NCF Nation: review/
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Put some backspin on it.
Team of the week: South Florida. The Bulls won a Big East road game and cracked the polls for the first time this season, joining Cincinnati as the only league teams to be ranked in 2009.
Best game: Slim pickings from a short week. I guess the honor will go to West Virginia's 35-24 win over Colorado, which at least featured a lot of big plays.
Biggest play: For the second week in a row, it's a Cincinnati interception in the red zone. This time JK Schaffer saved the Bearcats from having a really tight game on their hands by picking off a Miami pass in the end zone late in the third quarter.
Best call: And for the second straight week, it's a pass play dialed up by South Florida's Mike Canales. This time, he opened the second half with a play action bomb that resulted in B.J. Daniels' 85-yard touchdown pass to Carlton Mitchell. That set the tone for the rest of the game.
Big Man on Campus (Offense): Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia. He was nearly unstoppable against Colorado, running for 220 yards on 22 carries, including a 77-yard score.
Big Man on Campus (Defense): Nate Allen, S, South Florida. He had eight tackles and a pair of interceptions at Syracuse to continue his strong season.
Big Man on Campus (Special teams): Scott Kozlowski, P, West Virginia. Kozlowski averaged 48 yards on four kicks, including a 56-yarder.
Worst Hangover: Louisville. The Cardinals were geeked up to beat Pitt, breaking out new uniforms and staging a black-out in front of a sold-out crowd. The fans wished they could black out the second half, in which the Panthers outscored Louisville 24-0.
Strangest moment: On two separate occasions in the first quarter of the Syracuse-South Florida game, one team turned the ball over only to have the other team give it back on the very next snap.
OK, time to pay it forward. (games listed in descending order of interest and importance):
Connecticut (3-1) at Pittsburgh (4-1, 1-0 Big East): Could be an early contender elimination game. We'll found out which of these teams is a serious threat in the league race.
West Virginia (3-1) at Syracuse (2-3, 0-1): The Mountaineers have owned Syracuse the past several years, but the Orange are a bit feistier these days.
Southern Mississippi (3-2) at Louisville (1-3, 0-1): Two old-school rivals meet, and that's appropriate because Louisville has been playing like it's back in the mid-1980s again.
Texas Southern (1-4) at Rutgers (3-1, 0-1): I will pay attention to this game because it's part of my job. Anyone else doing so will need a similar excuse.
Byes: Cincinnati, South Florida