Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/15/14

West Virginia clinched a share of the Big East championship for a second straight season Thursday night after Tyler Bitancurt's 28-yard field goal gave West Virginia a 30-27 victory at South Florida on the final play of the game. With a little bit of help on Saturday in Cincinnati, Dana Holgorsen could be taking West Virginia to a BCS bowl game for the first time since the 2007 season.

West Virginia is now tied with Louisville in the Big East, with both schools completing their seasons. If Cincinnati beats Connecticut on Saturday there will be a three-way tie between West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati. If that is the case then the team with the highest BCS ranking will be awarded the Big East's automatic BCS spot because the three teams defeated each other in head-to-head play this season. That would play in West Virginia's favor, as the only one of the three currently ranked in the BCS top 25. It is not likely that idle Louisville or Cincinnati will be able to make up enough ground on West Virginia in the BCS rankings unless they put together a performance so dominant it can swing some of the computer rankings (which would have to be a 1916 Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland performance). In other words, if Cincinnati wins, congratulations to West Virginia.

Cincinnati, ironically, is eliminated from BCS contention but they will play the one game that will determine who from the Big East does get in. If Cincinnati loses to Connecticut this weekend then Louisville, at 7-5, will head to the BCS. Louisville and West Virginia would be tied for the top spot in the Big East, and Louisville owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. Louisville would then go to the BCS with one less win than Connecticut had last season. Haters gonna hate!

Was it pretty? Of course not (this Is the Big East after all), but West Virginia foudn a way to win on the road with a shot at a championship and BCS spot on the line.

The loss for South Florida eliminates the Bulls from postseason play, which is not something we expected to see after September. Remember that South Florida started their season by stunning Notre Dame amid wild weather and delays. The Bulls were undefeated in September and crept up to #16 in the AP poll, although against inferior opponents, before opening Big East play with a road loss at Pittsburgh on a Thursday night. That was the start of a four-game losing streak, and South Florida won just one game the rest of the way. Their lone win since October came against Syracuse, who will be fighting for their bowl eligibility this weekend against Pittsburgh (the winner will become bowl eligible while the lose will be ineligible). South Florida was bothered by injuries at times, but this was a team many who follow the Big East thought might be in the mix for a conference championship. After a 4-0 start this season they should have been feeling good.

Now all eyes are set on next year for South Florida, which will be highlighted by a home game against Florida State in late September and a November game a Miami. Regardless of what happens in those games though, will South Florida be able to do anything in whatever the Big East is back in 2012?

It is still unknown for sure if West Virginia will be in the Big East next season or if they will be able to begin play in the Big 12. With a legal battle still playing out between West Virginia and the Big East, it is still one of the looming questions left to be answered for sure. Will West Virginia have a chance to defend their share of the Big East championship in 2012, or will it be the start of a new era in Morgantown?

Follow Kevin McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.

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