Looking at the early Big East bowl picture

The full list of bowls and times is out, so let's do a little way-too-early prognosticating for the Big East postseason, shall we?

Since it's only May, it's too soon to try and start slotting specific teams in specific bowls. So let's look instead at which teams have the best and most realistic shots at playing beyond the regular season:

Count on it

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won 23 games the last two seasons, and even with the coaching change to Butch Jones and a tough nonconference schedule, they're not going to fall back too much.

Pittsburgh: Despite nonleague games against Utah, Miami and Notre Dame, this team has tons of talent and will make a third straight bowl game under Dave Wannstedt.

West Virginia: Mountaineers' fans may feel like the program has slipped a bit of late, but most places would love to have back-to-back nine-win campaigns. With a slew of returning starters, West Virginia could easily surpass that total this year.

Connecticut: It wasn't long ago when the Huskies were considered far from an annual bowl lock. The program is in excellent shape now, though, and has loads of experience and ability that should equate to another postseason trip in 2010.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights may be young with a shaky (at this point) offensive line. But with a schedule that includes games against Army, Norfolk State, Florida International and Tulane, it's exceedingly difficult to imagine Rutgers not getting to at least six wins.

Most likely

South Florida: The Bulls have become an yearly postseason participant and have the athletes to do big things this year for first-year coach Skip Holtz. The only concern would be an injury to quarterback B.J. Daniels, which could cause problems along with a schedule that includes games at Florida and at Miami.

Outside shot

Syracuse: The Orange have one of their most manageable schedules in recent years and should make progress in the second year under coach Doug Marrone. With two FCS schools on the schedule, however, Syracuse will have to shoot for at least seven wins or hope not enough teams finish 6-6 this year to fill all 70 NCAA bowl slots.

Wait 'til next year

Louisville: First-year head coach Charlie Strong will have to turn in perhaps his best work to mold this rebuilding roster into a bowl team. Tricky games against Kentucky, Oregon State and Memphis don't offer a cakewalk to six wins.