It wasn't the best Big East season in memory by any measure, but there were still a lot of memorable events in 2010. Here are my top 10 moments from the season:
Teggart's toe lifts Huskies: One of the very last plays of the 2010 regular season registered as the most exciting. Connecticut's Dave Teggart drilled a 52-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to give his team a 19-16 win at South Florida and send the Huskies into a BCS game for the first time. It's a kick that will be relived and remembered in and around Storrs for a long time.
Eric LeGrand: The spinal injury to the Rutgers' defensive tackle engulfed the Scarlet Knights' season and in many ways cast a shadow over the entire year in the Big East. I choose to remember it not for the injury itself, but for the amazing generosity of spirit that many showed and continue to show in support of LeGrand. And for the incredible optimism that LeGrand himself still has. (If you haven't watched Tom Rinaldi's interview with LeGrand yet, what are you waiting for?) We can only hope for an even greater moment ahead as LeGrand continues his recovery efforts.
Texas heads East: The biggest news in the Big East this season happened not on the field but in the board room, as the league joined forces with TCU. The Horned Frogs would go on to finish No. 2 nationally and win the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO. The conference made a splash by looking outside its geographic footprint, and 2012 can't come soon enough.
Coaching chaos: The Big East coaching carousel this offseason should have been accompanied by the demented carnival music that scores "Curb Your Enthusiasm." What a wild, weird time it was. There was Bill Stewart publicly campaigning to keep his job after he had already privately signed it away, while helping court his own successor in the process. There was Pitt firing Dave Wannstedt, hiring Mike Haywood only to see him get arrested a little more than two weeks later and earning his own pink slip. Wannstedt wouldn't announce until the Monday before the BBVA Compass Bowl that he wasn't coaching the game. Finally, the Panthers hired Todd Graham in what looks like a pretty good do-over. And of course there was Randy Edsall deserting his UConn players on the way home from the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and heading to his "dream job" at Maryland. It all seemed like a bad dream.
Rise of the Orange: I can't decide which Syracuse moment was the most memorable. There were many candidates, from the win at South Florida to the upset victory in Morgantown to the blowout of Cincinnati to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl thriller. For me, just the fact that the Orange generated so many big wins and memorable moments is what will stick out in my mind down the road.
Strong statement: In back-to-back weeks, Louisville coach Charlie Strong decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 39 at Syracuse (leading to a victory) and on fourth down in the first possession of overtime against South Florida (leading to defeat). It was part of the message Strong sent to his team: We're not backing down from anybody. Strong infused confidence and bravado into the Cardinals, who exceeded expectations with a seven-win season capped by the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl win.
Edsall's gamble: Speaking of fourth-down gambles, Connecticut's Edsall -- normally about as radical as argyle socks -- went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 19 late in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh. The ploy worked, and the Huskies went on to beat the Panthers 30-28 to shake up the Big East race.
Backyard Blowout: Pitt still had a chance to win the league, but West Virginia came into Heinz Field and owned the place with a 35-10 beatdown. That was the last straw for Wannstedt and the last real high point for Stewart, whose team would watch helplessly as UConn won out to take the BCS bid.
Bulls on parade: Beating Miami doesn't hold the cachet it once did. Still, South Florida notched the league's best nonconference victory when it knocked off the Hurricanes in overtime on the road Nov. 27. The fact that the Bulls did it behind freshman walk-on quarterback Bobby Eveld made it even more impressive. Skip Holtz got his first signature victory, and USF could tick off another milestone triumph against an in-state power.
Mascot mayhem: In Cincinnati's final game, the Bearcat mascot was arrested and escorted out of Nippert Stadium for throwing snowballs and ignoring police orders to stop. Video of the mascot being handcuffed quickly went viral. Such furry foolishness underscored what type of season it was for the 4-8 Bearcats and seemed like a good way to cap what was an odd year in the Big East.