Fizz’s Big East Power Rankings (10/23): Does Syracuse Jump into the Top Half?

The Fizz Power Rankings return and Syracuse finds itself in the top half of the conference. With Rutgers and Louisville now the only two remaining unbeatens in the Big East, it’s turning into a two-team race. Which schools can separate themselves from the bottom part of the pack down the stretch?

1)   #15 Rutgers 7-0, 4-0 (Last weekend: W, 35-10 @ Temple)

The Knights continue to roll and show the nation they are the top team in the Big East until they’re knocked off. Rutgers overcame a slow start but shut out the Owls in the second half. For two straight weeks RU has struggled to get the run game going in the first half, but RB Juwan Jamison finished strong. He tallied 114 yards – 86 of those after the break. Gary Nova looked confident behind his offensive line, throwing for four touchdowns on the afternoon. This team has a real good shot at running the table in the Big East, making SU’s near win in Piscataway even tougher to swallow.

Up Next: v. Kent State, Saturday

2)   #16 Louisville 7-0, 2-0 (W, 27-25 v. USF)

It never looks pretty for the Cardinals, but they seem to always get the job done. Is another QB in the conference who you’d rather have down the stretch than Teddy Bridgewater? The sophomore continues to mature, and completed a ridiculous 84% of his passes Saturday for 256 yards and 2 TD’s, including the game-winner to WR Eli Rodgers with 1:35 left. As opposed to popular thinking, it looks like the Louisville offense will be carrying its D this year. The schedule provides no breaks for UofL the rest of the way though. Cincy’s up next, and the de facto Big East title game will be the final weekend of the season, 11/29 against Rutgers.

Up Next: v. Cincinnati, Friday

3)   Cincinnati 5-1, 1-0 (L, 29-23 @ Toledo)

The Bearcats remain third in the rankings, but a loss to the Rockets is a big step backward with the Cardinals coming in next weekend. Toledo piled up 229 yards on the ground and tailback David Fluellen went to work against a drained Bearcats front. The junior rushed for 161 yards, and Fluellen has now racked up 666 yards in his last four games. QB Munchie Leguax threw two picks and had one returned for a TD. This D is going to have trouble next week stopping Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry down in Louisville. In the wonderfully wacky world of Big East scheduling, Cincy has only played one league game so far – and that was its opener vs. Pitt. Every other team has had at least 3 conference games.

Up Next: @ #16 Louisville, Friday

4)   Syracuse 3-4, 2-1 (W, 40-10 v. UConn)

SU jumps all the way up to #4 in the rankings this week thanks to its smack down of the Huskies inside the Dome. There’s something about that third Friday in October. There’s not much to be upset about this win. Jerome Smith rushed for a career high 133 yards. Ryan Nassib showed poise moving the offense with ease. The Orange scored on 8 of its 12 drives. The D shut down the run game for a third consecutive week. And how about this for balance: of Syracuse’s 502 total yards, 251 were through the air and 251 were on the ground. Granted this was a very ineffective UConn offense, but SU has to draw off this when it heads down to Tampa. Syracuse needs to take care of business on the road against a USF, the Orange has won back-to-back BCS games just TWICE in the last 11 years.

Up Next: @ USF, Saturday

5)   Temple 3-3, 2-1 (L, 35-10 v. #15 Rutgers)

Chris Coyer and Owls had the Knights on their heels for 30 minutes on Saturday, but couldn’t sustain the pressure in the second half. It was surprising how quickly TU fell apart after halftime. But only 191 total yards on the afternoon is not how you’re going to beat RU. Coyer’s two second half turnovers killed the QB’s confidence, especially his fumble that was picked up by Khaseem Greene and taken back to house. They’ll put up a fight on the road next week against Pitt, a game I think they’ll win.

Up Next: @ Pittsburgh, Saturday

6)   Pittsburgh 3-4, 0-3 (W, 20-6 @Buffalo)

It’s tough to figure out this Panthers team. It was a pedestrian day for the offense against the Bulls. Ray Graham and Rushel Shell each ran in a TD, but had trouble moving the football against a 1-6 Buffalo team. The upset win over Virginia Tech seems like eons ago, and is losing its luster each week. Pitt needs a statement win inside the Big East. Temple will be a tougher test than many think.

Up Next: v. Temple, Saturday

7)   UConn 3-5, 0-3 (L, 40-10 @ Syracuse)

The Huskies continue to tumble, dropping three straight. Coach P’s offense is getting more stagnant by the week, and RB Lyle McCombs looked like the wrist injury might still have been bothering him inside the Dome. UConn rushed for -6 yards as a team, and QB Chandler Whitmer couldn’t move the ball effectively. It might be time for a QB change down in Storrs. Why not give last season’s starter Johnny McEntee or Scott McCummings a shot? Something has to happen quickly.

Up Next: @ USF, November 3rd

8)   USF 2-5, 0-3 (L, 27-25 @ # 16 Louisville)

Five losses in a row for a fading Bulls team. After BJ Daniels led a nice fourth quarter comeback on Saturday, the D couldn’t protect a late lead v. Teddy Bridgewater. And soon afterword, Daniels returned to normal form and threw a pick that ended the game. The QB has committed a turnover in six of seven contests this year. It going to be tough for this team to even hit four wins.

Up Next: v. Syracuse, Saturday

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald




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  1. Russell MacEachern says:

    This is the first week its been fun to look at the power ratings though I really think we should be in 3rd place!I think Munchie Les throw is WAY overrated and if we can play w/o TOs we could ride Nassibs arm and our D to slice up the bengals!If we could shore up STs we’d be killer!!We have to recruit a couple of ATHs,fast and hardhitting!!

  2. OrangeCrush27 says:

    Agree with Russell and also there stud DE Stewart is out indefinitely for them…

    UCONN should be 8 and USFUSF has played all their BE games tough…

  3. Russell MacEachern says:

    Yes OC27 is right,I neglected to mention the bottom but USF is in every game!!They could beat anyone on a given day!!

  4. Kevin Fitzgerald says:

    Here’s the one thing I’ll say, and it’s actually something we were talking about with the players this week. I think there is a syndrome with this squad about getting too high after the wins and getting too low after the losses. Maybe SU should be #3 based on their’s and Cincy’s performance’s this weekend, but SU needs to sustain the success and continue NOT turning ball over.

    Listen to this…SU has won back to back games against BCS teams just TWICE in the last 11 years. They can make it 3 this weekend against a turnover prone USF squad.

  5. Russell MacEachern says:

    Kein,good point and its a always better to leave a carrot for underachievers!!Shrewd!!

  6. Russell MacEachern says:

    I meant Kevin!!My Ks are weak om my keyboard!!

  7. Russell MacEachern says:

    I mean Vs..

  8. Derek says:

    For anyone who watched the USF vs. Louisville game, they are a lot better than their record. They should’ve won except for getting robbed of a touchdown by the officials and Holtz’s complete stupidity regarding how to use timeouts in the final seconds… the game this weekend makes me a bit nervous.

  9. Russell MacEachern says:

    @Derek,ya know I think Skip Holtz might be the most overrated coach in modern times!!USF was much better b4 he arrived and they have as much talent as L’ille and RU but they don’t play up to it!!Thank god we did’nt hire him!!

  10. Terry says:

    Coach where is David Fluellen from???

  11. Kevin Fitzgerald says:

    Derek:
    Here’s what I’ll say. It sounds like USF has the “Orange Syndrome.” Yes they’ve been in the last few games esp. last week v. USF. But here’s the difference maker…BJ Daniels is turning the ball over just about 2 time again…that’s JUST Daniels.

    Syracuse has been “in it” too, for most of their games. In it against Rutgers, Northwestern, Minnesota. Why couldn’t they seal the deal? Turnovers. Until the Bulls play more disciplined, they can be in every game. But they’re not going to come out on top. Syracuse doesn’t turn the ball over at all against a crappy UConn team=30 point win.

    We’ve said it before guys, not one single team in this conference is far and away better than the rest. It comes down to the turnover battle.

  12. Kevin Fitzgerald says:

    **Correction: BJ Turning it over two times per game.**

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