|Louisville barely beat Southern Miss Saturday, but, in fairness, the game was played in a pool. (AP)|
Here's CBSSports.com's Rapid Reports Big East power ranking:
1. Louisville (5-0, 0-0 Big East): At this point, inertia is really the only thing keeping the Cardinals at the top. Louisville struggled mightily on the road against winless Southern Mississippi on Saturday, winning 21-17 after a late touchdown in rain-soaked Hattiesburg. The Cardinals again showed a tendency to sleepwalk through most of the game against a far inferior opponent, something that must cease once conference play begins. Also, Louisville's defense, especially against the run, looks pretty beatable. Last week's power ranking: 1. Next up: at Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 13.
2. Rutgers (4-0, 1-0 Big East): The Scarlet Knights were off last weekend, so it was difficult to justify their jumping of Louisville. They will have a prime opportunity this week, however, with the Cardinals idle. An impressive Rutgers victory could vault coach Kyle Flood's team to the top spot. Last week's power ranking: 2. Next up: vs. Connecticut, Saturday, noon ET (ESPNU).
3. Cincinnati (3-0, 1-0 Big East): An exciting victory Saturday over a down Virginia Tech team keeps the Bearcats near the top. Cincy has a row of cupcakes before an Oct. 26 Friday night matchup at Louisville, a game that could feature two undefeated teams. Last week's power ranking: 3. Next up: vs. Miami (Ohio), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3).
4. Pittsburgh (2-2, 0-1 Big East): The Panthers are an interesting case. After losing their opener at home to Youngstown State and getting blown out at Cincinnati, Pitt has won two straight. Now that running back Ray Graham appears to be back to full strength, the offense is clicking and the Panthers may surprise some teams. Last week's power ranking: 4. Next up: at Syracuse, Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN).
5. South Florida (2-3, 0-1 Big East): It wouldn't be fair to punish the Bulls for their home loss to No. 4 Florida State, but they certainly don't deserve any praise. USF is, frankly, not playing well at all. It's starting to get a little noisy in Tampa, as some believe that perhaps coach Skip Holtz is to blame. Last week's power ranking: 5. Next up: at Temple, Saturday, noon ET (Big East Network).
6. Connecticut (3-2, 0-0 Big East): The Huskies didn't play their best game Saturday -- hopefully -- but they did come away with a victory over Buffalo. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer is showing some signs of improvement, and if the offense can match a strong defense, UConn won't be such a push-over. As it is now, the Huskies look as if they will struggle in conference play. Last week's power ranking: 6. Next up: Saturday, at Rutgers, noon ET (ESPNU).
7. Syracuse (1-3, 0-0 Big East): The Orange were off Saturday, so they weren't able to jump Connecticut, though that could come this week. The Orange have a winnable game Friday night, as they host a Pittsburgh team which -- like Syracuse -- is still trying to figure it all out. Last week's power ranking: 7. Next up: vs. Pittsburgh, Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN).
8. Temple (1-2, 0-0 Big East): The Owls, too, had the week off, and they hopefully used the extra time to figure out an offense. The Owls have been close a few times this season, but they've yet to put together a full game. Last week's power ranking: 8. Next up: vs. South Florida, Saturday, noon ET (Big East Network).
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski@CBSBigEast.