Twelve of the thirteen teams in the New Big East (NBE) played this week, and ten of them won. The only losses came in league play as Rutgers downed UConn and USF lost at Temple.
Congratulations are in order for Temple for their first Big East win in a very, very long time. Their least BE win? 34-24 over Syracuse on November 13th, 2004 – not too long before they were kicked out of the league. It’s been a long road back for the Owls, and as far as I can tell, this is the first time Temple has had a winning record in Big East Conference play since beating Boston College in September 1997.
Oh, and the NBE has more ranked teams than the ACC and B1G…combined. Five power conferences my Aunt Fanny.
1. Louisville (5-0)
Last Week #1; This Week: Bye
The cream of the crop stays at the top. While the New Big East continues to prove their worth on the field, they still haven’t won over the hearts and minds of pollsters…or Vegas. The undefeated Cardinals head to Pitt this week and are just a 1.5 point road favorite (ESPNU, 11am – seriously – 16th in the country and a before-noon kickoff on a tertiary channel – hooray ESPN).
2. Cincinnati (4-0)
Last Week #2; This Week: Won 52-14 vs. Miami (OH)
The Bearcats allowed the RedHawks to hang around for the first half, giving up a pair of 75 yard TD drives to make it 24-14 at the break. Then the 2nd half happened. The one where Cinci scored 4 straight TDs and never looked back. They and their 13th-ranked scoring defense welcome Fordham to town this weekend (ESPN3, 7pm).
3. Rutgers (5-0)
Last Week #3; This Week: Won 19-3 vs. UConn
Speaking of scoring defense statistics, Rutgers is 5th in the nation, helped by giving up just a field goal to the Huskies. Just as impressive was Jawan Jamison having his 5th 100+ yard rushing performance of the year, giving the Scarlet Knights a serious contender for POY honors. Rutgers hopes to grow its winning streak with a parting gift for Syracuse in NJ this weekend (BEN/ESPN3, Noon).
4. Boise State (4-1)
Last Week #4; This Week: Won 40-14 @ Southern Miss
Southern Miss won the CUSA championship game last year. This year, they are winless after to Boise handed them their 5th loss. Thanks in part to forcing the Golden Eagles into 5 turnovers, Boise racked up their 40 points with just one drive over 50 yards. The Broncos have what looks to be a decent MWC test this week when Fresno State (4-2) visits the smurf turf (NBCSN, 3:30pm).
5. UCF (3-2)
Last Week #7; This Week: Won 40-20 vs. ECU
The Knights are the only other team in the NBE with a winning record right now. The Pirates jumped out to a 14-0 lead after a TD with 6:20 to go in the 1st quarter, but Quincy McDuffie returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a TD. That performance was followed with an efficient passing game, a kicker who was 4 for 4 on field goals, and a defense that kept ECU to just three 2nd half points. UCF gets their shot at Southern Miss this weekend (CBSSN, 8pm).
6. UConn (3-3)
Last Week #5; This Week: Lost 19-3 @ Rutgers
There’s no shame in losing to Rutgers. In fact, holding QB Gary Nova to just 157 yards passing after he lit up Arkansas last week is downright impressive. I feel for UConn fans who have already seen half of their regular season games pass by – the season always goes way too fast. With no rest for the weary, game 7 for the Huskies is a visit from Temple (ESPN3, 1pm)
7. Temple (2-2)
Last Week #8; This Week: Won 37-28 vs. USF
USF is a pretty bad team (more on that later). So bad that I initially put SDSU ahead of Temple, but Temple eventually got the nod for the aforementioned 1st-BE-win-in-forever aspect. Montel Harris looked like the guy who was set to break the all-time ACC rushing record before he was dismissed from Boston College, rushing for 133 yards and 2 TDs on 24 carries. Owls quarterback Chris Coyer was a neat 16 for 20 for 167 and a TD, and added 54 yards and another TD on 11 carries. Could Temple get to 2-0 in conference play? We’ll find out when they head to UConn this weekend (ESPN3, 1pm).
8. SDSU (3-3)
Last Week #9; This Week: Won 52-14 vs. Hawaii
Looking at their schedule thus far, one could say that SDSU has won the games they were supposed to win and dropped a couple of winnable games. A visit from Hawaii didn’t provide much of a challenge, as the Aztecs jumped out to a 21-0 lead which built to 35-7 by halftime. SDSU’s defense was suffocating, holding Hawaii to just 173 yards, forcing 2 fumbles and 2 turnovers on downs, and giving up just 3 drives of more than 10 yards. MWC foe Colorado State visits San Diego this weekend (TWC, 6:30pm).
9. Navy (2-3)
Last Week #12; This Week: Won 28-21 @ Air Force
Navy baby – tops of the losing record teams! If you didn’t know that Navy beat Air Force this weekend, kindly leave the blog and never come back. As usual, I won’t get into the details of the game. But let’s all take a moment to LOL one more time at Air Force’s uniforms for the game:
Let’s also take a moment to admire Navy’s #22 strength of schedule…because it’s about to go into freefall. The first team to cut into it will be Central Michigan, whom Navy visits for a Friday night primetime game (ESPN2, 8pm).
10. Houston (2-3)
Last Week #10; This Week: Won 44-21 vs. North Texas
That’s a two-game winning streak for the Cougars. Quarterback David Piland threw for 321 yards and 2 TDs on 31 of 41 passing and running back Charles Sims added another 210 yards and a TD on 21 carries. Of course, giving up 483 yards to North Texas is cause for concern and doesn’t bode well for extending the winning streak. Then again, 1-4 UAB (who is winless against D-1A competiton) is up next (FSN, noon).
11. SMU (2-3)
Last Week #11; This Week: Won 17-0 @ UTEP
SMU seems to be struggling to find themselves this year. June Jones’ offenses aren’t known for their running, but passing? They have to be better than a .500 passing team. Still, a win is a win, even if it is against a really bad team like UTEP. As an aside, it’s amazing how terrible C-USA West is – 6 teams have a combined 11 wins, with 5 of them coming from Tulsa. The Mustangs travel to winless Tulane this weekend (CSS, 1pm).
12. Memphis (1-4)
Last Week #13; This Week: Won 14-10 vs. Rice
For the second week in a row, Rice played the role of slumpbuster. It was not a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination. Combined, the teams had just 27 first downs, were 8 for 30 on 3rd downs, had 3 fumbles, and neither had over 250 yards of offense. It looked bleak for Memphis early, as Rice got out to a 10-0 halftime lead. But two 3rd quarter TD’s put Memphis in the lead for good as the Tigers’ defense did what it wanted in the 2nd half, yielding but 52 yards of offense. Memphis travels to ECU this weekend (CSS, 4:30pm).
13. USF (2-4)
Last Week #6; This Week: Lost 37-28 @ Temple
What can you say about this team? But for a furious rally against Nevada in the 2nd week of the season, the Bulls would be a 1-win team and winless against D-1A. The BJ Daniels thing was sort of a joke to start the season, but now it looks like Skip Holtz has a real mess on his hands. Perhaps they can use the bye this week to collect themselves as a visit to Louisville awaits.