The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

August 5, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN: No true favorite in wide-open Big East of ’09

MORGANTOWN — This is one of those bad news, good news, better news things, only you don’t get to choose which comes first.

We’re going to start with the bad news.

Pitt has been picked to win the Big East.

Now for the good news.

Pitt has been picked to win the Big East.

Now that may seem like an impossibility, but there is a great deal of logic behind it.

Follow the logic:

A. All you hear is that it is impossible to pick which team will win the Big East this season, proof of which was seen in the poll that was released Tuesday morning in Newport, R.I., an elitist site for a football conference with anything but an elitist pedigree, as no fewer than half the conference’s eight teams received three or more first-place votes.

B. If the statement is correct that it is impossible to pick the winner of the Big East this year, then the prediction that names Pitt the conference winner has to be wrong, and there is no reason to think that it isn’t impossible to pick the winner.

The Big East is a conference without a favorite.

It has no favorite because, to be quite honest, it has no team with enough talent to be ranked in the Top 25 in virtually all preseason publications.

Every team has limitations, question marks, outright weaknesses.

You not only can’t pick a winner, you can’t even select someone as a preseason favorite as Player of the Year.

The poll saw Pitt and Cincinnati, which is the defending champion, each draw eight first-place votes, while West Virginia drew five and South Florida three.

When the points were added together, the predictions had Pitt first, WVU second, Cincinnati third, South Florida fourth, Rutgers fifth, Connecticut sixth, Louisville seventh and Syracuse at the bottom.

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Bob Herzel
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