As a refresher, here are your options, as well as some potential hate avenues you could choose to venture down. In alphabetical...
Cincinnati. Cincy is an old foe from our CUSA days who were responsible for sullying my first game as a genuine TCU fan. I recall the Frogs being in control for most of the game, only to blow it at the end, a disease we now know as "Utahitis version 2009." Of course, the Frogs would bounce back and go 10-2 that year and the "chip game" of 2003 erased just about every bad taste this one left in the mouth of a Frogs fan. The strangest thing to see when looking back at the 2002 season was that we ended things with a smacking of "holy shit they used to be good?" Colorado State in the Liberty Bowl. Believe it or not though, in 02 attitudes towards Patterson weren't quite as cheery as they are now, and Cincy is directly to blame. Also, if my early 2000s era MTV memory serves me correctly, Cincy's #1 fan? Nick Lachey... who also is a "huge" USC fan. Is that the kind of person you want in your corral? Didn't think so.
Connecticut. Clearly when you think of UConn you immediately think of basketball related hate, but recall I tossed out the "football only" parameter in the beginning, so we better stick with it. Not a whole lot of reasons to hate Connecticut, to be honest, as without their 8-4 BCS season causing a major uproar, TCU may never have been invited into the Big East in the first place. Of course, the double edged sword there is that Connecticut's 2010 squad is largely responsible for the Big East currently being viewed as the lowest of the BCS Conferences, so thanks guys. Good thing we're here to save the day.
Louisville. Now we're talkin'. Without having to think too hard about it, once more cranking up annual games with the Cardinals is one of the top things I most look forward to about joining the Big East. We may have only played them four times, but other than Southern Miss I can't recall a team I enjoyed beating more. And we owe them one. After taking out the Cardinals in years one and two, Louisville returned to Fort Worth the following year for a Wednesday night showdown - remember those? - for control of CUSA. It was a very tightly contested game, coming down to one, final kick for OT. If you were there, you remember the rest - the Louisville kicker lined up and booted what looked like a perfect shot right between the pipes. As the air was absolutely sucked out of the stadium, the ball hung in space for what seemed like an illogically long time, and then... CLANG!!! Frogs win. Noise. Drunk. Definitely one of the better memories I have of the early years of Gary Patterson - and would certainly be included in our own counselorfrog's long promised 'biggest wins of the Patterson era' inventory - although for the sake of my nerves we won't talk about what transpired two weeks later in Hattiesburg. Of course, the Cardinals would have their revenge in the lost year of 2004, where seemingly everyone brought their rape stands, to the tune of 55-24, which is why I saw we owe them one. Seriously, I instruct all incoming freshman this year to take a look at the 2004 results. SHOCKING. But regardless, this was rivalry 1b to Southern Miss' 1a, although the order could certainly be reversed depending on how you feel on the day you were asked. Our programs are in pretty different places right now, but with Charlie Strong calling the shots, the Cardinals should be a legitimate Conference contender when they travel to Amon G in 2013.
Pittsburgh. Pitt is the first of the three "Traditionally Strong" programs featured in the Big East, along with West Virginia and Syracuse, who were once very talented but for whatever reason have fallen on hard times in recent years. Well, I say "for whatever reason" but the truth is none of those teams have had a decent coach in place until recently, although the jury is still out on Pitt. The Panthers' problem is that they had the Wannstache. who could recruit with the best of them. but couldn't coach for shit. I really have nothing personal against the Panthers, though. I guess you can hate them because of the Steelers? This one needs some work.
Rutgers. GUIDO ALERT!! We hate a lot of fans around here, but I think we're in for a real treat when we play the Scarlet Knights and their bridge and tunnel fanbase. It's hard to make a direct Jersey Shore comparison because none of those kids are actually from Jersey, but for the sake of hate, it's what we'll roll with. Beyond that, as scary as it will be to visit Morgantown, Rutgers seems like a close second simply because it's in New Jersey and because it's basically a mafia run school. Or at least that's my perception since Tony Soprano has frequently been seen at games. But only when they were good, which they are not anymore, so no worries. Rutgers is a lot like Pittsburgh - they're an older traditional power with some recruiting swagger, but they never seem to be able to seal the deal. You'll recall before they hired evil overlord Saban, Alabama offered the gig to Rutgers head man Greg Schiano, who gave it hard consideration but ultimately turned the job down. So if you need a reason to hate Rugters it's the fact that without them, the State of Alabama wouldn't hold the last two National Titles. And those poor, poor trees might still be alive. /sarcasm font.
South Florida. Another of our old pals from the CUSA days, South Florida is a curious case. We traded close wins with them the two times we played, including a gut wrenching one point 2OT loss where we managed to fail on a PAT snap, so we owe them for that. It should be noted that our own Texas Hammer was not snapping this game, so in hindsight we probably should've just forfeited right out of the gate. Also, USF is the closest thing we'll have to Boise in the Big East, although on a very, very minor scale. They didn't exist as a program 10 years ago and had success pretty much right out of the gate, but that's where the comparisons stop. While Boise capitalized on that rise, South Florida faded back into the shadows which culminated in their Head Coach getting fired for strangling a player. So that's not good. Yeah, it's a stretch comparison.
Syracuse. Donovan McNabb. That's really all you need to know. Cowboys fans understand. vikingfrog will understand soon, but in a different way. Also, I've always found this bothersome for one reason or another - the Orange play in the Carrier Dome. Carrier is a manufacturer of A/C units. The Carrier Dome does not have air conditioning. Product placement FAIL. Also, their mascot is a large orange shaped man. Say what you will about a Horned Frog, but at least its a living organism and not some failed radioactive stem cell experiment.
West Virginia. Now we're REALLY talkin'. As much as the memories of a hard nosed rivalry will fuel me for future matchups with Louisville, I would have to say West Virginia is the team that I am the most fired up to see on an annual basis. First of all, they're going to be our main competition every year, at least if current trends hold. Second of all, their Coach Dana Holgerson might be the living incantation of (obscure literary reference alert) Sebastian Dangerfield from the Gingerman. If you haven't read the book, Dangerfield is basically just a drunk asshole who bangs everything in sight. Really, insert any debacauchery loving drunk asshole and it will work - Tucker Max, select UT Football players, your mom. That comparison is actually kind of a caveat for my first point because he's either going to install the crap out of his high scoring offense and entertain those Moonshiners with 70 point outings on a routine basis, or he's going to take his team out on a Riverboat Casino one night and sink it to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. There's really no in between, and that's what makes them so fascinating. Seriously, LSU fans get their deserved due for their antics, but the fact that the folk in Morgantown aren't mentioned in the same breath is surely just a factor of their lack of national exposure. And the two teams play this year IN MORGANTOWN. If you're one of those folks who believe that Obama is the anti-christ and the end of the world is nigh, Sept. 24 just might be your doomsday. Couches will be burned. Lastly, some food for thought - if the schedule holds, we will travel to both Baton Rouge AND Morgantown in the year 2013. If you aren't a believer in a compassionate higher power, you may want to think about checking your salvation between now and then.
After completing this exercise, there's actually not as much hate to go around as I intended there to be. Rivalry hate is good, but since we're so unfamiliar with these teams it's going to be a learning process, much like it was with BYU and Utah. Fortunately, we have an entire year to get better. As for now I'd have to say that the teams I most look forward to playing are, in order, West Virginia, Louisville, Pitt, Rutgers (only because you can make a New York trip out of it) and then a weird hodgepodge of the rest of them. So who does everyone else look forward to matching up against on a year in year out basis? Rational discussion is acceptable, but when in doubt let hate be your guide.