Earlier in the week, CBSSports.com resident BCS expert Jerry Palm used a computer formula to rank every team in FBS -- 1 through 124. Using the rankings, Palm also completed a bowl projection for all 35 bowl games in the 2012-2013 season.
While the Big East didn't place a single team in Palm's top 25, the league might be among the most tightly-bunched of the six BCS conferences. The Big East didn't have any teams ranked below No. 100, which isn't the case for other top leagues such as the ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten. For instance, Minnesota (No. 101), Colorado (No. 102), Kansas (No. 106), Boston College (No. 108) and Maryland (No. 110) are all ranked below Syracuse (No. 95) -- the lowest ranked team in the Big East.
Five Big East teams are projected to go bowling, according to Palm's projections. Palm doesn't anticipate that Temple, Connecticut or Syracuse will earn a spot in a bowl game.
Big East Bowl Projections
Louisville (No. 29 overall): Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama, Jan. 2nd
It's a reasonable projection for the Cardinals, the preseason favorite to win the conference. Louisville is rated ahead of North Carolina (No. 29) and Washington (No. 30), but behind Notre Dame (No. 27). A matchup against the Crimson Tide in New Orleans could bolster the program's recruiting significantly. The Cardinals would face an Alabama rushing attack that features power runner Eddie Lacy and several potential NFL linemen. Louisville returns six starters from a run defense that ranked third in the Big East last season.
South Florida (No. 35 overall): Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Clemson, Dec. 28
The Bulls are ranked ahead of Northwestern (No. 41) and Georgia Tech (No. 42), but behind Central Florida (No. 32) and Louisiana-Lafayette (No. 34). USF could creep into the top 25 with a win over Rutgers on Sept. 13 and certainly will be ranked if they upset Florida State 16 days later. A bowl matchup against the Tigers could produce fireworks. Cornerback Kayvon Webster would receive a chance to showcase his press-coverage skills against Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. West Virginia hung 70 on Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl. A Big East team will try to exploit the Tigers' secondary in the postseason for the second straight year.
Rutgers (No. 49 overall): Belk Bowl vs. Virginia, Dec. 27
The Scarlet Knights may feel slighted by the rankings, which places them behind Northern Illinois (No. 44) and Southern Mississippi (No. 48). Palm did rank Rutgers ahead of the Cavaliers (No. 52) -- their projected bowl opponent. Rutgers could face a three-headed Virginia rushing attack that may rank among the best in the ACC. It also might be tough for the Scarlet Knights to establish pressure against a Virginia offensive line allowed 16 sacks in 2011. The Cavaliers return three starters on the line. Rutgers, however, might have one of the most stifling defenses in school history.
Pittsburgh (No. 56 overall): Pinstripe Bowl vs. Kansas State, Dec. 29
With a new coaching staff and questions on the defensive line, the Panthers ranking at No. 56 overall is reasonable. Pitt is ranked ahead of Cincinnati (No. 58) and above SEC newcomers Missouri (No. 63) and Texas A&M (No. 64). If the Panthers face the Wildcats in the Bronx, the defensive line could be in for a test. Kansas State is led by a quarterback in Collin Klein, who accounted for 40 touchdowns in 2011. Klein is arguably one of the most underrated players in FBS.
Cincinnati (No. 58 overall): BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Auburn, Jan. 5
The Bearcats have question marks at quarterback and running back with the departure of Zach Collaros and Isaiah Pead, but have talent at wide receiver and throughout the defense. If Cincinnati faces Auburn, it would be the third straight year that the Bearcats would face an SEC team in the postseason. Cincinnati is 1-1 with a win over Vanderbilt and a defeat against Florida.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski @CBSBigEast