This week's Big East Scenarios Update is going to be short, because, for a wide-open six-team race, it's oddly simple.
If the Bearcats win all remaining games, they win the league outright. If they lose a game, they join the below group of teams, and the same set of rules will apply to them.
WEST VIRGINIA (3-2), RUTGERS (3-2), LOUISVILLE (3-2), PITTSBURGH (3-2), CONNECTICUT (2-2)
If you are a fan of one of these five teams, here's what has to happen for your team to win the Big East's bid to a BCS bowl game:
- Your team must win all remaining games.
- Any team that beat your team must lose at least once.
- Cincinnati must lose one game.
Your rooting interests are as simple as that. Root for your team, and root against any team that beat your team. If this all happens, your team will be 5-2, and the only other teams at 5-2 will be teams you beat, guaranteeing your team will win any tiebreaker.
What's the half rule?
3 1/2. If you've already lost to Cincinnati, Cincinnati must lose a second game.
I call that a half-rule because it only applies to half the teams, namely Louisville and Pittsburgh. The other teams in the race have not yet played Cincinnati. Winning that game, which they must do to satisfy rule #1, will also satisfy rule #3. UofL and Pitt need the Bearcats to drop two of their last three, and won't have a chance to hand Cincinnati one of those losses. So those two teams are in worse shape than the other three.
However, like teenage boys, Big East football schools often don't follow the rules they've agreed to. It's possible that no team will fully adhere to all three and a half rules. If that happens, someone still has to win the Big East, which will happen one of the following ways:
- 3-way tie at 5-2, where all the teams are 1-1 against each other.
- 4-way tie at 5-2, where no team beat all of the three other teams.
- That's Armageddon! in which no team reaches 5-2, and there is a 4-, 5-, or 6-way tie at 4-3. (The 7-way tie is out, due to Syracuse losing its fourth game.)
If any of that happens, the BCS bid will go to the highest ranked team in the BCS poll. I'm not even going to try and guess who that would be. CBSSports' BCS rankings page is a good resource.
The only teams eliminated from the Big East race are South Florida and Syracuse. They are left to argue whether USF clinched the Beef O' Brady's Bowl with a win over the Orange, or if Syracuse clinched the Beef O' Brady's Bowl with a loss to the Bulls.