The wine sure must taste sweet today in Chapel Hill. Not only did North Carolina spank Rutgers in New Jersey 44-12 claiming their first road win in six years, they also scored one for their conference. Now it appears it is the Big East who sits at the bottom of the BCS auto-bid totem-pole. The Big East has a chance tonight to somewhat redeem itself when Kansas comes into Tampa to face South Florida, but if the Bulls lose, what then?
The impressive Tar Heel win will now lead to momentum behind some media picking them to win the Coastal division of the ACC. Right now, they would have to be the favorite considering what Virginia Tech has shown so far. The game was never close once Hakeen Nicks sat wide open in the back of the endzone in the second quarter. The Scarlet Knights showed shaky pass coverage all night, as Brandon Tate caught the highlight of the night on a double move for a 69 yard score. Butch Davis won the "teacher vs. pupil" battle over his former assitant at Miami Greg Schiano. The wood-chopping axe has grown slightly dull in New Brunswick. After losing Ray Rice, the offense looks lost and senior quarterback Mike Teel's errant throws are not helping. Teel was supposed to step up and lead the offense, but his undersized line is not helping and his accuracy has led to incompletions and big mistakes including 66 yard interception return by Bruce Carter of the Heels. The defense did not help the cause much either, yielding a 50 percent third-down conversion, and gave up 378 yards of total offense. Rutgers outgained Carolina by 5 yards overall, but it was the ability of the Tar Heels to finish and convert the big play that lead to the blowout. Some indicated it would be a rebuilding year at Rutgers, that is definitely the case now as they start 0-2.
The ACC probably had nowhere to go but up, but with Wake surviving Ole Miss and Carolina's win, things could be brought back to respectability, well relative respectability. The West Virginia loss at East Carolina was embarassing for the school and the conference. If the supposed best team in a BCS conference gets hammered by a non-BCS conference team, it makes you wonder about the credibility of those automatic bids. Again, South Florida needs to show up tonight against a tough Kansas team. USF barely escaped another Conference USA team in Central Florida which lost in overtime to the Bulls last week 31-24. Obviously teams in conferences change from year to year but isn't this the argument against automatic bids to the BCS?
Conferences are being evaluated top to bottom now and inter-conference battles are now being used as a measuring stick. Why is this important? Because in college football the polls are important, conference repuation is important to the coaches and the media who vote. Even the UCONN (who just got off beating Temple by 3) and Virginia (who just got off beating FCS Richmond by 16) is an important one for conference standing. As Ohio State knows what you do for your conference one year can have effects on where you stand in the future. Since Ohio State and subsequently the Big Ten got drubbed in the past two BCS title games, and USC spanked Illinois in the Rose bowl, voters scrutinize the Big Ten more closely now. If the Buckeyes fail in putting up a good showing tomorrow and then dominate the Big Ten, the polls will be harsh on the entire conference. The Big East does have something the ACC does not have; BCS bowl wins this since 2000. With only eight teams in the conference, the Big East may just want to invite East Carolina over in football right now.