Big East power rankings, Week 13: A 1 vs. 2 showdown

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
You know it's a good week when No. 1 vs. 2 is on the schedule.

1. Cincinnati (8-2, 4-1): Are the Bearcats the team of destiny in this league or what? They've used five different quarterbacks and forced two large monkeys (West Virginia and Louisville) to dismount off their spinal columns. Now comes another team they've never beaten in league play, Pittsburgh, for a high-stakes showdown.

2. Pittsburgh (7-2, 3-1): There's no doubt which side should be fresher this week at Nippert Stadium. Panthers used the bye week to get some extra preparation time, while Cincinnati has played three straight emotional games.

3. West Virginia (6-3, 3-1): Last time the Mountaineers had a week off, they responded with a big performance in beating Auburn. If they come anywhere near that level of play this time, they should win at Louisville. That would move them into a two-way tie for first place after the weekend is over. West Virginia fans will have to hold their nose and root for Pitt this weekend.

4. Rutgers (5-5, 4-2): No one in the league is playing better than Rutgers right now. The Scarlet Knights have won their last three games by an average score of 46-22. Big East teams that got to play them early in the schedule must be feeling pretty thankful.

5. Connecticut (7-3, 3-2): The most welcome stat for Randy Edsall on Saturday was this: zero turnovers by the Huskies. With Tyler Lorenzen back, UConn could finish strong if it keeps avoiding mistakes.

6. Louisville (5-5, 1-4): Speaking of mistakes, the Cardinals have been their own worst enemy most of this season. Bad penalties, missed field goals, failed fourth down plays, and untimely turnovers have been the norm. Their only Big East win came against ...

7. South Florida (6-4, 1-4): The Bulls were the trendy pick to win the Big East championship this summer, but they aren't even going to finish with a winning record in the conference. They have to be ranked this low, because the only team they've beaten is ...

8. Syracuse (2-8, 1-5): I've run out of words to describe Syracuse, so I'll just steal a line from Tracy Morgan on last week's "30 Rock." Orange football is "like an owl without a graduation cap ... heartbreaking."