A few weeks ago we looked at the last half-decade in the ACC. Now we'll move to the league the ACC plundered and left for dead in the mid-00's, the Big East.
First off, here are the combined Big East standings from 2005-2009.I was a little surprised West Virginia still has the best league record since 2005. In the 2 seasons Bill Stewart has been at the helm, the Mountaineers have continued to play well in the league, going 10-4. Against teams not named Cincinnati, the Mountaineers are 10-2 in that span. In fact, of the Mountaineers 8 league losses in the past 5 seasons, 7 have come to either Cincinnati (2), Pitt (2), or South Florida (3). The other loss came to what used to be known as Louisville. After winning 14 of their last 15 conference games, the Bearcats from Cincinnati rose up to take the silver medal. West Virginia is the only Big East team to not have a losing record since 2005. Not surprisingly, Syracuse is the only Big East team to not have a winning record since 2005.
Now here is the standard deviation of each team's conference record (in wins). Teams are ranked from the most inconsistent to the least.The most inconsistent team has been Louisville. From 2005-2006, the Cardinals went 11-3 in Big East play and seemed poised to be a national player. Since then, they are 5-16 in league play, besting only Syracuse over that period (3-18). Speaking of the Orange, they are the most consistent Big East team over the past 5 seasons. After going 0-7 in league play in 2005, the Orange have been remarkably consistent since, notching a single Big East win in each season. West Virginia has also been very consistent, following up their 7-0 campaign in 2005 with 4 straight 5-2 league records.
Now here is each team's point differential in conference play since 2005.In this methodology, the Mountaineers come out head and shoulders above every other Big East team. Their point differential is nearly 300 points better than 2nd place Rutgers. Teams 3-5 are clustered very closely together, with only 11 points separating 3rd place Pitt from 5th place South Florida. The main reason why Cincinnati is so far ahead of South Florida in the actual standings (+6 games) despite having a nearly identical scoring differential is their performance in one-score games. The Bearcats are 11-6 in one-score conference games since 2005, while the Bulls are only 2-9.
With this being the end of the decade, here's the tally of conference titles.
And finally, what was the biggest takeway from the 00 decade in the Big East?
History is no barrier to success, particularly if no one in the conference has a great history. Of the 8 current Big East teams, Pitt and Syracuse are the only 2 that can claim a national title. Pitt has 6 with their most recent coming in 1976, while Syracuse can claim the 1959 title. At the beginning of this decade, Rutgers was a perennial doormat, Cincinnati and Louisville were on the outside looking in at big money leagues as members of Conference USA, South Florida was still playing IAA ball, and Connecticut had just made the jump to IA. West Virginia had some moderate success under Jim Carlen, Bobby Bowden, and Don Nehlen, but nothing like the spoils they enjoyed under Rich Rodriguez from 2003-2007. I didn't include them in the above table, but West Virginia was actually the co-champions in both 2003 and 2004, giving them a technical run of 4 titles in 5 seasons. Who knows what the future holds for the Big East, but the conference appears to be in much better shape than was imagined when re-allignment began in 2004.