Big East power rankings, Week 9


Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

1. Cincinnati (7-0, 3-0 Big East): The Bearcats' margin of victory in three Big East games is 26.7 points. That is called pure dominance. Up next on the hit list: Syracuse.

2. Pittsburgh (7-1, 4-0): Another impressive thing about Pitt's palindromic 41-14 pounding of South Florida: it was the eighth straight game without a break for the Panthers. They get their first bye this week and can rest up for a run at the BCS in the final four games. Three of which, by the way, are at Heinz Field.

3. West Virginia (6-1, 2-0): Head coach Bill Stewart had this to say about the misdirection Connecticut caused with its uncharacteristic heavy blitzing on Saturday: "I was confused. That'll make all my fans happy. Dummy was confused.'' Dumb like a fox. Stewart is 8-1 his last nine games, after all.

4. Connecticut (4-3, 1-2): UConn has led in the fourth quarter of all three of its losses. Pitt needed a last-second field goal to beat the Huskies and then stomped South Florida by 27, which is why Connecticut gets the nod over the Bulls.

5. South Florida (5-2, 1-2): Wonder if Bulls fans are still objecting to my assertion last week that the South Florida offense was mostly a paper tiger? If not for a meaningless touchdown against Pitt's third-teamers with 11 seconds left, the Bulls would have scored only seven points against Pitt. They are averaging just 20.5 points per game against BCS opponents.

6. Rutgers (5-2, 0-2): There wasn't much in the Scarlet Knights' 17-point win at Army that made the case they are ready to win Big East road games. That's what they'll have to do this week at UConn.

7. Syracuse (3-4, 0-2): Before the season, I thought 5-7 was the ceiling for this team in Doug Marrone's first year. That still looks to be about right. The next two -- Cincinnati at home and Pitt on the road -- are high hurdles, but the final three -- at Louisville, Rutgers and at UConn -- present some opportunities.

8. Louisville (2-5, 0-3): It has now officially been more than a year since Louisville beat a Big East team or notched a victory over a BCS opponent. I was in the press box for that win over South Florida last Oct. 25; had I known at the time it would be such an historic occasion, I might have taken some pictures or something.