As the Big East enters the halfway point of conference play, fans are beginning to forget the catastrophe that was the conference’s performance against out-of-conference teams. Now every team is seemingly beating up on each other in a conference race that still has a long way to go. Pitt is the odds-on favorite to get to the BCS bowl game. After that, Syracuse and West Virginia appear to be battling for a trip to Orlando, Fla. And the teams in the middle of the Big East pack are hoping Notre Dame doesn’t get to seven wins so they all can ultimately go bowling. Here is an early look from The Daily Orange into how it will shake down come the holidays:AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Jan. 1: Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz.: Pittsburgh — Big East Champion Who would have thought before the season began that the game at the Carrier Dome between Syracuse and Pittsburgh would be the pseudo-Big East championship game? With the home game for West Virginia in this year’s edition of the Backyard Brawl, the Panthers will cruise into a slot in a BCS game. The most likely destination for a team that will be ranked between No. 15 and No. 20: Fiesta over Orange. Dec. 28: Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando, Fla.: Syracuse — No. 2 Big East Syracuse won’t win out. But even if the Orange does, it will not be enough for a BCS game. Pitt won’t lose two games. West Virginia has a much tougher Big East schedule the rest of the way than the Orange. With just one WVU loss, SU should feel comfortable that they will get to Orlando, even if there is a long way to go. Dec. 31: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Charlotte, N.C.: West Virginia — No. 3 Big East It’s an uphill battle for the Mountaineers back to a BCS bowl. The good news is they can still defeat Pitt and have a legitimate shot to get there. The bad news is that game is at Heinz Field. The even worse news is that if Notre Dame gets to seven wins, WVU will have to settle for the Big East’s fourth bowl, which would be a supreme failure. Dec. 30: Pinstripe Bowl, New York City: Rutgers — No. 4 Big East It seems like every year Rutgers somehow slips into a solid bowl game after a dull season, making a trip to a bowl that is much more worthy than the team itself. For some reason, I think it’s going to happen again this year. And it will be the ideal situation for Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, as the Scarlet Knights will be slotted to stay home at Yankee Stadium, thanks to a tie with the other two 6-6 Big East teams. Dec. 21: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, St. Petersburg, Fla.: South Florida — No. 5 Big East Speaking of staying home, if USF, Rutgers and Louisville all beat up on each other in the middle pack of the Big East, USF won’t have to travel anywhere. Skip Holtz will be content with that in his first year. Jan. 8: Birmingham Bowl, Birmingham, Ala.: Louisville — No. 6 Big East As the least appealing team in the New York City and Tampa markets, Louisville will stay down south. The main team Charlie Strong should be worried about for a bowl bid is Utah. If the Utes slip up versus Notre Dame, UL will be the team left out of the selection process, thanks to the two hometown hosts for Rutgers and USF, as Notre Dame needs seven wins to steal one of conference’s bowl slots. firstname.lastname@example.org Jan. 1: Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz.: Pittsburgh — Big East Champion The Backyard Brawl will likely determine the winner of the Big East, and I see Pitt defeating West Virginia in Pittsburgh. Even if Pitt loses to any conference team not named WVU, it appears it will still claim the top spot in the conference. Two losses in-conference and the league is suddenly wide open. Dec. 28: Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando, Fla.: Syracuse — No. 2 Big East If Syracuse wins out, this would be a worst-case scenario. Doug Marrone referred to a bowl talk as a ‘four-letter word,’ but I’m guessing SU’s place in the Big East standings is something that plays on his mind. A loss this weekend would obviously be a hit but not necessarily a major setback. Dec. 31: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Charlotte, N.C.: West Virginia — No. 3 Big East West Virginia may still finish No. 1 or No. 2 in the conference, despite a loss last weekend. WVU needs to win out and hope SU falls at least one more time to claim the top spot. But the thinking here is that the Mountaineers will lose at least one more game and finish No. 3 in the conference. Dec. 30: Pinstripe Bowl, New York City: South Florida — No. 4 Big East Though SU fans might like to see the Orange in the first ever bowl hosted at the new Yankee Stadium, finishing No. 4 would obviously be a step back from its current ranking. Still, can you imagine all the Syracuse support at that potential game? I see USF landing here, especially after taking down Cincy. Dec. 21: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, St. Petersburg, Fla.: Cincinnati — No. 5 Big East Just one year removed from running the table in the Big East, Cincinnati has had much different results this year. Quarterback Zach Collaros might be out this weekend and beyond, which doesn’t bode well for a team that has struggled even with him in the lineup. Jan. 8: Birmingham Bowl, Birmingham, Ala.: Rutgers — No. 6 Big East Grabbing the final spot is the Scarlet Knights, which has been up and down this season. Connecticut and Louisville both have a legitimate chance of becoming bowl-eligible but have not played nearly consistent enough to finish any higher than No. 6. email@example.com REBUTTAL: Andrew L. John Goin’ Hog wild Comments BLOG POST: Tony Olivero Purify the colors Published on October 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+
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Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram “First and foremost it’s about your electorate, that’s who put you here.”Snatching what was the safe Labor seat of Barton at the election, Liberal MP Nickolas Varvaris is the most recent Greek Australian recruit to federal parliament. Not that he is unfamiliar with high public office. Twice mayor of Kogarah City Council in south Sydney, Nick Varvaris knows a thing or two about the workings of government and meeting the needs of a diverse electorate. But being a member of the Australian Parliament’s House of Representatives is a different matter, says the former accountant and company director. “There’s a lot to learn, I’ve had a lot of experience in local government but this is a different kettle of fish altogether. “There’s a steep learning curve,” admits Mr Varvaris, who a month after induction, is like all novice MPs, still getting his head around the myriad of rules governing life at Parliament House. The prime minister’s welcome to Liberal backbenchers wasn’t something that was ever going to be lost on the new member for Barton. “His focus was to get settled in,” says Nickolas, “work out what areas you want to contribute in, and more importantly, his emphasis was ‘though you’re stuck in Canberra – never lose sight of the fact that you’re there to represent your community, that should always be the priority’.” A motivation to help “create stability”, says the former mayor, is the reason he ran for Australia’s 44th Parliament, after the growing uncertainty of Labor’s minority government reign. “I saw the impact the last government was having – families were struggling, small business was struggling, and to me governments are there to help not to hinder.” One of his immediate agenda items, he says, is to bring his new found influence to bear on environmental issues in south Sydney, particularly in relation to water quality. Under Varvaris’ mayorship, Kogarah won a sideboard-full of prestigious international awards for its pioneering approach to environmental sustainability. He’s keen to apply the lessons learned in his new role. “In my seat the water is an important part of our community, people don’t want to live on a river that’s full of garbage. A lot of my electorate is surrounded by Botany Bay … and the Cooks River is a mess. “I’d like to think I can contribute to improve the water quality in our bays. That’s an important project for me to impact on.” Beyond the vital minutiae of delivering positive outcomes for his constituency, does he see himself as an advocate of Greek Australians generally, and the issues the Greek community faces? “I’m proud of my Greek heritage. I think you appreciate your culture more as you get older. “When I first went to school I didn’t know a word of English. Unfortunately my Greek these days isn’t what it should be,” he says, adding that with an ethnically diverse electorate – 45 per cent of Barton’s residents having been born overseas – coupled with his own background, he’s a strong advocate of multiculturalism. “The largest ethnic group in Barton is Greek, with about 20,000 residents. There are some 18,000 Chinese, 10,000 Lebanese, it’s a broad multicultural community.” On the wider – but not unrelated – subject of foreign affairs, is he keen to involve himself in issues around Australia’s relationship with Greece? “The [Greek] ambassador has been keen to approach me and work on those links, and I’m obviously happy to reciprocate. It’s important. “Being one of the few Greek representatives – I understand that there’s myself and Arthur Sinodinos, and his time is limited considering his position, so there’s a void there that I might need to fit into. “You’re there as a voice. Being of Greek heritage I’m happy to stand up for some of those issues.” With barely a month since getting his feet under his new parliamentary desk, Nickolas Varvaris is focused on the local. “First and foremost it’s about your electorate, that’s who put you here,” he says. “It’s not about the big national issues – though you do get to deal with the big national issues. At the end of the day you’re here to represent your community. “I’ve always focused on, even at local government, what’s going on in my backyard, it’s not so much the bigger picture. That’s what I’ll be fighting for.” Nickolas Varvaris will make his maiden speech in the House of Representatives on December 11.