After a week off, I’m back looking at the Big East Conference with my latest Big East Power Rankings.
Despite taking a week off, there really isn’t much to change as there are three good teams in the conference and five not-so-good teams.
With that being said, let’s take a look at my latest Big East Conference Power Rankings, following Week 8 of the college football season.
1. Louisville (6-0, 2-0)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 8 result: Beat USF 27-25
Although the Cardinals are one of two undefeated teams left in the conference, they rank in the top two in the Big East in only two major categories – scoring offense and pass efficiency. Louisville ranks in the bottom half of the Big East in run defense, pass efficiency defense and sacks, but that’s showing signs of turning around. The Cardinals have nine sacks in the last two games against Pittsburgh and USF after recording only five in the first five games of the season. On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is having a great season and would be the Player of the Year in the conference if the season ended today.
This week: Cincinnati (Friday)
2. Rutgers (6-0, 4-0)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 8 result: Beat Temple 35-10
For the third week in a row, Rutgers’ undefeated start appeared to be in jeopardy at halftime. But Rutgers scored touchdowns on its first four offensive possessions of the second half and then tacked on a fumble recovery for a touchdown for good measure. Quarterback Gary Nova rebounded nicely after turning the ball over twice in the first half.
This week: Kent State
3. Cincinnati (5-1, 1-0)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 8 result: Lost to Toledo 29-23
Cincinnati missed injured defensive end Walter Stewart against Toledo, but the Bearcats inconsistency finally caught up with them in a road loss to the Rockets. Cincinnati briefly took a lead in the third quarter, but Toledo returned the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, the defense couldn’t get a stop on a 15-play, 6-minute, 53-second drive for Toledo.
This week: at Louisville (Friday)
4. Syracuse (3-4, 2-1)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 8 result: Beat Connecticut 40-10
For the first time this season, Syracuse stopped playing to the level of its opponent and played a complete game on all sides of the ball. The Orange scored on five consecutive possessions in the second and third quarter, excluding one-play kneel-down to end the first half. The defense held Connecticut to minus-6 yards thanks to eight tackles for a loss. Quietly, Syracuse has held opponents to a Big East-best 1.2 yards per carry in conference games. Syracuse will now seek its first back-to-back wins in more than a year.
This week: at USF
5. Pittsburgh (3-4, 0-3)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 8 result: Beat Buffalo 20-6
Pitt is undefeated against the MAC, which should be expected, but it is more than three Big East teams can say. The win against Buffalo wasn’t pretty as Pitt was outgained 334-254 in sloppy weather. After the way this season has gone, Pitt will take the win, which will be critical if the Panthers are going to reach the postseason. That could be a stretch as Pitt needs to go 4-2 down the stretch to become bowl eligible and they are a team that still is in search of their first conference win of the season.
This week: Temple
6. Temple (3-3, 2-1)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 8 result: Lost to 35-10 to Rutgers
Temple had few answers in the second half against Rutgers, giving up five unanswered touchdowns, but the Owls were the first team this season to rush for at least 100 yards against the Scarlet Knights. Quarterback Chris Coyer completed only 7 of 14 passes for 65 yards with three turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown. If Temple is going to reach a bowl game, the Owls will have to win a road game with three of their final five games coming away from Philadelphia.
This week: at Pittsburgh
7. USF (2-5, 0-3)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 8 result: Lost to Louisville 27-25
Another week meant another heartbreaking loss for USF, this one with historical significance. The Bulls’ fifth consecutive loss sealed the longest losing streak in program history. The defeat, though, came in the same manner as so many others over the last two seasons — by losing a fourth quarter lead. Despite trailing 14-3 at halftime, USF took a 25-21 lead in the final 3:09 before Teddy Bridgewater led the game-winning drive.
This week: Syracuse
8. Connecticut (2-5, 0-3)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 8 result: Lost to Syracuse 40-10
The Huskies finally got a standout game out of the passing attack with Chandler Whitmer going 23 of 41 for 296 yards with a touchdown but nearly everything else flopped for the Huskies. Syracuse, which hadn’t rushed for more than 133 yards against an FBS opponent, ran for 251 yards against Connecticut. Suddenly, the UConn defense has allowed 453 rushing yards the last two weeks after holding its first four opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground. On offense, the story is getting worse as UConn’s best and most versatile lineman, Adam Masters, was lost for the season with an ankle injury and it showed as UConn’s minus-6 rushing yards against Syracuse was its worst since moving up to the FBS.
This week: Off