The time you have waited for is now. Here are your final 2012 Big East power rankings. May this iteration of the league rest in peace.
1. Louisville (11-2, 5-2). The Cardinals delivered the definitive statement victory for the Big East in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, downing No. 3 Florida 33-23. It was not only their biggest win of the season, it was the biggest win for the Big East on the season. That makes Louisville the hands-down No. 1 team in the Big East.
2. Cincinnati (10-3, 5-2). I nearly ranked Syracuse in the No. 2 spot given the way the Orange finished the season -- as one of the hottest teams in the Big East. But Cincinnati did win the head-to-head meeting and won 10 games for the fifth time in six seasons. Another impressive season for the Bearcats.
3. Syracuse (8-5, 5-2). The Orange won six of their final seven games on the year and ended the season playing as well as any team out there. Major credit to coach Doug Marrone for winning a share of the Big East in what ended up being his final season. The win over West Virginia in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl was as dominating a victory as any team had during bowl season.
4. Rutgers (9-4, 5-2). Rutgers may have won the head-to-head meeting against the Orange, but this is a vastly different team today than it was in October. The Scarlet Knights ended the season on a three-game losing streak and blew their shot at making a first BCS game. I don't think there is a Big East team that disappointed more during bowl season.
5. Pitt (6-7, 3-4). The Panthers ended up losing their bowl game against Ole Miss with Ray Graham on the sideline, and that performance was par for the course all year. Good Pitt/Bad Pitt became one of the most head-scratching teams in the league this year.
6. UConn (5-7, 2-5). The Huskies pulled off one of the biggest surprises in the Big East this year when they beat Louisville. But they also lost to Temple and USF. If this group had played just a smidge better on offense, it would have probably been a bowl team. Defense did more than enough to get the Huskies into the postseason.
7. Temple (4-7, 2-5). The Owls did beat UConn and USF this year, but they also finished with five straight losses in Big East play after jumping to a 2-0 start. Still, they were not the worst team in the league, which is saying something for a team that just finished Year 1 in the Big East.
8. USF (3-9, 1-6). It is pretty clear that Louisville belongs at the top of this list and that USF belongs at the bottom. The Bulls hit rock bottom with their worst season as an FBS team. Only one Big East win this year, to 5-7 UConn at home. Safe to say you will not see USF near the top of the way-too-early 2013 power rankings, coming out later.