Monday, October 12, 2009

Big East Power Rankings Week 7


1. Cincinnati Bearcats 5-0, (1-0): Last week: Bye - They’ve been the most impressive team in the Big East so far. They haven’t just padded their record either, wins over Rutgers, at Oregon State and versus Fresno State are all looking more and more like quality wins. The offense has been by far the most consistent in the conference averaging 42 points a game. The quality of the passing game led by quarterback Tony Pike and wide receiver Marshwan Gilyard can be thanked for that. Up Next: @ South Florida

2. South Florida Bulls 5-0, (1-0): Last week: Bye - Talk about no respect. It wasn’t until last week that they cracked the coaches and AP poll. Sure, they’re schedule has had a lot of soft spots and every time Florida State loses it makes their victory in Tallahassee look less appealing, but this team is the real deal. I know...doesn't someone say that every year just around this time? But so far their defense has been utterly dominate, allowing an average of 9.4 points a game, and they have completely shutdown the opponent's passing game. What has stood out has been the pass rush and how well the team has responded when quarterback Matt Grothe went down with a season-ending injury. Watch comes South Florida, again. Up Next: Cincinnati

3. West Virginia 4-1, (1-0): Last week: Win at Syracuse 34-13 - If it wasn’t for an awful fourth quarter by Jarrett Brown at Auburn, the Mountaineers could easily be undefeated. The bright side is since then, the senior has been much better throwing three touchdowns with no interceptions. The offense has looked real sharp. They dominated every aspect of the game at the Carrier Dome last week and show no signs of slowing down. Up Next: Marshall

4. Pittsburgh 4-1, (1-0): Last week: Win vs. Connecticut 24-21 -
Inconsistency is the issue in Western PA. There’s no question they’re a talented bunch but too many times this season their offense stalls or the defense gives up to many big plays. It happened again in their last game versus the Huskies, forcing Pitt to overcome a 21-6 lead due sloppy red zone execution and giving up big pass plays. Quarterback Bill Stull turned it around and their pass rush came alive in the fourth quarter leading them to a big come from behind victory. Even though they didn’t play perfect football, it was an impressive win. They kept fighting and won the type of game they have lost all too often. Don’t forget about Pittsburgh in this conference race, they have the most underrated receiving core in the Big East. Up Next: @ Rutgers

5.Connecticut 3-2, (0-1): Last week: Loss at Pittsburgh 21-24 - The main reason why Connecticut lost last week, as well their first loss against North Carolina is their one-dimensional offense. When the game was close, Pittsburgh was able to just gear up to stop the run and force the Huskies to beat them in the passing game. The defense may have given up a key touchdown and the drive that led to the game-winning field goal, but it’s tough to blame them considering how much time they spent the field in the second half. This is a bowl quality team but unless the defense completely dominates, they won’t beat too many of the top tier teams. Up Next: Louisville

6. Rutgers 4-1, (0-1): Last week: Win vs. Texas Southern 42-0 - Despite having a better record the Scarlet Knights sit below Connecticut. Since they were blown out by the Bearcats on college football's opening weekend, they’ve rolled off four straight wins including a road victory at Maryland. But two of those wins have come against FCS schools and another against a Sun Belt foe. Fans have to be excited with the play of their freshman quarterback Tom Savage, but the real test will come Friday night at home against Pittsburgh. They’re offensive line has been a bit shaky and are likely to have trouble protecting the quarterback against Pitt's pass-rushing book ends. Their defense has been a force creating turnovers, already 12 on the young season. Up Next: Pittsburgh

7. Louisville 2-3, (0-1): Last week: Win vs. Southern Miss 25-23 -
Things are far from being righted at Louisville, but any win is a good win for this program. Even though it was against a Conference USA team that was without their starting quarterback, it was still a nice victory over a solid football team. Heroics by quarterback Adam Froman and wide receiver Scott Long led to a game-winning field in the final seconds. Up Next: @ Connecticut

8. Syracuse 2-4, (0-2): Last week: Loss vs. West Virginia 13-34 - Both the ‘Cuse and Louisville will probably be flip-flopping the bottom two spots in the conference all year, but for now it’s the Orange who belong at the bottom. After a two-game winning streak they have responded with two home loses where they turned the ball over too often, among a bevy of mistakes. Their starting quarterback Greg Paulus is tied for interception lead in the nation. The offensive line the line needs to regroup and get healthier before they send the team into a tailspin. Up Next: Bye

Photos Courtesy of Tom Ciszak Rutgers Athletics, USF Athletics Communications