By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 3 Big East Power Rankings
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1. West Virginia (3-0) – It wasn’t a perfect game for the Mountaineers, but they survived a tricky road date at Maryland to move to 3-0. The offense seems to be finding its rhythm, as Geno Smith threw for 388 yards and one score against the Terrapins. Vernard Roberts and Andrew Buie also provided timely runs, but rushing offense is still one area West Virginia needs to improve. The Mountaineers have a huge non-conference showdown against LSU this Saturday.
2. South Florida (3-0) – The Bulls easily defeated Florida A&M 70-17 on Saturday. Quarterback B.J. Daniels had a monster game, throwing for 382 yards and four scores, while adding 34 yards and a touchdown on the ground. South Florida has one more tuneup before hitting Big East play, as UTEP comes to town this Saturday.
3. Pittsburgh (2-1) – The Panthers were in control for three quarters at Iowa, but couldn’t hold on for the win. The pass defense struggled once again, allowing Hawkeye quarterback James Vandenberg to throw for 399 yards and three scores. Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri threw two picks, while running back Ray Graham was held in check. The Panthers host Notre Dame on Saturday.
4. Cincinnati (2-1) – After losing 45-23 to Tennessee in Week 2, Akron was the perfect get well medicine for the Bearcats. The defense scored three times, which was more than enough against the Zips’ lifeless offense. Cincinnati will be in the spotlight this week, as it hosts NC State on Thursday night. The Bearcats lost 30-19 to the Wolfpack last year.
5. Syracuse (2-1) – Although the Orange lost to USC, the action off the field stirred the most conversation. Syracuse accepted a bid to the ACC and will try to join the conference in time for the 2012 season. The Orange will try to bounce back on the field this week, but it won’t be easy against upset-minded Toledo. The Rockets nearly beat Ohio State in Week 2 and held tough early against Boise State on Friday.
6. Louisville (2-1) – The Cardinals snapped a four-game losing streak to Kentucky with a 24-17 win on Saturday. Starting quarterback Will Stein was knocked out of the game, but true freshman Teddy Bridgewater turned in a solid effort, completing 10 of 18 throws for 106 yards and two scores. Louisville is off in Week 4 and returns to action in Week 5 against Marshall.
7. Rutgers (1-1) – The Scarlet Knights had a bye in Week 3 and gets back on the field against Ohio this week. It was a busy week for off-the-field news in Piscataway, as running back De’Antwan Williams left the team, and Rutgers reportedly contacted the ACC about joining the conference. Conference realignment isn’t finished, so the Scarlet Knights will be one team that could be on the move.
8. Connecticut (1-2) – Offensive struggles and a quarterback carousel could be a staple of the Huskies in 2011. Johnny McEntee led the team with 188 passing yards, but completed only 13 of 30 passes and tossed one pick. The rushing attack also struggled, with Lyle McCombs held to 46 yards. Considering the Cyclones had three early turnovers, this is one that Connecticut had an opportunity to take a commanding lead and faltered.