|Syracuse finds itself at the top of our power rankings for the first time this season. (US Presswire)|
Here's CBSSports.com's Rapid Reports Big East power ranking:
1. Syracuse (7-5, 5-2 Big East): Is Syracuse the best team in the Big East? Nah, probably not. But, maybe? The Orange have five losses (Northwestern, Southern Cal, Minnesota, Rutgers and Cincinnati) by a combined 40 points, with perhaps their worst defeat coming on the road to a 6-6 Minnesota team. Syracuse needs a Louisville win Thursday at Rutgers for a share of the Big East title, but the Orange will almost certainly not have enough juice in the rankings to get a BCS berth. Last week's power ranking: 3. Next up: Bowl game.
2. Rutgers (9-2, 5-1 Big East): The Scarlet Knights had a chance to win the conference outright Saturday, but they squandered it in a loss at Pittsburgh. Rutgers still has a chance for the outright title, but it will need a win against Louisville on Thursday night in Piscataway. Last week's power ranking: 1. Next up: vs. Louisville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN).
3. Louisville (9-2, 4-2 Big East): The Cards, too, had a golden opportunity Saturday to have their own shot at the outright conference title, but Louisville lost at home to Connecticut. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater came down with a broken wrist on his non-throwing hand, but he returned to play. His status for Thursday is unknown. Last week's power ranking: 2. Next up: at Rutgers, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN).
4. Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2 Big East): Somehow, the Bearcats have gotten themselves into a position to get a share of the Big East title. They'll have to beat UConn on Saturday and get some help from Louisville. Cincy, however, doesn't have a shot at a BCS berth. Last week's power ranking: 4. Next up: at Connecticut, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
5. Pittsburgh (5-6, 2-4 Big East): The Panthers got a big win over Rutgers on Saturday behind senior quarterback Tino Sunseri, who was playing in his last game at Heinz Field. Pitt has now positioned itself to reach a bowl, but it'll have to get past South Florida in Tampa first. Last week's power ranking: 5. Next up: at South Florida, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN).
6. Connecticut (5-6, 2-4 Big East): The Huskies, too, have found themselves in position to reach six wins, but it will take a big effort. UConn has Cincinnati at home in its finale, and the Huskies hope to have a repeat of their performance from Saturday in Louisville. Last week's power ranking: 7. Next up: vs. Cincinnati, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
7. Temple (4-7, 2-5 Big East): The Owls' season will come to an end after just 11 games, since a date with Hawaii failed to materialize. Though it came away with a losing record, Temple's first season back in the Big East was largely successful. Last week's power ranking: 7. Next up: Season over.
8. South Florida (3-8, 1-5 Big East): USF had pretty much the opposite season of what everyone expected, wildly underperforming. The loss of quarterback B.J. Daniels didn't help, but the season was pretty far gone before he went down. Now it's time for coach Skip Holtz to sweat, because he's getting a lot of heat in Tampa. Last week's power ranking: 8. Next up: vs. Pittsburgh, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski @CBSBigEast.