Big East Week 1 review/Week 2 preview

September, 8, 2009
9/08/09
7:44
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett


The weekly review and preview usually runs on Monday, but since there was kind of a big game yesterday, here it is now.

First, a rewind:

Team of the week: Cincinnati. If you have to ask why, you're probably reading the wrong blog.

Best game: There weren't a ton of close games this week, so Syracuse's 23-20 overtime loss to Minnesota takes this honor easily. Throw in the suspense and Greg Paulus's debut, and it made for gripping viewing.

Biggest play: Paulus's interception in overtime. Tough break for a guy who played pretty well under the circumstances, but Syracuse hopes he'll learn from the mistake.

Big Man on Campus (Offense): Tony Pike, Cincinnati. He was 27-of-34 for 362 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the 47-15 win at Rutgers, and he didn't even play the fourth quarter.

Big Man on Campus (Defense): Lindsey Witten, Connecticut. The senior defensive end had three sacks and a key safety to help the Huskies down Ohio 23-16.

Big Man on Campus (Special teams): Tyler Bitancurt, West Virginia. Stepping in this year for Pat McAfee, he made all four of his field goals in a 33-20 victory over Liberty.

Worst Hangover: Rutgers. A season that held so much promise, an expanded stadium holding a record crowd and a general buzz around the program all dissipated in about two quarters on Monday.

Strangest Moment: After taking a 10-7 lead over Indiana State with a second-quarter touchdown, Louisville was flagged for an excessive celebration penalty. Anything more than a smile at that point should have been considered excessively celebrating.

Now on to our preview of Week 2, which includes a couple of important games against teams from the Carolinas and maybe the highest-ranked opponent the Big East will see all year:

East Carolina (1-0) at West Virginia (1-0): The Mountaineers have been waiting for this game for a year after last year's humbling loss in Greenville. It will be a good test of how much their toughness has improved.

North Carolina (1-0) at Connecticut (1-0): The ACC has been struggling, and this would be a good win for the Big East if the Huskies can take down the Top 25 Tar Heels.

Syracuse (0-1) at Penn State (1-0): Obviously, this is a very, very difficult assignment for the Orange. Staying within a couple of touchdowns would help their respectability factor.

Pittsburgh (1-0) at Buffalo (1-0): A road game that probably would have been more challenging last year when Drew Willy was playing. The Bulls, however, did go on the road to beat UTEP last week.

South Florida (1-0) at Western Kentucky (0-1): It's weird that South Florida is actually going to Bowling Green for maybe the biggest home game ever for the Hilltoppers. Should be a happy trip, however.

Southeast Missouri State (1-0) at Cincinnati (1-0): Early scoreboard watching. Southeast Missouri State beat Quincy 72-3. Quincy beat Indiana State in overtime. Indiana State lost by 20 to Louisville. If Cincinnati beats Southeast Missouri by 20 points, does that make the Bearcats 50 points better than Louisville?

Howard (0-0) at Rutgers (0-1): Howard hasn't played yet, which gives the Bison the element of surprise and ... oh, who am I kidding? This will be a terrible game, and only the most diehard Rutgers fan will want to watch.

Bye: Louisville

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