Big changes in the Fizz’s Big East power rankings this week. Louisville was the only team that did not play, and six schools had conference games. It’s time for some separation in the Big Easy, there are a few schools already pulling away from the pack.
1) #20 Rutgers 5-0, 2-0 (Last Weekend: W, 19-3 v. UConn)
It was another boring Rutgers win this weekend. The Knights don’t have to score a lot of points, but doesn’t have to with its grinding defense. RU forced five Huskies turnovers (four interceptions and a fumble recovery) and even with just two field goals at halftime still looked in total command against Coach P’s crew. UConn couldn’t get any semblance of a rushing attack going, and forced QB Chandler Whitmer to try to beat the Knights alone. The RU secondary will be tested this weekend against Ryan Nassib and company, looking for its first 6-0 start in six years.
Up Next: v. Syracuse, Saturday
2) #18 Louisville 5-0, 0-0 (Bye)
The Cardinals head back on the road to face Pittsburgh this week. Louisville has had trouble getting off to good starts. They Cards barely scooted by Florida International and Southern Mississippi (who are a combined 1-10), and need a statement win against Pitt to solidify the preseason hype. The Panthers could not get a run game going against Syracuse last weekend, and the Louisville front seven will be licking its chops at Heinz Field.
Up Next: @ Pittsburgh, Saturday
3) #21 Cincinnati 4-0, 1-0 (W, 52-14 v. Miami Ohio)
The Bearcats stay put at #3 in rankings despite crushing Miami of Ohio. Louisville is still the better team, but Munchie Legaux and company continue to get it done. Cincy will be undefeated when it stumbles into its Friday matchup with Louisville in a few weeks: the Bearcats take on Fordham and Toledo next. George Winn continues to impress with another 100-yard performance against the Red Hawks (16 carries, 128 yards, 2 TD’s). I’ll be sold on the Bearcats if they can stick with the ‘Ville.
Up Next: v. Fordham, Saturday
4) UConn 3-3, 0-1 (Last Weekend: L, 19-3 @ #20 Rutgers)
After the top 3, the rest of the Big East is a mess. It’s more like Tier II since no team has separated itself. The Huskies could not get into any type of offensive rhythm Saturday against the Knights. Starter Lyle McCombs was suspended for the first quarter after his second-degree breach of peace arrest a day earlier. 244 yards of total offense is not going to cut it, especially against the top defense in the conference.
Up Next: v. Temple, Saturday
5) Syracuse 2-3, 1-0 (W, 14-13 v. Pittsburgh)
The good news: The Orange notched its first win against a BCS opponent in almost a year. The bad news: SU scored just one offensive touchdown and it came on the first drive. QB Ryan Nassib had trouble moving the ball on Friday night, but the Syracuse defense had its best day of the season. Brandon Sharpe and the D-Line contained Ray Graham and limited the Panthers to just 27 yards on 37 carries. Syracuse needs to bring that same intensity on Saturday when they face the Scarlet Knights. Rattling Sophomore Gary Nova is the key this weekend.
Up Next: @ #20 Rutgers, Saturday
6) Temple 2-2, 1-0 (W, 37-28 v. USF)
The Owls are feeling good after earning its first Big East victory since being kicked out of the conference in 2004. The Owls forced three turnovers against the sloppy Bulls, and converted one for a score. Chris Coyer looked confident on Saturday, and completed 80% of his passes. Temple racked up 85 penalty yards, but can get away with that number against a turnover-prone team like USF. It’ll need to be sharper this Saturday when TU faces the Huskies.
Up Next: @ UConn, Saturday
7) Pittsburgh 2-3, 0-2 (L, 14-13 @ Syracuse)
Forget the cowbell; we need more Tino. For some reason the Panthers tried to force the run against SU’s stout front seven last Friday. It didn’t work. Sunseri passed for over 300 yards and completed 75% of his passes, but missed field goals and turnovers killed his drives. Pittsburgh’s success this season rests on the shoulders of the senior QB. A loss against a dangerous UofL team would put Pitt at 0-3 in conference.
Up Next: v. #18 Louisville, Saturday
8) USF 2-4, 0-2 (L, 37-28 @ Temple)
Once again, USF is USF. A tail spin for the talented Bulls, they have lost four straight there’s on end in sight. It’s another turnover-filled week as BJ Daniels threw a pick and lost a fumble, and has now committed a turnover in five of the six games he’s played in this season. It’s a much needed bye week this weekend for Coach Holtz and company.
Up Next: @ #18 Louisville, October 20th
Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald
Where would you place the Orange in the Big East Power Rankings? Is #5 too high, too low or where you would put SU?