Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Big East Power Rankings, Week 1

1. West Virginia (1-0): The only team in conference ranked in both polls. Played fairly well in Dana Holgorsen's debut. Next Step...home game against Norfolk State

2. South Florida (1-0): The Bulls beat Notre Dame, and have found themselves ranked in the AP Poll. Would have them number one, but Notre Dame lost the game more than USF winning it. Next Step...Hosting Ball State

3. Pittsburgh (1-0): A pretty good start for the Panthers, as they comfortably beat Buffalo. Next Step...Hosting Maine

4. Cincinnati (1-0): Commanding win over Austin Peay. Always nice to leave no doubt early on. Next Step...On the road at Tennessee

5. Syracuse (1-0): It took some extra time to get the victory, a win is a win. WIll need to play much more consistently moving forward. Next Step...Hosting Rhode Island.

6. Connecticut (1-0): After many questions during the offseason, and a game postponement, the Huskies easily dealt with Fordham. Next Step...On the road to play Vanderbilt.

7. Rutgers (1-0): An easy stroll last Thursday for the Knights. Also nice to see Rutgers shut out NCC. Next Step...Going down south to play UNC.

8. Louisville (1-0): Probably not the worst team in the conference, but only beating Murray State by 12 puts them at the bottom. Next Step...Thursday night showcase game against FIU on ESPN

WVU Moves up in the Polls

Following a 34-13 win over Marshall, West Virginia has moved up in the AP Poll, and finally debuts in the Coaches.

The Mountaineers went from 24 to 19th in the AP Poll. They also debut at number 24 in the Coaches.

WVU isn't the only Big East team ranked. After beating Notre Dame at South Bend, South Florida gets into the mix, coming in at number 22 in the AP. The Bulls aren't ranked in the Coaches, but are receiving the second-most votes of any non-ranked team.

The Mountaineers return to action on Saturday, hosting Norfolk State.


Matchup: West Virginia vs Norfolk State

When: Saturday, 1:00p, ROOT Sports

Line: N/A

WVU Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 249 yards, 2 TD's
Stedman Bailey, WR: 5 rec, 76 yards, 1 TD
Tavon Austin, WR: 3 rec, 32 yards, 100 yard TD return
Bruce Irvin, DE: 3 tackles, 1 sack

Norfolk State Players to Watch:
Chris Walley, QB: 255 yards, 2 TD's
Reggie Garrett, WR: 7 rec, 74 yards
Corwin Hammond, LB: 9 tackles, 2 TFL


How about a full game? The Mountaineers may be 1-0, but they haven't even played 60 minutes. The weather report says potential rain on Saturday, but it's the lightning to watch out for. I wouldn't worry too much, considering last Sunday was the first time WVU ever had a suspended game. And, we're talking over 100 years.

The spotlight will be on the offensive line, especially after that shambolic performance against Marshall. The run game was nonexistent, and Geno Smith was constantly on the run. It's one thing to have some struggles against a pretty solid Marshall defense. However, there will be no excuse if they struggle against an FCS opponent. This group is going to have to step up this season.

Running back by Committee? Maybe. However, both Andrew Buie and Trey Johnson are banged UP, so Vernard Roberts and Dustin Garrison should get plenty of opportunities. Buie didn't do much to distance himself from the rest of the bunch against Marshall. Roberts and Garrison were used sparingly, and Johnson was hurt. There is no doubt that this is STILL anyone's job. It will be interesting to see if the fullbacks are given more looks this weekend...especially on short yardage situations.

Fix those Flaws, especially on Special Teams. Marshall had too much open space on kick returns, a problem that the Mountaineers have been dealing with for years. The unit gave up a punt return TD to the Herd, and large chucks of yards. It will be interesting to see if there is an adjustment or two to the strategy.