We know the Big East didn't fare so well against nonconference competition in 2010, especially versus BCS AQ teams.
In fact, the numbers are fairly gruesome when you compare the league's record in those games against other BCS leagues. Here's how that shakes down:
Big 12: 11-9
Big Ten: 8-8
Big East: 6-13
If you add in Notre Dame, which is like a BCS team, the Big East went 6-14. Three of those six wins came in the postseason. Here's how the league fared against some of the top conferences individually this year:
vs. ACC: 3-5
vs. Big 12: 1-2
vs. Big Ten: 0-1
vs. Pac-10: 0-2
vs. SEC: 2-3
vs. Mountain West: 1-1
vs. WAC: 0-1
That's bad any way you slice it (even the two wins over the SEC came against Kentucky and Vanderbilt, not exactly the heavyweights from that league).
Overall, the Big East went 28-18 versus nonconference opponents (that includes cupcakes and FCS opponents) for a .600 winning percentage. That was the worst nonconference winning percentage by the conference since 2005, when the league was 20-16 (.556) in its first year under the current alignment.
So, yeah, 2010 was the very definition of a down year. But don't let that color your judgment, or let Big East-hating friends make the argument, that the league can't compete at the highest levels. Here is the Big East's recent record against nonconference BCS opponents (and Notre Dame):
Obviously, 2006 was a banner year -- West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers went a combined 10-0 against BCS nonconference opponents. The league has held its own for the most part in recent years, with 2010 looking like an exception rather than the rule.