Big East Power Rankings: Week Two
It’s hard to determine how good Temple is based on a 41-10 season-opening victory an overmatched Villanova squad.
And we probably won’t find out in Saturday's game against Maryland. But the Owls moved up one spot due to Pitt dropping from fourth to eighth place after a humiliating loss to Youngstown State, a Football Championship Subdivision school. Ouch!
While Temple rushed for 301 yards versus the FCS Wildcats, it must improve its passing game and limit the big plays it yielded on defense to beat the likes of Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and Cincinnati.
Here’s a look at my power rankings:
1. LOUISVILLE (1-0)
Skinny: Crushing rival Kentucky 32-14 on Sunday, No. 25 Louisville showed why it is regarded as one of the nation’s premier programs. Teddy Bridgewater also lived up to being recognized as the conference’s best player. The sophomore quarterback completed 19 of 21 passes for 232 yards before sitting out the fourth quarter.
Up next: vs. Missouri State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday
2. RUTGERS (1-0)
Skinny: Rutgers didn’t receive any style points while winning the inaugural game of the Kyle Flood era. The Scarlet Knights relied heavily on rushing the ball and defense to beat Tulane, 24-12, Saturday night at the Superdome. Linebacker Khaseem Green, last season’s Big East co-defensive player of the year, finished with 14 tackles.
Up next: vs. Howard at 3:30 p.m. Saturday
3. SOUTH FLORIDA (1-0)
Skinny: South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels is the reason why the Bulls are ahead of Cincinnati and Temple. But he’s also the reason why they remain behind Rutgers. The four-year starter completed 17 of 26 pass for 265 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s 34-13 victory over Chattanooga. He also rushed for a 20-yard scoring run. But after completing 15 of his first 18 passes, Daniels finished just 2 of 8. His fumble and interception led to 10 Chattanooga points.
Up next: at Nevada at 3:30 p.m. Saturday
4. CINCINNATI (0-0)
Skinny: Cincinnati moved up one spot without playing a game. The new-look Bearcats open the season Thursday night against Pittsburgh. Cincinnati must replace running back Isaiah Pead (2011 conference offensive player of the year), defensive tackle Derek Wolfe (conference co-defensive player of the year), and quarterback Zach Collaros (two-time all-conference selection).
Up next: vs. Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. Thursday
5. TEMPLE (1-0)
Skinny: Temple did what was expected Friday night – pound Villanova. Matt Brown rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown as the Owls coasted to a 41-10 victory over their cross-town rival. Expect Temple to do much of the same Saturday against a woeful Maryland squad. The Owls, who only return nine starters, will not get tested until Sept. 22 at Penn State.
Up next: vs. Maryland at 12 p.m. Saturday
6. CONNECTICUT (1-0)
Skinny: Connecticut scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in Thursday’s 37-0 victory over Massachusetts. Posting just three first down, the Minutemen failed to move the ball past midfield. I was tempted to move UConn ahead of Temple until I remembered that this is the same UMass team that Villanova crushed a year ago.
Up next: vs. N.C. State at 12 p.m. Saturday
7. SYRACUSE (0-1)
Skinny: Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib completed 44 of 65 passes for 470 yards – all schools records – to go with four touchdowns in Saturday’s 42-41 setback to Northwestern. The great performance earned the Malvern Prep product conference-offensive-player-of-the-week honors. But Syracuse extended its losing streak to six games, dating back to last season.
Up next: vs. Southern California in MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday
8. PITTSBURGH (0-1)
Skinny: Perhaps the Big East is elated that Pittsburgh will become the Atlantic Coast Conference’s problem after this season. The Panthers dropped four spots in the rankings after suffering a 31-17 setback to Youngstown State. It was Pitt’s first loss to a Football Championship Subdivision member.
Up next: at Cincinnati at 8 p.m. Thursday