| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Big East title, BCS bowl still in cards for WVU

College Football Videos

By Josh Sickles
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With a win and some help, West Virginia can claim the Big East title — and a BCS berth.

The first step for the No. 22 Mountaineers is to win Thursday at South Florida to claim a share of the conference championship.

"This game is what this team is going to be remembered for," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "You can take the rest of the games, and you can delete them."

Who will claim the Big East's automatic BCS berth is more complicated: West Virginia, Cincinnati and Louisville remain alive, but none controls its destiny.

Louisville (7-5, 5-2) has earned at least a share of the Big East title. If Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2) loses Saturday vs. Connecticut, the Cardinals are headed to a BCS game -- likely facing the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl, which is last in the BCS pecking order this season.

Cincinnati needs West Virginia to lose Thursday and to beat Connecticut on Saturday to get the BCS berth; it holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with Louisville.

West Virginia (8-3, 4-2) needs a little more help because its 38-35 loss to Louisville on Nov. 5 would cost it the head-to-head tiebreaker. To earn the BCS berth, the Mountaineers must beat South Florida, then Cincinnati must beat Connecticut to force a three-way tie atop the conference.

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head among the three teams, and each would be 1-1. The BCS standings would be next; the Mountaineers, at No. 23 this week, would hold the advantage there barring major changes.

Even without a BCS berth, West Virginia would be happy with a share of the Big East title, which was its goal at the start of the season.

"There still will be a trophy coming in here, a number on the weight room saying 'Big East Champions 2011,' " defensive tackle Julian Miller said. "I think that's the main focus coming into this game. This is our conference championship."

Holgorsen has been adamant about his team remaining focused on what it can control, but that will change this weekend. After Thursday, West Virginia can't do anything but hope Cincinnati wins and pray the BCS standings remain unchanged.

"I'm sure everybody's going to be glued to the TV set if we're able to get a victory Thursday," Holgorsen said. "But if we can't take care of business and get the victory Thursday night, it really doesn't matter what happens Saturday."

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
  2. Overnight snowfall plagues public transportation, schools, commuters
  3. Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
  4. Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.
  5. Ice jam wipes out McKeesport’s marina
  6. Springdale Twp. police car crashes into veterinary clinic
  7. 14 more arrested in connection with drug trafficking ring
  8. Crosby, Malkin chase scoring title amid defense-minded league
  9. 11 Ligonier Township residents rescued by boat from floodwaters
  10. Sestak kicks off U.S. Senate campaign — with a couple missteps
  11. Dermatologist led UPMC residency program