Before we actually look at the schedule, a brief summary of how it will be expertly graded (but if you’ve already read this on a previous installment, please feel free to skip ahead to the schedule so that you don’t get too annoyed with the repetitiveness).
The most common ways to assign a ‘grade’ to something is by using a letter (A+ to F), or on a scale (maybe 1 to 10), or even the simple pass/fail will suffice. However, the non-conference schedule grades for all 10 Big East teams done here at Play for the Garden will be using the STEAK grade. Nope, that’s not an acronym for some fancy advanced calculation. That is steak as in the kind you eat. Why? Because I like steak and can’t think of any reason not to. Anyway, the grading scale looks like this:
Cube steak (weak): low quality piece of meat, but you gotta throw something on the frying pan on Tuesday nights
Filet mignon (getting better): very high quality piece of meat, but just not enough there
Rib eye steak (neutral): More times than none, this is what you’re probably cooking on your backyard grill. Quality piece of meat (if cooked properly), but you know there’s better.
Strip steak: (almost there): Now were talking about a large tender cut of meat with that right amount of fat infused.
T-bone/Porterhouse (strongest): Containing meat from two of the most prized cuts of beef (short loin and the tenderloin), this is the boss of steaks.
Noteworthy games: at Rutgers (Dec. 8), 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic which includes a round 1 against Oklahoma and a round 2 game against either Michigan State or Virginia Tech
Rest of slate: Niagara (Nov. 9), Kent State (Nov. 13), at Mercer (Nov. 16), Monmouth (Nov. 18), Fairleigh Dickinson (Dec. 1), LIU Brooklyn (Dec. 5), NJIT (Dec. 10), St. Peter’s (Dec. 14), Eastern Washington (Dec. 22), Lafayette (Dec. 27)
Steak: Cube steak
Analysis: This is one sad looking non-conference schedule. There is nothing here unless Seton Hall somehow squeaks by Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and gets the opportunity to be pummeled by Michigan State. Besides that possibility, I hope you’re excited for that Fairleigh Dickinson tussle. It should be a doozy.
Big East schedule notes:
Given that the Big East is now a 10-team conference, a true round robin format (each team plays every other member at home and away) will be conducted. There is no question about it, this is the fairest way to determine a regular season champion, but very few conferences have this ability. However, when and where these games are played still matters.
Big East schedule: at Providence (Dec. 31), Creighton (Jan. 4), Villanova (Jan. 8), at Marquette (Jan. 11), at Georgetown (Jan. 18), at St. John’s (Jan. 23), DePaul (Jan. 25), Butler (Jan. 29), at Xavier (Feb. 1), at Villanova (Feb. 7), Marquette (Feb. 11), St. John’s (Feb. 13), Georgetown (Feb. 20), at Creighton (Feb. 23), at DePaul (Feb. 25), Providence (Feb. 28), Xavier (Mar. 3), at Butler (Mar. 8)
The first six games of Big East play for the Pirates are extremely difficult. They will likely start 0-6 before getting potential winnable games at home in DePaul and Butler back-to-back. Then it’s right back into the gauntlet for six more grueling games. Seton Hall should be better than last year, have better injury luck this year and roll through non-conference play because they are playing teams I didn’t even know existed. But a quick dose of reality at the start of conference play could throw this team into a quick downward spiral.