American Football Wiki
Big East Conference

The Big East Conference is an NCAA FBS conference.


Team Location Stadium
Cincinnati Bearcats Cincinnati, Ohio Nippert Stadium
Connecticut Huskies Storrs, Connecticut Rentschler Field (in East Hartford, CT)
East Carolina Pirates Greenville, North Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
Houston Cougars Houston, Texas TDECU Stadium
Memphis Tigers Memphis, Tennessee Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
South Florida Bulls Tampa, Florida Raymond James Stadium
SMU Mustangs Dallas, Texas Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Temple Owls Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Lincoln Financial Field

Former Teams[]


2012 Average Football Attendance
School Average Attendance
Louisville 49,991
Rutgers 49,188
South Florida 44,130
Pittsburgh 41,494
Syracuse 37,953
Connecticut 34,672
Cincinnati 29,138
Temple 26,580
Big East Conference Average 39,143

[1]Big East began football during the 1991-1992 season with the addition of Miami and was a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series[24]. The league obtained immediate legitimacy with the addition of powerhouse Miami.

In the league's early years the University of Miami dominated, winning nine of the first thirteen championships and two national championships in 1991 and 2001. Virginia Tech also did well, winning the conference in 1995 and 1996 and earning a #2 national ranking in 1999. West Virginia and Syracuse were the only other teams to win conference titles during the league's original alignment.

The conference experienced a major reconstruction when Miami and Virginia Tech left for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, followed by Boston College in 2005. Initially, Syracuse University was in place to make the jump instead of Virginia Tech, but in 2003, the governor of Virginia put pressure on the ACC to ensure that Virginia Tech was taken over Syracuse. Syracuse was left to remain in the Big East. Temple had joined the Big East for football in 1991, but found it difficult to compete with the other league teams. The conference was compelled to expel the Owls voluntarily in 2004 (after playing two seasons as an independent, Temple joined the MAC in 2007).

The universities that replaced them were Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati from Conference USA. The league also invited the University of Connecticut to play football a year earlier than planned.

At about this time, the BCS announced that it would adjust the automatic bids granted to its six founding conferences based on results from 2004–07, and that there would be five, six, or seven such bids starting in 2008. The obvious inference was that soon the Big East might lose its bid.

The conference’s fortunes improved in 2005. The three new teams from Conference USA began play that year, restoring the league to eight teams. West Virginia won the conference title, defeated SEC champion Georgia in the Sugar Bowl[25], and finished 11–1 and finished #5 in the AP poll. Newcomer Louisville also ranked in the Top 20.

Another former member for football only was Temple. Unlike other football only members in the past, they did not gain full membership in the Big East – due to objections from crosstown rivals Villanova (who do not play football in the Big East). After 14 seasons of mostly poor performance, Temple was kicked out of the conference following the 2004 season. They currently play football in the Mid-American Conference (for that sport only), and are the first school to leave a BCS conference to later join a non-BCS conference.

In 2006, West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers all entered November undefeated. However, they did not stay that way, as in a trio of exciting games over the next month, Louisville defeated West Virginia 44–34, Rutgers defeated Louisville 28–25, and West Virginia defeated Rutgers 41–39 in three overtimes. Rutgers’ resurgence after a century of mostly futile play was a national story,[who?] but Louisville won the conference title in the end. In bowl action, the Big East went 5–0, including an Orange Bowl[25] victory for Louisville over Wake Forest and a win by West Virginia over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl. Louisville would finish the season ranked 6th, West Virginia 10th, and Rutgers 12th in the final AP Poll.

In 2007, USF, rose to #2 in the BCS rankings. They lost their next three games, however, to drop out of the rankings. They eventually finished the season #21 in the final BCS polls. The Connecticut Huskies, getting as high as #13, and West Virginia remained in the top 25. Cincinnati also rose as high as #15 in the rankings eventually finishing the season with 10 wins and a #17 ranking. Connecticut lost subsequent games and dropped substantially in the rankings, ultimately finishing 25th. On the final day of the season, Pittsburgh upset #2 WVU 13–9 in the 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl to give the Huskies a share of the conference championship, while WVU was stopped on the doorstep of the BCS National Championship Game. In bowl games, WVU upset the Big 12 Champion Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl[25], despite having lost their highly touted coach, Rich Rodriguez to Michigan less than a month before the game. West Virginia finished the season ranked #6 and Cincinnati finished ranked #17.


Year Conference Champion Conference Record Bowl Coalition/Alliance/BCS Bowl Representative
1991 Miami / Syracuse* 2–0–0 / 5–0–0 none
1992 Miami* 4–0–0 Miami
1993 West Virginia 7–0–0 West Virginia
1994 Miami 7–0–0 Miami
1995 Virginia Tech / Miami 6–1–0 Virginia Tech
1996 Virginia Tech / Miami / Syracuse 6–1 Virginia Tech
1997 Syracuse 6–1 Syracuse
1998 Syracuse 7–0 Syracuse
1999 Virginia Tech 7–0 Virginia Tech
2000 Miami 7–0 Miami
2001 Miami 7–0 Miami
2002 Miami 7–0 Miami
2003 Miami / West Virginia 6–1 Miami
2004 Boston College / Pittsburgh / Syracuse / West Virginia 4–2 Pittsburgh
2005 West Virginia 7–0 West Virginia
2006 Louisville 6–1 Louisville
2007 West Virginia / Connecticut 5–2 West Virginia
2008 Cincinnati 6–1 Cincinnati
2009 Cincinnati 7–0 Cincinnati
2010 Connecticut / West Virginia / Pittsburgh 5–2 Connecticut
2011 West Virginia / Cincinnati / Louisville 5–2 West Virginia
2012 Louisville / Rutgers / Syracuse / Cincinnati 5–2 Louisville
  • No official championship awarded in 1991 and 1992, as the conference did not start full league play until 1993.

Bowl games[]

Pick Name Location Opposing Conference Opposing Pick
1 Bowl Championship Series† - BCS At-Large -
2 Russell Athletic Bowl Orlando, Florida ACC 3
3 Belk Bowl Charlotte, North Carolina ACC 5
4 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Bronx, New York Big 12 7
5/6 BBVA Compass Bowl Birmingham, Alabama SEC 8/9
5/6 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Memphis, Tennessee C-USA or SEC 1 or 8/9
6 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, Florida C-USA 4
Notes on bowl game selection
  • † The Big East's BCS representative is not tied directly to a specific BCS Bowl. It is selected to a bowl in the same manner as an at-large team. The BCS may choose select a second team to play in another BCS bowl game.
  • Notre Dame is eligible to be chosen in lieu of a Big East team for any non-BCS bowl game. In a separate rule specific only to Notre Dame that doesn't affect the Big East's BCS representative, Notre Dame is eligible to receive a BCS automatic berth if they finish within the top 8 of the BCS Rankings.