Halloween in the Big East

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

I have to admit, I love Halloween.

In fact, it may be my favorite holiday. I love the fact that it's not about anything other than eating candy, dressing up in costumes and embracing you fears of things that go bump in the night. And the fact that it comes at a great time in the sports calendar doesn't hurt either.

So, to celebrate this year, here's a list of some Halloween-related items that can be applied to the 2009 Big East season.

Trick-or-Treat -- The trickiest games left for No. 8 Cincinnati's national title hopes: next week at home against UConn, Nov. 13 against West Virginia and Dec. 5 at Pitt. The treats: at Syracuse this week, vs. Illinois on Nov. 28.

Monster Mash -- The hit of the Big East season? Offense. Four teams are averaging at least 30 points. Noel Devine and Dion Lewis are among the nation's top five rushers, while Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman have formed a dynamic duo. Tony Pike and Bill Stull have been among the most efficient passers. Mardy Gilyard, Mike Williams and Jonathan Baldwin have been frightfully good at receiver. There's nothing scary about watching Big East games this season.

Boo (Boo) -- South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe's season-ending knee injury has been the most disappointing boo-boo this season, as he didn't have a chance to cap his terrific career with an enjoyable senior campaign.

Nightmare on Floyd Street -- This could be the title of the 2009 Louisville football program. From BCS participant in January 2007 to a team that has lost eight straight Big East games, with little hope of a turnaround in sight. A loss to Arkansas State on Saturday would be the final nail in the coffin for Steve Kragthorpe.

Black Cat -- While Notre Dame has actually helped the Big East much more than hurt it, this year could be different. The Irish could take the league's spot in the Gator Bowl, meaning the conference's No. 2 team -- even if it has 10 or 11 wins -- could fall all the way to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.

Graveyard -- Every team but Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and West Virginia has already said goodbye to its BCS hopes this season.

Jack-o-lantern -- South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels had a tough task in replacing Grothe. He was excellent early on but has seemingly hit a wall in his development. The light needs to go on for the redshirt freshman if the Bulls are going to make any more noise in the Big East or have a chance against Miami.

Scary Movie -- Rutgers' opening 47-15 loss to Cincinnati at home is a film that Scarlet Knights fans would like to see burned and dragged off to hell.

Haunted House -- Nippert Stadium only seats 35,000 or so, but Cincinnati has the longest home-field winning streak in the Big East, dating back to 2007. Maybe it's because they play the theme from "Halloween" there that intimidates opponent. More likely, it's the Bearcats' talent.

Costumes -- Finally, here are some suggested costumes this year for Big East personalities:

  • South Florida: Pumpkins. What do the Bulls and pumpkins have in common? Both cause a lot of excitement when they first appear in the fall. Then they both get carved up by October.

  • Steve Kragthorpe: Zombie. He'd better hope his career can come back from the dead.

  • Tony Pike: Mummy. The Cincinnati quarterback is used to having his left arm wrapped up; he just needs a little more casting to complete the outfit.

  • Bill Stewart: Abe Lincoln. The West Virginia coach is an avid history buff, and he's the great orator among Big East coaches.

  • Greg Paulus: Orange devil. To commemorate his career at both Duke and Syracuse.

  • Brian Kelly: Dr. Frankenstein. Because he's a mad scientist who always stitches together random parts to make a monster.