NEWPORT, R.I. (CBSMiami) – The Louisville Cardinals are the overwhelming favorite to take the Big East title this year. The Cardinals received 24 of 28 first-place votes at the conference’s media days gathering in Rhode Island.

The Big East has nearly collapsed several times in recent years and has suffered ever since the BCS was created from poor play among its team. It will lose Pittsburgh and Syracuse next season but will rebuild with a plethora of teams including Boise State.

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In the 2012 season, South Florida was picked second and followed by Rutgers, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Temple.

Louisville returns 17 starters from last year’s team that went 7-6, but also lost to then-Sun Belt Conference member Florida International.

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Also in Big East news, after ESPN committed $80 million annually through 2026 for the broadcasting rights of both the Rose Bowl and the new Champions Bowl between the Big 12 and the SEC; the Big East is looking to set up its own version of the Champions Bowl.

Currently, the Big East is without a contractual tie-in to a major bowl. Unless the Big East can secure a major bowl tie-in, which is similar to the automatic qualifier in the outgoing BCS; it could be left out in the cold in the power struggle going on for playoff positioning starting in 2014.

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