What we learned in the Big East, Week 6
What we learned in Week 6 of the Big East:
1. The Big East is one big jumbled mess.
South Florida, supposedly the league's best team, fell on its face at home. Connecticut got bombed on the road. There are no unbeatens left in the league and there won't be any Top 15 teams by Sunday afternoon. Except for Rutgers and Syracuse, everybody has a chance to win the conference. Who's the Big East's best team? Who knows?
2. Pittsburgh is back ... maybe.
It's dangerous to suggest the Panthers turned a corner by beating South Florida on Thursday night. A lot of people thought last year's season-ending upset of West Virginia was a program changer -- and then Pitt went out and lost this year's opener to Bowling Green. The Panthers are always going to live on the edge with their style of play. But with a 2-0 league mark and young team that seems to be getting more confident each week, they are once again relevant in the Big East.
3. West Virginia isn't back ... yet.
The Mountaineers had shown signs of breaking out on offense and building a dominant defense the past couple of weeks. Saturday's 24-17 victory over Rutgers at home did little to inspire more confidence. The offense scored just once after halftime, and quarterback Pat White didn't finish the game for the second straight week. He got hit in the head and was to be examined for a possible concussion. The defense gave up too many points to a struggling Rutgers offense and will now be without one of its best players, middle linebacker Reed Williams, for the rest of the season. This still isn't the powerful West Virginia of the past few years.
4. Cincy boys can survive.
I should have known better than to pick against Brian Kelly in any game in which Cincinnati has better or equal talent. Even with Plan D at quarterback in freshman Chazz Anderson, the Bearcats put together maybe their best overall game in a 33-10 spanking of host Marshall. Their last three wins -- Miami of Ohio and Akron were the other two -- won't get anybody's blood boiling. But as Cincinnati finally enters league play this week against Rutgers, Kelly's team has as good a chance as anyone of winning this conference.
5. South Florida and Connecticut have warts.
The Bulls and Huskies were the only Big East teams to play each of the first six weeks, and both looked worse for the wear in Week 6. Luckily, each has a much-needed bye week now to rest up and shore up some trouble spots. South Florida needs to learn how to avoid mental lapses and tighten up a secondary that's giving up too many big plays. Connecticut needs to integrate quarterback Zach Frazer's downfield passing abilities into its offense and get him more reps with the first team offense. If they can get fresh and righted, both teams will still be major factors in the second half.