What we learned in the Big East, Week 4


Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
1. Rutgers is in full meltdown. Things looked bad after two games in Piscataway. But wait, it gets worse. The Scarlet Knights fell at Navy, 23-21, to go 0-3. Quarterback Mike Teel took a swing at teammate Glen Lee after throwing yet another interception. Yikes. With the hardest league schedule of any Big East team still remaining, Rutgers will be hard pressed to win even four games this year.

2. The Cincinnati offense is just fine, thanks. Tony Pike wasn't just adequate in his first career start in place of injured Dustin Grutza. The junior quarterback was outstanding in completing 20 of his 24 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The 6-foot-6 Pike even showed the ability to scramble and run for positive gain. Now we just have to wonder why the Bearcats' defense isn't more dominant.

3. Tyler Lorenzen is still too shaky. The Connecticut senior quarterback appeared to put his turnover problems behind him in the Virginia game. Then he went out and tossed two more interceptions against Baylor. The Huskies simply cannot reach their goals if Lorenzen keeps making those kinds of mistakes. They haven't had to pay for them yet because they haven't seen a really good defense. Wait until South Florida or Cincinnati's defensive backs get a shot at Lorenzen's ill-advised throws. Or even Louisville's improved defense this Friday. Donald Brown can't keep doing it all himself.

4. South Florida isn't dominant yet. It was easy to predict that the Bulls would suffer a case of the blahs at Florida International after two emotional games. But the 17-9 win over a team that had lost 25 of its previous 26 was more than just a letdown. Here's what Jim Leavitt said about the Bulls' performance:

"The mistakes we made offensively. Un-be-lievable. That's junior high stuff. I know our players don't want to do that, we have to figure out how to coach them better.

We made every mistake you can possibly make. Could you make more than we did tonight? Boy, you'd have to work at it.

We just messed around the whole game, I don't know. There's no excuses, there really isn't. If we want to be a real good team, we have to find out a way to change."

USF won, but great teams take care of business and blow out these kinds of teams.

5. The race is on. South Florida, despite its poor performance, still remains the favorite in the Big East race. But five other teams could conceivably finish No. 2 or even win the league if the Bulls falter. That became evident this week when: West Virginia proved it's no longer the force of old; Louisville came to life offensively against Kansas State; Pittsburgh showed a pulse versus Iowa; Cincinnati bounced back from the Oklahoma loss and Grutza injury; and Connecticut struggled to contain Baylor's speed but still won. Only Rutgers and Syracuse can be counted out of contention as Big East play opens this weekend.