The New Big East had a pretty good week this week (until you get to the bottom, but hey, that’s why they’re the bottom). There were two wins against ACC teams, and there were no OOC losses that weren’t expected. Three weeks in and we’re starting to get a handle on the conference.
1. Louisville (3-0)
Last Week #1; This Week: Won 39-34 vs. UNC
For anyone who tuned out after the half, you missed a great ending. Up 36-7 at the break, the Cardinals were held to just a field goal in the 2nd half while UNC scored 3 TD’s in the final 12:02. A fumbled kickoff return with just over 4 minutes left put UNC in position to get the win, but the possible 6th TD from Bryn Renner was broken up in the end zone with 1:44 to go. Terry Bridgewater had another fantastic game, going 23-28 for 279 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions. @Mengus22 (who is a great Big East follow) said it best on twitter:
If you were wondering what a team still loaded with sophomores does with a big lead, this is it.
— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) September 15, 2012
Louisville travels to Florida International this weekend (7pm ESPN3)
2. Cincinnati (2-0)
Last Week #2; This Week: Won 23-7 vs. Delaware State
While the Bearcats were never threatened, they did everything they could to keep this one close, starting with Munchie Legaux having a day he’d like to forget. He had just 7 incompletions, but 2 of them were interceptions. He also fumbled twice (and the team twice more for a total of 6 turnovers). You can overcome such miscues against a team like Delaware State. But they need to work on ball control during their bye this week; Virginia Tech, although exposed by Pitt, looms large at FedEx Field on September 29th.
3. Rutgers (3-0)
Last Week #6; This Week: Won 23-13 @ USF
A big mover this week, Rutgers is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2007 thanks to a conference win over USF in Tampa. I haven’t seen all the defenses in the league yet, but Rutgers has to be in the top 2. B.J. Daniels was flummoxed all night, completing less than 50% of his passes and getting picked off 3 times. Jawan Jamison shouldered a lot of the offense, rushing 41 times for 151 yards and a TD. Rutgers travels to a reeling Arkansas for a Saturday night prime time game (7pm, ESPNU).
4. Boise State (1-1)
Last Week #4; This Week: Won 39-12 vs. Miami (Ohio)
Two weeks after being shut down by the Michigan State defense, Boise’s offense got on track vs. the RedHawks, racking up nearly 600 yards of offense. Much of that was on the back of D.J. Harper, who had 162 yards rushing and 3 TDs on 26 carries (he was held to 8 yards on 15 carries at MSU). I’m still not sure where Boise really is this year, but hopefully we’ll see more this week. BYU limps into town after a furious rally in the Holy War fell short by a *schtoink* off the upright (Thursday 9pm, ESPN).
5. UConn (2-1)
Last Week #8; This Week: Won 24-21 @ Maryland
I debated moving UConn ahead of Boise after their win in the Randy Edsall Dream Job Bowl, but I didn’t for a couple of reasons. One, I still think Maryland just is not any good. Two, UConn only managed 10 first downs to their 7 punts and 223 total yards (including a paltry 70 passing). Oh, and they were held to 75 total yards in the 2nd half. So while the win over the ACC is nice, it’s not exactly impressive. The Huskies travel to Western Michigan Saturday afternoon (2pm, ESPN3) – the 4th of 5 OOC games before Big East play begins in October.
6. USF (2-1)
Last Week #3; This Week: Lost 13-23 vs. Rutgers
Last week I wasn’t sure what to make of the Bulls and their victorious rally at Nevada. This week, after watching BJ Daniels turn in one of the most BJ Daniels nights ever, I have a better idea. The Bulls offense continues to be maddeningly inconsistent, incapable of capitalizing on a slow start from Rutgers and mustering just one sustained scoring drive. They head to Ball State this Saturday where they’ll face a team coming off a win over Indiana (4:30pm, ESPN3).
7. UCF (2-1)
Last Week #5; This Week: Won 33-20 vs. FIU
Speaking of not that impressive. UCF looked dominant in the 1st half when they held FIU to 26 yards of offense. But just like UConn allowed UMD back in the game, FIU ripped off a 280-yard 2nd half. The Knights have a bye week before traveling to SEC country to face Missouri (still doesn’t sound right saying Missouri and SEC in the same breath).
Last Week #7; This Week: Won 49-41 vs. North Dakota
On a scorching hot day in San Diego, which at 97 degrees was the hottest game for the Aztecs in almost 30 years, SDSU never could put away North Dakota. Struggling to finish off a team from the Big Sky will get you dropped even in victory. The good? A well-balanced attack with 241 in the air and 292 on the ground. The bad? Giving up 434 passing. San Jose State comes to town this weekend after thumping Colorado State (8pm, local TV only).
9. Temple (1-1)
Last Week #10; This Week: Bye
Call up SMU and thank them for being bad enough to get you into the Top 10. You head to Penn State this weekend (3:30pm ABC).
10. SMU (1-2)
Last Week #9; This Week: Lost 6-37 @ Texas A&M
Two reasons SMU is #10 and not #11: 1) Texas A&M is a better team than Penn State and 2) I feel homerish moving Navy up over a team with a win, even if it was over Stephen F. Austin. Can’t really glean much from the box score here. Of note, SMU’s Margus Hunt blocked a PAT, putting him 2nd all time in the NCAA record books with 16 blocked kicks in his career. SMU gets a bye this week before getting a visit from TCU on the 29th.
11. Navy (0-2)
Last Week #11; This Week: Lost 7-34 @ Penn State
Sigh. Navy out-gained Penn State by 50 yards. Navy had 5 possessions in the 2nd half get inside the Penn State 30 yard line. Navy had more 1st downs than Penn State. Navy had a 13 minute advantage in TOP. Navy held Penn State’s offense to 7 points in the 2nd half (which was a TD influenced by a little luck). Navy had 4 turnovers. Navy gave up a TD on a fumble return. Navy was just 4-15 on 3rd down. Navy has a great chance to get off the schnide when they finally get a home game, welcoming VMI to NMCMS on Saturday (3:30pm, CBSCS).
12. Houston (0-3)
Last Week #12; This Week: Lost 6-37 @ UCLA
All the turnovers! Houston did it 6 times, edging out UCLA’s 5. With every snap of the ball, 2011 fades further into history. Yet another team with a bye this week, the Cougars get Rice on the 29th.
13. Memphis (0-3)
Last Week #13; This Week: Lost 30-48 vs. Middle Tennessee
The Tigers actually led in the 2nd quarter before giving up 20 straight points. The Big East needs to add another team so I can drop these guys to #14. Memphis travels to Duke this weekend (6pm, ESPN3) where they will undoubtedly help the Blue Devils get halfway to bowl eligibility.