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What we learned in the Big East: Week 4

So what did we learn in the Big East after Week 4?

1. The Big East is not quite ready for prime time. West Virginia and Pitt lost the two biggest games of the weekend in the Big East, though in radically different ways. The Mountaineers hurt themselves with turnovers, penalties and special teams. Pitt played good enough to win. The Panthers just failed to get any consistency going on offense, and failed to capitalize enough on two turnovers by Notre Dame. But it's not as if either team was favored to win and just blew it. They were the underdogs and played hard. They just aren't good enough right now.

2. USF the best? USF will now be the highest ranked Big East team when the new rankings come out. The Bulls have taken care of three straight inferior opponents after beating Notre Dame to get to 4-0. B.J. Daniels has looked much improved, and a running game has been established. But we will know much, much more about USF following a five-day layoff between its win over UTEP and its league opener at Pitt on Thursday night.

3. Dynamic receivers. The race is on between Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu and West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin to determine who really is the best in the Big East. Both had outstanding performances Saturday. Sanu set a school and league record with 16 receptions for 176 yards. Austin had 11 catches for 187 yards -- the eighth-best single game total in program history. He fell one short of tying the school receptions record. Already on the year, Sanu has 36 receptions for 363 yards and four touchdowns; Austin has 31 catches for 423 yards and one touchdown. Each has posted back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. While much was expected of Austin, Sanu has emerged from a talented receiving corps now that he is finally healthy.

4. Watch for Cincinnati. If the Bearcats can continue to be aggressively opportunistic on defense and dynamic on offense, they could be a dark horse in this league. Yes the Tennessee loss was bad. But the NC State win Thursday night was a complete contrast to that game. The Bearcats do have problems at times in coverage, but with an active defensive line and the ability to force turnovers, Cincinnati gives itself a chance in every game. Isaiah Pead is one terrific runner, and Zach Collaros is firmly in charge of the offense. That was a pretty good statement Cincinnati delivered.

5. Syracuse got lucky. The Orange should have their second loss of the season. Instead, they got the benefit of a blown call to beat Toledo in overtime. Ross Krautman's extra point to put Syracuse up 30-27 late in the game appeared to go wide but was called good on the field. Video replay officials upheld the call. But later, the Big East issued a statement saying the officials had made a mistake and the extra point was no good. That is little consolation to the Rockets, who would have won the contest 30-29 at the end of regulation had the correct call been made.