|Montel Harris (8) and Kenneth Harper celebrate the Temple Owls' rise up the Big East power ranking. (US Presswire)|
Here's CBSSports.com's Rapid Reports Big East power ranking:
1. Louisville (6-0, 1-0 Big East): After two unimpressive road wins over Florida International and Southern Mississippi, the Cardinals showed their true colors Saturday morning at Pittsburgh. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was again in control, but the Louisville run game was similarly potent, as running back Senorise Perry powered in four touchdowns. If the run game can rise to meet Bridgewater's efficiency through the air, the Cardinals' offense will be absolutely terrifying -- as opposed to just terrifying. Last week's power ranking: 1. Next up: vs. South Florida, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
2. Rutgers (6-0, 3-0 Big East): The Scarlet Knights could just as easily be in the top spot as Louisville, and that matter may not be resolved until the last game of the season. Though they haven't done quite enough to leap-frog the Cardinals, Rutgers appears to be just as formidable. Coach Kyle Flood has a dominant defense, led by linebacker Khaseem Greene, who has been the best defender in the conference -- by far -- at the midway point of the season. Last week's power ranking: 2. Next up: at Temple, Saturday, noon ET (Big East Network).
3. Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0 Big East): The Bearcats blasted Fordham last weekend, and, really, it's tough to predict where coach Butch Jones' team is at this point. They are clearly one of the top three in the conference, but their best wins (Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh) may turn out not that great overall. Cincinnati has a tricky one this weekend on the road against a 6-1 Toledo team whose only loss came to Arizona in overtime. Cincy doesn't want to get caught looking ahead to its road trip to face Louisville the following week. Last week's power ranking: 3. Next up: at. Toledo, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3).
4. Temple (3-2, 2-0 Big East): The Owls are climbing up the rankings after an overtime win at Connecticut last weekend. Running back Montel Harris is showing flashes of returning to form from his days at Boston College, as he rushed for 142 yards on 30 carries against a stout UConn run defense. Temple hasn't lost in its return to the Big East yet, but the Owls will have their hands full Saturday with Rutgers. Last week's power ranking: 6. Next up: vs. Rutgers, Saturday, noon ET (Big East Network).
5. Syracuse (2-4, 1-1 Big East): The bottom half of this league's order will come down to who has better losses. And, judging from last week, Syracuse's loss at Rutgers ranks ahead of the others. The Orange will have a big win this season; it's just a matter of who the victim will be. They've played well enough to win in just about every game this season, but they just haven't gotten the breaks they needed. Last week's power ranking: 4. Next up: vs. Connecticut, Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN).
6. Pittsburgh (2-4, 0-3 Big East): The Panthers need Ray Graham. He's still working out the kinks of his reconstructed knee, and he has not been effective for the majority of this season. Freshman running back Rushel Shell was solid Saturday and will be a major weapon down the road, but he doesn't look quite ready to carry the load just yet. Last week's power ranking: 5. Next up: at Buffalo, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big East Network).
7. Connecticut (3-4, 0-2 Big East): Just as Pittsburgh needs Graham, the Huskies need running back Lyle McCombs. The sophomore -- who finished last season second in the Big East in rushing -- missed Saturday's game with a sprained wrist, but he's not been himself all year. First-year quarterback Chandler Whitmer is starting to come into his own, so an effective McCombs could balance an offense that isn't counted on to score that much. The Connecticut defense gives up just over 16 points per game -- the offense really needs to meet them halfway. Last week's power ranking: 7. Next up: at Syracuse, Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN).
8. South Florida (2-4, 0-2 Big East): The Bulls were given last weekend off to think about what they've done -- or not done -- and now they head north to face Louisville. Coach Skip Holtz may be fighting for his job at this point, as there is restlesness is Tampa. All of the bad in this four-game losing streak can be undone Saturday. Will it? No, probably not. Last week's power ranking: 8. Next up: at Louisville, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski @CBSBigEast.