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December 9, 2010
The Big East is sending a four-loss team that has not been ranked all season to the Fiesta Bowl. Its only ranked team, No. 22 West Virginia, is headed to the Champs Sports Bowl.
Six conference teams will try to make some sort of statement during the postseason. At 24-16 (60 percent), the Big East has its worst non-conference win percentage since 2005, a mark that would remain so even if the league sweeps its bowl games.
Still, plenty of Big East players and coaches had reason to celebrate in 2010, led by Connecticut running back Jordan Todman. The Rivals.com Big East offensive MVP, Todman was a workhorse back who ranks second in the nation in rushing for the BCS-bound Huskies. West Virginia nose tackle Chris Neild is our choice for the Big East defensive MVP for anchoring the nation's third-ranked defense. His coach, Jeff Casteel, is the Big East coordinator of the year; he oversees the only defense in the country that did not allow more than 21 points in a game.
Louisville earned two conference honors. First-year coach Charlie Strong is the Rivals.com Big East coach of the year for returning the Cardinals to the postseason for the first time since 2006. Strong safety Hakeem Smith, who led Louisville with 80 tackles, is our Big East freshman of the year pick after playing a key role on a Cardinals defense that finished 12th in the nation in total defense.