Week 11 review/Week 12 preview

November, 16, 2009
11/16/09
8:21
AM ET
Like the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" story line about the "Seinfeld" reunion, let's indulge in some nostalgia. Rewind:

Team of the week: Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights put on a wow-worthy display Thursday night by crushing South Florida 31-0. They're back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in more than two years.

Best game: For the second straight week, Cincinnati had to recover an onside kick in the final minute to hold off an upset bid. This time, it was in a 24-21 win over West Virginia.

Biggest play: Pitt's Greg Romeus forced a fumble by Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen with 2:10 left to preserve a 27-22 win for the Panthers. Or did he?

Best call: I'm not sure about "best," but the biggest calls of the weekend were both made by Big East replay officials. First, on Friday night, they overturned a fumble call on the field and awarded Cincinnati a touchdown in a tight game. On Saturday, they overruled the call on the field of an incompletion by Clausen and said it was a fumble, sealing the game for Pitt. Whether those were the right calls remain up for debate, but it was at least curious that the highly-ranked Big East teams got the favorable ruling each time.

Big Man on Campus (Offense): Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead rushed for a career best 175 yards on 18 carries, including a key 43-yard gain in the fourth quarter to set up a clinching field goal.

Big Man on Campus (Defense): Pitt's Jabaal Sheard was a menace all night, badly beating Notre Dame right tackle Sam Young for two tackles for loss, a sack and four hurries of Clausen.

Big Man on Campus (Special teams): Rutgers' Devin McCourty blocked a punt and forced a fumble on a punt return in a 31-0 win over South Florida.

Worst hangover: West Virginia. The Mountaineers aren't used to being eliminated from the Big East race by the second week of November. West Virginia fans aren't used to hoping everything breaks just right so they can get to Charlotte for bowl season. Alas, that's the reality in Morgantown.

Strangest moment: In a game full of mistakes and futility, referee Pat Garvey stole the show in Louisville's 10-9 win over Syracuse.

A flag came down as Louisville's Josh Chichester caught a pass in the end zone in the third quarter. The back judge signaled pass interference on Chichester. Both teams walked back to the line of scrimmage. But then Garvey announced pass interference on the defense and signaled touchdown. The crowd cheered, and fireworks shot off at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Both teams went to the sideline.

A few moments later, Garvey turned his mic back on to announce that he was mistaken, and that it was indeed pass interference on the offense. Let's just say nobody was in top form in this game.

Now it's time to look ahead to Week 12, and enthusiasm for this lackluster slate has already been curbed (Games listed in descending order of importance and interest):

Connecticut (4-5, 1-4 Big East) at Notre Dame (6-4): UConn can make the Big East 4-0 in the past two years against the Golden Domers, and help the league's bowl picture in the process, with a win in South Bend.

Rutgers (7-2, 2-2) at Syracuse (3-7, 0-5): The program that bills itself as New York's college team vs. the one that fancies itself as New York City's team.

Louisville (4-6, 1-4) at South Florida (6-3, 2-3): Louisville has never won in Tampa and will be heavy underdogs again even against a disappointing Bulls team.

Bye: Cincinnati, Pitt, West Virginia

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