BCS bid scenarios for the Big East title contenders

Louisville earned a share of the Big East title with their win over Rutgers, and will likely earn the BCS bid. (US Presswire)

With a seven-game schedule and no conference championship game, the Big East frequently finishes the regular season with a tie for the league title. But only one team can earn the conference's automatic bid to the BCS, so the Big East tiebreaker rules have become annual reading material this time of year.

Below we break down the different scenarios for four different teams still in the hunt for the league title. The simplest road is for Rutgers, which faces Louisville on Thursday with a chance to clinch its first outright Big East title in program history.

For Rutgers to earn the BCS bid:
Rutgers has already clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title, something that coach Kyle Flood has stressed is already a big deal for the program. Unfortunately that is likely where the party ends, after the Scarlet Knights suffered a 20-17 loss at home to Louisville.

: After the loss to Louisville, Rutgers would need some miracle from the computers or voters to jump the Cardinals in the BCS standings.
For Louisville to earn the BCS bid:
Louisville set itself back in heartbreaking fashion with the triple-overtime loss to Connecticut. A win would have guaranteed Louisville at least a share of the past two Big East titles, but the Cardinals were able to remedy that with a 20-17 win on Thursday.

: The victory at Rutgers on Thursday night forces a tie for the Big East title at 5-2. In the case of three- or four-team ties, the winner is the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings. The assumption is that the win over Rutgers will boost Louisville's stock enough to be that team and earn the BCS bid. 
For Syracuse to earn the BCS bid:
Syracuse has already done its  part, finishing the regular season with a 5-2 conference record. The Orange become Louisville fans Thursday night, hoping the Cardinals force a tie at the top of the standings.

: Louisville's victory forced the tie at 5-2, and Syracuse clinched a share of their first Big East title since 2004.  You may argue that the Orange backed into the banner, but a miracle from the computers or pollsters still could put them in a BCS bowl.  In all reality, however, the Cardinals will earn that bid with a higher finish in the standings.  Tip of the hat to Doug Marrone's squad, which was picked to finish No. 7 in the preseason poll.
For Cincinnati to earn the BCS bid:

The Bearcats still need to beat Connecticut in their regular-season finale on Saturday to finish with five conference wins and force a four-way tie for first place.

: Cincinnati's best case scenario is to win a share of the Big East title with a win over Connecticut.  The four-way tie results in a "mini-conference" of sorts, and Cincinnati's losses to both Rutgers and Louisville would put them near the bottom of those "mini-standings."  

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories