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Big Big Weekend For The Big Big East

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SOUTH FLORIDA 26, AUBURN 23 (OT)

A huge victory for the Big East as a program that's been around all of 11 years goes on the road and beats the most successful SEC program of the last four years in an overtime thriller.

People can talk all they want about how no one plays any defense in the Big East, but USF won this game despite its kicker leaving 12 points on the field and some overly conservative red zone play calling because they own the best cornerback duo in the country in Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams, an absolute beast of a defensive end in George Selvie, and one of college football's most underrated linebackers in Ben Moffitt.

Brandon Cox taking snaps on the other side of the ball didn't hurt either.

I fully admit to not giving the Bulls a chance after hearing that Nick Capogna was out, but USF actually led Auburn in every offensive category, including rushing yards. Mike Ford ran for a bruising 74 yards and reaffirmed my belief that he, Noel Devine and LaSean McCoy will be duking it out for the title of best running back in the Big East in two years.

I would give young Matthew his "Gunner" nickname back, but that performance was beyond that of a scrappy freshman so for now he remains alias-less.

The win brought the Big East's record against the SEC to 6-0 since 2003, and 16-10 overall.

Kudos Bulls, even if the win did come at the expense of my perfect season.


The pom-pom chucking men in uniform make this video

USF gets the week off before Butch Davis and North Carolina come to Tamplona on Sept. 22.

CC Prediction: Auburn 24, South Florida 9

CINCINNATI 34, OREGON STATE 3 (Thursday)

One of the dozens of negatives surrounding "that game" four days ago was that it forced the average college football fan to tune into the theatrics on ESPN2 and miss the absolute defensive clinic being put on on the big network.

After being forced to sit through what we all had to sit through on Thursday, watching Cincinnati play (via the wonder of Tivo) four quarters of defense at that level was extremely humbling, and frankly sort of terrifying.

Corey Smith and the rest of the linebackers just fly all over the field, and after watching both play teams with solid running games this week, I think the Bearcat defensive line has passed Rutgers for the title of best in the Big East. And while Erick Wicks of WVU is a sensational blitzer and Rutgers' Courtney Greene is fantastic at defending the pass, Haruki Nakamura may just be the best overall safety in the conference.

Ben Mauk continued to put up solid numbers in his second game as practitioner of the Brian Kelly spread offense (which is bound to get better and better until he's whisked away somewhere else), hitting on 15 of 23 passes for 199 yards and two scores. Perhaps the scariest thing about this offense is that Greg Moore, who lit Louisville up on the ground last year, is buried behind Butler Benton and Jacob Ramsey on the depth chart. He did, however, catch two balls for 61 yards and a touchdown.

A surefire sign that it's your night: the freshman kicker who missed two extra points and a field goal last week buries a 56-yarder on his way to a flawless evening.

UC will try to avoid a letdown in a dangerous game at Miami of Ohio next Saturday.

CC Prediction: Cincinnati 24, Oregon State 19

RUTGERS 41, NAVY 24 (Friday)

I said it kind of jokingly last week, but, um...Mike Teel learned how to pass.

Ths missing link in the first half of last year's dream season, Teel was 14-of-19 for 266 yards and three scores. Sure Navy is kind of down this year, but more times than not Teel was hitting Britt, Underwood and company perfectly in stride, and when that's happening it doesn't make a bit of difference who you're playing. If he keeps this up then the Scarlet Knights might very well exceed the monumentally high bar they set a year ago.

Oh yeah, and that other guy became the school's all-time leading rusher by scampering for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

I was sort of surprised that Rutgers' defensive line gave up so many yards on the ground, but I suppose Navy's going to run on just about anyone, and 254 rushing yards is actually a below average night for the Middies. Linebacker Brandon Renkart gave everyone a scare when he injured his leg early in the game, but he did return and - to my knowledge - played the entire second half.

Teel and Rice will get the opportunity to watch their teammates for the better part of 30 minutes next weekend when Norfolk State comes to Piscataway.

CC Precition: Rutgers 34, Navy 16

WEST VIRGINIA 48, MARSHALL 23

Perhaps my prediction was a bit ambitious given that Marshall was finally hosting the game it had wanted for 97 years, but you could have thrown just about any somewhat plausible extenuating circumstance you wanted to at me and I still never would have foreseen the Thundering Herd taking a 13-6 lead into the locker room at halftime. I'm going to go out on a very crowded limb and say it's the last time we'll see Pat McAfee punt six times in a half this season.

What happened next was more predictable as the Mountaineers scored six touchdowns and White and Slaton both finished the game with over 100 yards rushing and multiple touchdowns.

In other news, have you seen Noel Devine? Good Lord. The absurdly talented freshman ran for 76 yards and two TD's on five carries.

"We've got to get Noel in the game sooner," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said after the game.

Decent problem to have.

Rodriguez will have to earn his paycheck by figuring out which potential All-American gets what number of touches when WVU plays at Maryland on Thursday night.

CC Prediction: West Virginia 55, Marshall 17

CONNECTICUT 38, MAINE 0

The Huskies dominated this battle of aesthetically pleasing New England States as QB Tyler Lorenzen threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 35 yards and another score.

Danny Lansanah, Scott Lutrus and the rest of the Connecticut D limited the Black Bears to 152 yards in the 73rd meeting between the former Yankee Conference rivals.

Uconn's horrifically easy non-con tour continues Saturday when Temple pays a visit to Rentschler.

CC Prediction: Connecticut 27, Maine 12

PITTSBURGH 34, GRAMBLING STATE 10

So much for this being a quarterback audition for the Michigan State game as Kevan Smith threw for 202 yards and a score while Pat Bostick barely saw the field and threw an interception on his only attempt.

Despite Bostick's struggles, a freshman did steal the show for Pitt as LaSean McCoy rushed for three touchdowns on his first four carries, and finished the game with 107 yards on the ground. The dazzling rookie saw increased carries after junior starter LaRod Stephens-Howling had his ribs bruised early in the game.

The Panther defense suffered a huge blow as starting defensive tackle Gus Mustakas tore his ACL, and will miss the remainder of the season. Mustakas became the fifth player to go down with a season-ending injury for a Pitt team also missing starting quarterback Bill Stull, who is out for about a month with a thumb injury.

The limping Wannstaches will have their hands full at Michigan State on Saturday.

CC Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Grambling State 7

IOWA 35, SYRACUSE 0

Really?

You've got an 11-year-old program going on the road and beating Auburn, a historically irrelevant Big East newbie blowing out Oregon State on national television, the rest of the conference holding serve, and that's what you brought?

We'll talk about this later, go wait in the car.

CC Prediction: Iowa 24, Syracuse 20

Wanna fight about it?

Week two record: 7-1

Overall record: 15-1