CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Big East has endured 18 football coaching changes since 2005. Every school except Rutgers has made a move since December 2008.
Yet, with all of the necessary introductions, it's somewhat surprising that so many of these sideline swamis seem to be on the same page ... but it's not from the chapter the Big East needs.
I was re-checking some of the video the other day from the conference's preseason media gathering in Rhode Island. Almost to a man, the coaches - new West Virginia boss Dana Holgorsen included - preached the same subject.
They talked about how the Big East is the most competitive major college conference. They used words like "balanced" and "unpredictable" and "challenging" and "wide open."
The dean among these guys - 10-year man Greg Schiano of sagging Rutgers - borrowed from the late NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle's quote, going with "on any given Saturday" in a reference to parity.
OK, maybe Schiano forgot the Big East also plays on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but you get the point.
However, considering the Big East's profile - already regarded at the bottom of the six BCS leagues and coming off its worst season in a 20-year gridiron history - that parity is parody to pundits.
The national perception of Big East football is a 180 from its basketball.
The Mountaineers, picked to win the league by 21 of 24 media members who cover the Big East, really need to make a statement this season, and not just for the sake of Holgorsen and the big-changes athletic director who ushered a rookie head coach into the job, Oliver Luck.
The Big East needs WVU to play large in 2011. If not the Mountaineers, then a Pitt or South Florida. Someone ... anyone?
(And if WVU does get back to double-digit wins, the sidebar is that it makes the Mountaineers just a smidgen more attractive to some of those other leagues that might be seeking expansion, doesn't it?)
The Big East really doesn't need another season in the ICU until TCU arrives in 2012.
In the last five seasons, the Big East has had five of its eight programs win or share a conference title. It has also had USF climb to as high as No. 2 in the polls in that span. It has had Syracuse starting to bounce back to respectability.
However, the Big East has been ebbing since the first of those aforementioned five seasons (2006), when Louisville, WVU and Rutgers all won at least 11 games and finished in the top 12 of the AP poll.
To put it another way, Cincinnati went 11-3 and 12-1 in 2008 and '09 as a Big East champion, yet the Bearcats managed more than seven wins in a season only once (8 in 1997) as a Conference USA member from 1996-2004.
The 2011 AP preseason poll will be revealed Saturday. If any Big East team cracks the Top 25, it will be West Virginia, and the Mountaineers will be near the bottom of that poll. No Big East team made the USA Today coaches' poll earlier this month (WVU missed by 12 points, ranked 27th).