What we learned in the Big East: Week 3

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
10:00
AM ET
What did we learn in the Big East this weekend?

1. The Big East in its current form will no longer exist. The biggest news Saturday was not what happened on the field. Pitt and Syracuse have elected to join the ACC, throwing the conference into shambles. Commissioner John Marinatto, in Maryland for the West Virginia game, spent his time on the phone trying to figure out how to keep his conference solvent. That is the next step. A lot of that depends on what happens with the Big 12. But he has got to convince his members that the league is salvageable before others try and jump ship, too. If 16-team superconferences are the way of the future, the Big East could be raided into oblivion. It is every program for themselves. Conference loyalty means absolutely nothing. Look at Syracuse, a founding member of the Big East. The twin moves are an unquestioned blow to the league.

[+] EnlargeDoug Marrone
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillUSC crushed Doug Marrone's Syracuse team on the day the Orange applied to leave the Big East for the ACC.
2. Karma works. Syracuse and Pitt lost on the same day they potentially wrecked the Big East. Is that some sort of cosmic justice? Somehow, Pitt blew a 24-3 lead in a loss to Iowa, and the USC offense played the way everybody anticipated in a win over Syracuse. These were two big measuring stick games for the Big East against quality opponents and neither one delivered. But maybe Big East fans are happy about that.

3. West Virginia is ready for LSU. Not without a little scare from Maryland, mind you. The Mountaineers got off to the fast start coach Dana Holgorsen wanted, but they saw a 34-10 lead whittled away to 34-31 in the fourth quarter. Geno Smith and the offense responded with a field goal, and Eain Smith sealed the game with an interception. The Mountaineers rolled up 480 yards of offense and the offensive line played better. If there is one area of concern it is probably the running game. West Virginia had 90 yards and averaged 3 yards a carry. That line is going to be in for a major, major challenge against a ferocious, aggressive LSU defensive front.

4. Louisville has a future star. Maybe even two future stars. Teddy Bridgewater and Dominique Brown played one terrific game in helping the Cardinals upset Kentucky 24-17. When Will Stein went down with a shoulder injury, nobody really knew what to expect out of Bridgewater. He had played two series combined in two games, going 2-of-3 for 14 yards with an interception. But he did not make any critical mistakes and looked poised, directing two touchdown drives and doing enough to break a four-game losing streak to Kentucky.

5. Overmatched opponents are not a problem. Cincinnati and USF easily dispatched their overmatched opponents on Saturday. The Bearcats have now beaten Austin Peay and Akron by a combined 131-14, while USF has beaten Ball State and Florida A&M 107-24. Cincinnati gets a much bigger test with short rest, playing NC State on Thursday night. We will see whether the team that played Akron or the team that played at Tennessee shows up.

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