By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 7 Big East Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. West Virginia (5-1) – The Mountaineers did not play in Week 7 and will return to action this Friday at Syracuse. The Orange upset West Virginia 19-14 in Morgantown last season. The Mountaineers struggled to get their offense on track in last year’s matchup, but that shouldn’t be an issue on Friday. Syracuse has struggled to stop the pass and is allowing nearly 30 points a game. The Mountaineers remain the favorite to win the Big East title.
2. Rutgers (5-1) – A blocked field goal with less than five minutes remaining kept the Scarlet Knights ahead and proved to be just enough for the victory. With five victories this year, Rutgers has surpassed its win total from last season. True freshman quarterback Gary Nova tossed two interceptions in the win over Navy, but also threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jawan Jamison earned his first 100-yard effort of his career, while also posting a touchdown. Rutgers returns to Big East play with a trip to Louisville on Friday.
3. Cincinnati (5-1) – It wasn’t the dominant performance some expected from the Bearcats, but they defeated Louisville 25-16 to move to 5-1 this season. After winning only four games last season, Cincinnati has already surpassed that victory total in 2011 and stands one win away from bowl eligibility. The Bearcats hit the road for their next two games, as they travel to take on South Florida and then Pittsburgh on Nov. 5.
4.Pittsburgh (3-4) – After pummeling South Florida 44-17 on Thursday night in late September, it appeared the Panthers were ready to emerge as contenders in the Big East. Not so fast. The last two weeks were a step back in coach Todd Graham’s first season, featuring a 34-10 loss to Rutgers and a 26-14 defeat to Utah on Saturday. The Panthers’ offense went dormant against the Utes, posting only 120 yards and turning the ball over three times. Pittsburgh is off next Saturday, before returning to action on Oct. 26 against Connecticut.
5. South Florida (4-2) – After a 4-0 start, the Bulls have slipped in the Big East power rankings due to back-to-back losses. South Florida dropped a 44-17 game at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, but Saturday’s 16-10 defeat to Connecticut was a huge surprise. The Huskies did not score an offensive touchdown, but won the turnover battle and limited quarterback B.J. Daniels to only 164 passing yards. With back-to-back conference losses, the Bulls have some work to do in the Big East race. And their quest to get back into the mix starts on Saturday against Cincinnati.
6. Syracuse (4-2) – The Orange did not play on Saturday and will return to action on Friday against West Virginia. Syracuse defeated the Mountaineers last season, but will likely be heavy underdogs for this season’s matchup. The Orange have struggled to stop the pass all year, which will be under fire from West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Syracuse needs two wins to get bowl eligible, which won’t be easy with games at Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, along with South Florida, Cincinnati and West Virginia visiting the Carrier Dome.
7. Connecticut (3-4) – Without question, the most surprising score from Week 7’s Big East action was the Huskies’ victory over South Florida. Connecticut’s offense has sputtered all year, but it didn’t matter on Saturday. The Huskies scored a defensive touchdown and forced four South Florida turnovers. This victory was a big one for Connecticut, as it snapped a two-game losing streak and keeps the bowl hopes alive. The Huskies are off on Saturday and return to action on Oct. 26 at Pittsburgh.
8. Louisville (2-4) – The Cardinals held a 16-7 lead at halftime, but was unable to keep that lead in the second half, as Cincinnati pulled away for a 25-16 victory. Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater continues to gain valuable experience, completing 17 of 28 throws for 195 yards and one interception. However, the rushing attack continues to struggle for Louisville, as it managed only 70 yards and averaged 2.1 yards per carry. The Cardinals host Rutgers this Friday.