2011's preseason college football rankings were not kind to the Big East: the preseason USA Today poll is devoid of any representatives from the conference for the second time in three years.
The Big East has struggled to keep up with its BCS brethren in recent years. Since West Virginia's peak in the mid-to-late 2000s, the conference has been ruled by a revolving door of good-to-very good teams, but no national championship contenders, and 2010 Big East champion Connecticut's shellacking at the hands of preseason No. 1 Oklahoma in last year's Fiesta Bowl likely didn't do the conference's reputation any favors.
No Big East team was ranked in the top 25 of the 2009 USA Today preseason poll. Cincinnati, the highest-ranked of Big East teams receiving votes in 2009, proceeded to click off an unbeaten regular season en route to a Sugar Bowl stomping at the hands of Tim Tebow's Florida Gators.
Big East Coast Bias notes that West Virginia was at least close to the 2011 preseason top 25, coming in second in the "also receiving votes" section behind Arizona State. South Florida and Pittsburgh were also among unranked teams receiving votes.