Pittsburgh Panthers Still Team to Beat in Big East: CFB Power Rankings, Week 2

Dan Kelley@DanKelleyWritesCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2010

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13:  Runningback Noel Devine #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers rushes in the second quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats in at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No. 1—Pittsburgh Panthers

The Panthers’ drop from the top 25 after their Week a loss to Utah was nothing short of insanity. An overtime loss to the Utes, on their home field no less, is nothing to get bent out of shape over, but somehow the college football world has already written off Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh is still the most talented team in this league, and with its conference brethren looking more and more mediocre by the day, there’s no reason to think the Panthers are no longer the favorites. 


No. 2—West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers are one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the conference right now, but their overtime win at Marshall has to have West Virginia fans concerned.

They needed a two-touchdown rally in the fourth quarter and then overtime to put away the Thundering Herd—a team they’ve never lost to.

Geno Smith looks like a fine quarterback, but they’ve got serious question marks with their defense and offensive line.


No. 3—Connecticut Huskies

The loss at Michigan was ugly—there is no doubt about that.

But, a week later, after seeing the way Denard Robinson shredded Notre Dame’s defense as well, the loss looks slightly less devastating.

This Saturday, in a season that has been friendly to FCS teams so far (including James Madison’s win over Virginia Tech, which was thoroughly enjoyable), UConn went out and punished Texas Southern, 62-3.

The score could have been much, much worse too. UConn went into the half up 45-0, but Randy Edsall let up on the gas in the second half. 


No. 4—South Florida Bulls

Early on, it looked like USF was going to be able to hang around with the Gators.

That was, until B.J. Daniels forgot what colors his team was wearing.

Daniels' day against the Gators was absolutely abysmal through the air. He led the team in rushing with 107 yards, sure. But for a quarterback, it doesn’t come close to making up for his 25 percent completion rate (5-20) or his four interceptions (only one fewer than his total completions).

Factoring in the turnover problem, the Bulls' defense didn’t do too badly, but then again, it was up against a Florida team that had trouble moving the ball against Miami of Ohio last week. 


No. 5—Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats might have been the most disrespected team in the nation coming into the season.

After back-to-back BCS appearances, including an undefeated regular season just last year, Cincinnati was, inexplicably, nowhere to be seen in the preseason top 25.

I’d still call that a case of disrespect, rather than knowing something that everyone else didn’t, but as it turns out, Cincinnati probably isn’t a top 25 team.

The offense still looks loaded on paper, but the line is too weak and could stifle their playmakers all year. 


No. 6—Syracuse Orange

After picking up the league’s only win against an FBS team in Week 1, the Orange went into a tough environment in Washington and got beat pretty solidly.

Jake Locker and receiver Jermaine Kearse exposed the Orange secondary and once the passing game got clicking, the rest of the offense took off for Washington.

There were still some positives for Syracuse, as Ryan Nassib and receiver Van Chew both had decent games, and Delone Carter improved on his Week 1 performance, rushing for 91 yards on 18 carries. 


No. 7—Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Despite being the only other undefeated team after West Virginia, it feels like Rutgers may deserve some consideration for eighth in this power-ranking.

Through two weeks, the Rutgers offense is undoubtedly the worst looking in the league. Against FIU this weekend, it was dominated in almost every important statistical category.

The Scarlet Knights compiled only eight first downs, they were two of 13 on third down, they managed only 172 total yards (96 passing, 76 rushing), and they lost the time of possession battle.

Meanwhile, their defense gave up 371 yards of total offense to FIU.

Despite the fact that FIU turned the ball over five times and racked up 126 yards in penalties, it still took a lead into the fourth quarter of the game.

One or two fewer turnovers from FIU, and the Scarlet Knights would likely be 1-1 right now, with their only win coming over FCS program Norfolk State. 


No. 8—Louisville Cardinals

The Cards have to be excited about the Charlie Strong Era beginning, but they’re going to have to accept remaining in the league’s basement for the time being.

After rallying in Week 1 to make a loss to Kentucky more respectable, Louisville picked up its first win of the season this week, 23-13 over Eastern Kentucky, who a week ago was demolished 31-9 by Missouri State.

The Cardinals will take the wins wherever they can get them, but they clearly still have a long way to go. 


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