Big East tops garbage pile that is college football in 2010

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist
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God bless Dave Wannstedt. The man is bold. The man has faith. The man may be utterly delusional but dammit this is his story about Big East football and he's sticking to it.

"I would ask everyone, let's wait and see where things are in two months," Wannstedt said in defending his putrid conference. Then he admitted: "It has been a slow start."

Anyone watching college football this year probably has this Dave Wannstedt-like grimace on his or her face. (AP)  
Anyone watching college football this year probably has this Dave Wannstedt-like grimace on his or her face. (AP)  
Shakespeare in the Park is a slow start. The Big East is Chernobyl. The league's reputation is at its lowest point in some time. Almost half of its 19 non-conference victories have come against what we used to call Division I-AA teams. Some of the losses have been utterly mind-boggling. Cincinnati lost to Fresno State, Connecticut to Temple and Rutgers to Tulane.

What's the difference between the Big East and a smoldering pile of radioactive debris? A smoldering pile of radioactive debris could beat Tulane.

Get ready for that Yankees Pinstripe Bowl, Rutgers.

The conference is symbolic of college football this season. Northwestern is the No. 25 team in coaches poll. That says a great deal about how bad this year of college football has gone thus far.

There's plenty more. Texas and Penn State are unranked (the Longhorns for the first time in 10 years) while somehow Nevada is. USC is unranked as well. The ACC was supposed to be better. It isn't. The Big 12 was a benchmark just a short time ago. It's not now. Go play intramurals, brother.

And please, as a counter to my overall argument, don't throw Denard Tebow in my face. The guy is fascinating, but he's one guy. He alone can't save this miserable season. Neither can an impressive Alabama group.

These things are cyclical, but it's been many years since college football was this nearly unwatchable.

The explanation why isn't a simple one. It's a complex set of variables and some of this is cyclical, to be certain. Yet if there were a possible core reason for the poor play this year it's due to the head coaching talent in college becoming strangely like coaching in the NFL -- top heavy.

The NFL has about four or five highly talented head coaches and the remainder of the league is populated by average ones. It's beginning to look that way in college football. The great ones like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are in high orbit while the Miles' of the world get by on their charm and good looks.

This doesn't mean a Saban or Meyer can ever lose. They do and will. It means the chances of them making all-time horrible coaching moves are slim because they're so good. Just can't see Saban pulling a Miles. Ever.

There has to be something happening in the sport to account for this crazy season besides simple coincidence. Even the rivalry games mean little this year because the quality of teams has severely dipped. Texas-Oklahoma had nothing at stake because both were bad. Ditto for Florida State--Miami this coming weekend and Florida-Georgia later.

And, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Les Miles.

That monstrosity of a coaching job by Derek Dooley in the LSU-Tennessee game was actually outdone by Miles. That matchup was like watching Ray Handley versus Rich Kotite.

The big game of the opening week -- Virginia Tech and Boise State -- was supposed to be some sort of benchmark for Boise. Then Virginia Tech lost the following week at home to James Madison. Benchmark erased.

Maybe the season will get more interesting as Denard Tebow and Alabama keep cruising. Boise is an interesting story but we won't know how interesting unless they play a school like Alabama for a national title.

In the meantime we will all be mesmerized by the loveliness that is the Big East.

"I still think this is a good football conference and a good league," said South Florida's Skip Holtz.

By good does he mean bad?

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