Syracuse knocked off West Virginia, who at #20 was the only ranked Big East team, 19-14 this afternoon in a pretty ugly game where neither team topped 300 yards of total offense. The Big East will almost certainly have no team in next week's polls, a fact that led numerous people to speculate an unranked team could be the conference's representative in this season's BCS bowls. I doubt that's the case – the team that finds themselves with the Big East crown will probably get enough poll votes by default – but I was hating the Big East back in the Bowl Coalition days before it was cool, so I was all ready to join the cries to evict the conference from the BCS. But I have to be fair. If you kick the Big East out of the BCS, and you should, the ACC should go with them.
At least in the Bowl Coalition days when the Big East was sending three-loss Syracuse teams as sacrificial lambs to major bowl games, the ACC could point to the championship contenders they were sending. Of course, it was always Florida State, the ACC's representative for the first ten years, and 13 of the first 15. For the most part, the ACC was FSU and the eight dwarves, while the Big East was just eight dwarves.
Since FSU's long crash in the 2000's, along with Miami's similar decline, the ACC has been just as bad as the Big East. You can make the argument that the ACC is deeper than its hapless counterpart, which translates to slightly worse records (and I subscribe to that theory) but it doesn't change the facts; these conferences are awful. To wit:
- The last time a team from these conferences played for the national championship was 2002 (Miami) and 2000 (Florida State). The ACC hasn't produced a team with a shot in November since. The Big East has twice produced teams that may have made it (WVU in '05, Cincinnati last season), but the Big East schedule is so weak that talking heads argued they were undeserving compared to teams with more losses.
- The last time the Big East won a BCS bowl against a team not from the ACC was when West Virginia beat Georgia in the 2005 season. The last time the ACC won a BCS bowl against a team not from the Big East was the 1997 season when FSU beat Ohio State.
- The Big East has sent three-loss representatives to the BCS and its antecedents three times, and teams ranked outside the Top 10 six times. The ACC has sent four-loss teams three times, a teams outside the Top 10 four times.
- The Big East's record since 1992? 6-12. The ACC's? 7-11. Naturally, neither team has ever sent more than one team to the BCS. Also, all but two of those Big East wins are from teams that jumped ship to the ACC.
Now, I know this will never happen. The BCS exists at its presence size to make sure the majority of football revenue flows to as few teams and conferences as possible, and kicking two out upsets that balance. But these conferences are not on the same level as the rest of the BCS conferences. They're guaranteed to send at best two-loss, and more likely three-loss teams this year, while good mid-major teams have to hope for just the right circumstances to let them play at all. For the good of football, kick them out and make them earn an at-large spot like Boise State and TCU.