Andrea Adelson: Now that there is a new Big East blogger in town, inquiring fans have asked for yet another debate about which conference is better, the Big East or ACC.
Will it be a debate or perhaps something else? WVU Wonka wrote into the Big East mailbag:
Thinking back on when Brian Bennett was covering the BE, he and Heather Dinnich got in to quite a few heated debates as to who was the better conference. I was just wondering when we are going to get our first good catfight between you two regarding this topic. I would also like to know who you think has had the better conference between the two since 2000.
AA: Paws up! Hear me meow. Or something. Are you ready for the fur to fly, Heather?
HD: Well, AA, I'm hoping you put up a little bit more of a fight than your predecessor. He loved the Big East so much he bolted for the Big Ten. Look, as much as I would love for the ACC to be the best at something -- anything, really -- the Big East wins the award for worst BCS conference. The last time these two conferences met up for anything that mattered -- in the 2008 Orange Bowl --Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati. Head-to-head competition is the best measure of success, and last year, the ACC beat the Big East 5-3. It's too bad for the Big East that TCU doesn't join until 2012, because without the Frogs, I'm not sure your conference will have a presence in the top 25 this year. (I don't know about West Virginia after that crazy coaching change). The ACC, on the other hand, could have a national title contender in Florida State. Didn't you get the memo? The Noles are back.
AA: The best you can do for a comeback is mention 2008? Did you not watch USF first beat Miami -- a game that led to Randy Shannon getting canned hours later -- and then handle Clemson in the bowl game? The same USF team that beat Florida State in 2009, but I do not want to dip too far back into the history books. This is a new league, my friend, and the dawn of a new era. Clearly you did not get the memo about Dana Holgorsen. Forget about that drama and look at what the man has done in previous stops at Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Houston. Heard of Case Keenum and Brandon Weeden? He made those players, and he is about to push Geno Smith into the national spotlight. The Mountaineers will absolutely be ranked in the preseason. Take a look around the rest of the league -- the Big East quite possibly has the best set of up-and-coming coaches in the country. You have Holgorsen, Pitt coach Todd Graham, Louisville coach Charlie Strong, USF coach Skip Holtz and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone. As for Florida State, the last time the Seminoles were relevant was ... ummm ... I live in Florida and I already forgot.
HD: I see the gloves must come off. The ACC is 9-6 against the Big East over the past two seasons and the ACC's two best teams -- Florida State and Virginia Tech -- didn't even factor in to that record. That up-and-coming Syracuse team you mentioned? BC beat them last year with a backfield and receiving corps filled with freshmen. The ACC had four teams in the top 25 at the end of last season. The Big East? Nada. In this year's NFL draft, the ACC had 15 of the top 60 players drafted. The Big East had two. And you know all of those watch lists that came out this month? The ACC was second among all conferences -- behind only the SEC -- with 124. The Big East? Wait for it ... EIGHTH among all conferences with 57. Look, I'm a compassionate person, really I am. I'm starting to feel bad for you. So how about we spin it forward? There are going to be plenty of good ACC-Big East matchups this fall. West Virginia, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Rutgers, South Florida ... They're all in the Big East, right? How do you think they'll fare against the ACC in 2011? Can the Big East come out on the winning end this year?
AA: I will predict right now that the Big East will end up with a winning record over the ACC in their games this season. Cincinnati is going to be much improved, and Rutgers should be as well. As I mentioned before, USF, Syracuse and Louisville are all on the rise with solid head coaches and good foundations returning. There are no doormats in this league, unlike the ACC. No gimme wins in this league. Everybody is a contender. Call it what you want, but top to bottom, the Big East could be the most competitive league in America.
HD: Ah, the "most competitive" argument. I'm familiar with that one, my friend -- I've used it plenty of times myself. "The ACC might not have a legitimate national title contender this year, but it's one of the most competitive conferences in the country." You're right, there are no gimme wins -- not when the ACC somehow manages to find a way to lose to FCS programs. Maryland will have a tough time with West Virginia. Wake Forest will struggle at Syracuse. But Miami is going to be mad at South Florida. North Carolina will beat Rutgers AND Louisville up front. And NC State quarterback Mike Glennon will pick apart that Cincinnati secondary you thought so highly of in your position rankings. Overall, I say the ACC goes 5-1 against the Big East this year, 4-2 at worst. But you started this thing, so I'll let you finish it off.
AA: I think you and the rest of the nation will be in for a surprise with what the Big East does this season. But rather than fight about which conference is better or worse, perhaps we should consider this -- is there any way the leagues can team up to take down the "mighty" SEC? Because if I am not mistaken, that league is the one that both the ACC and Big East have got to aim for this season.