's odd to be heading into the season with eight teams, eight coaches, and eight quarterbacks. I can't foresee any of the conference's coaches being fired, no matter how the season goes, and all of the quarterbacks are likely settled barring injury. It hasn't been that way in the Big East in quite some time. Now, will the coaching stability also extend to coaches not leaving for bigger jobs? Let's not get carried away...
NIGHTMARE FUEL: Last year it was Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". This year, all across the country, college marching bands are practicing their individual renditions of Call Me Maybe. Prepare your ears now.