Who Wins The Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy In 2012?

I didn't realize there was such a thing, but did you know that there is an award given to the best Northeast team in Division I-A college football? The Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy has been awarded annually since the late 1930s, and recognizes supremacy in northeastern college football. The award has since grown to recognize the best team in the Northeast in Division I FBS.

Boston College has won the Trophy five times -- 1940, 1942, 1983, 1984 and most recently in 2004. Only four schools have won the Trophy more than BC -- Syracuse (6), Pittsburgh (6), Army (7) and Penn State (a whopping 28 times).

The Big East champion West Virginia Mountaineers won the most recent Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy, finishing the season with a 10-3 overall record, an Orange Bowl victory and a 17th national ranking in the final AP poll. However, because of West Virginia's move to the Big 12 next season, the Mountaineers will be ineligible for the trophy going forward due to the award's unique eligibility criteria:

"To be eligible for the Lambert Meadowlands Award, a school must be located in the Northeast or play half its schedule against eligible Lambert teams. The territory includes New York, New Jersey, New England and Pennsylvania, while teams in the bordering states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia and the District of Columbia qualify if half their schedule features eligible teams. With the establishment of the Big East Conference as a major football conference (!), members of that conference outside of the Northeast were also made eligible."

This means the following teams will be eligible for the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy in 2012?

-- Northeast programs (9) -- Army, Boston College, Buffalo, Connecticut, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple
-- Non-Northeast Big East programs (3) -- Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida

None of the bordering states programs -- Maryland, Navy, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia -- play more than two eligible teams next season, so they're out.

With West Virginia now ineligible, it seems like an opportunity for BC to vie for Northeast college football supremacy in 2012. Especially when you consider only five of the eligible 12 programs finished last season with an overall winning record -- Cincinnati (10-3), Penn State (9-4), Rutgers (9-4), Temple (9-4) and Louisville (9-4).

Of course, all this changes when Boise State and San Diego State join the Big East in 2013 and win the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy for Northeast college football supremacy.

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