Welp. Rutgers is no longer part of the New Big East. Too many people will write too many words on this, so I’m not going to say much. Someone else will probably leave – all signs point to Louisville or UConn. But honestly, unless the ACC makes their $50M buyout stick to Maryland, the Big East isn’t the only conference in trouble. For as much strength as John Swofford got by wresting Notre Dame away from the Big East and any overtures from the B1G, he lost it by having a founding member split for cash. So the NBE rankings bid farewell to Rutgers and now has 12 teams.
Anyway, it’s Thanksgiving Day, so we’re going to be quick about the rankings this week. Think of these as the twitter version of the rankings – short and missing all the details.
1. Louisville (9-1)
Last Week #2; This Week: Bye
Leave it to conference realignment to add subtext to an otherwise ho-hum game this week when the Cardinals host UConn. “Sources” say the ACC is looking at both as options to replace Maryland (Big East Network, Noon).
2. SDSU (8-3)
Last Week #5; This Week: Bye
If the Aztecs take care of business at Wyoming, the worst they can finish is tied atop the MWC with one conference loss (although Fresno State holds the head-to-head tiebreaker). Wyoming has won 3 in a row – against teams with a combined 5 wins – after losing 7 of their first 8 (Time Warner Sportsnet, 3:30pm).
3. Boise State (9-2)
Last Week #6; This Week: Won 42-14 vs. Colorado State
The Broncos have a bye week this week before they finish off the season with a trip to reeling Nevada, loser of 3 of their last 4, on December 1st. Like SDSU, Boise can finish with one loss, leaving three tied at the top of the Mountain West and me with no clue how they break that tie.
4. Cincinnati (7-3)
Last Week #3; This Week: Lost 10-3 vs. Rutgers
The Bearcats were punished by Rutgers backup running back Savon Huggins to the tune of 179 yards on 41 carries. QB Brandon Kay, in his 2nd start since replacing Munchie Legaux, threw two interceptions. Cincinnati hosts USF this Friday evening (ESPN, 7pm).
5. UCF (8-3)
Last Week #4; This Week: Lost 23-21 at Tulsa
Tulsa gained the upper hand for home field advantage in the C-USA title game by holding on to beat the Knights in a game that featured 15 combined punts. UCF will get that rematch as long as they beat UAB this weekend (FSN, Noon).
6. Navy (7-4)
Last Week #7; This Week: Won 21-10 vs. Texas State
It was a really weird game. Fullback Noah Copeland ran for 110 yards and 2 TD’s, Navy ran for over 400 yards as a team…and never really put it away. But the Midshipmen have won 6 of their last 7 and get a few weeks to prepare for the Army-Navy game on December 8th.
7. UConn (4-6)
Last Week #9; This Week: Bye
UConn has to play spoiler to Louisville to keep bowl hopes alive. The Huskies are 12-point dogs and have scored more than two touchdowns just once in their last 5 games (Big East Network, Noon).
8. SMU (5-6)
Last Week 8; This Week: Lost 26-14 at Rice
Rice’s Chris Boswell connected on five field goals, including three from beyond 50 yards. This game should have been an easier win for SMU than their final opponent – Tulsa – whom they visit Saturday with a bowl game trip on the line (FX, Noon).
9. Temple (4-6)
Last Week #12; This Week: Won 63-32 at Army
Montel Harris rebounded from a knee injury to shred the Army defense for 351 yards and 7 touchdowns (both of which are Big East records for a single game). While there’s no bowl hopes for the Owls, they can finish the season on a winning streak by beating Syracuse Saturday (ESPN2, 11:00am).
10. Houston (4-7)
Last Week #10; This Week: Lost 44-41 at Marshall
Marshall ended Houston’s bowl hopes when Thundering Herd kicker Justin Haig booted a 45-yard field goal with 7 seconds left. The Cougars host Tulane this weekend (FSN, 3:30pm).
11. USF (3-7)
Last Week #11; This Week: Lost 40-9 at Miami (FL)
Skip Holtz’s squad has lost 7 of 8 with the last being a particularly bad defensive showing – the Hurricanes had 548 total yards. With Cincinnati and Pitt left, a 9-loss season is highly likely. Cincinnati is first on Friday (ESPN, 7pm).
12. Memphis (3-8)
Last Week #13; This Week: Won 46-9 at UAB
Memphis improved to 3-4 in CUSA with a drubbing of the Blazers last weekend. To be honest, I thought Memphis was a 2-win team this year – after all, since their bowl game in 2008, they’ve won 2, 1, and 2 games. They could double my expectations AND send 0-11 Southern Miss to a winless season this weekend (CSS, 4:30pm).