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Week 3 review/Week 4 preview

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Like Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy, let's embark on a retreat to move forward. Rewind time ...

Team of the week: Cincinnati. For the second time in two weeks, the Bearcats take this honor. And who could argue after the Bearcats broke Oregon State's 13-year nonconference winning streak at home with a wildly impressive 28-18 victory in Corvallis.

Best game: Syracuse 37, Northwestern 34. It had all the requisite drama, big plays on both sides and a field goal to end it. Plus, it was the Orange's first win under Doug Marrone.

Biggest play: Max Suter's interception of Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka in the final minute not only prevented a potential winning Wildcats drive, but his return to the Northwestern 39 set up his team for the game-winning field goal.

Best call: Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike spotted an advantageous coverage and changed the play at the line of scrimmage on second and nine from the Oregon State 19 in the fourth quarter. The result: a touchdown pass to Mardy Gilyard. That stopped an Oregon State rally that had cut the score to 21-18.

Big Man on Campus (Offense): Pike. With apologies to Mike Williams and Greg Paulus of Syracuse, Pike just had more to deal with, including the crowd noise at Reser Stadium and Oregon State's pressure package. He calmly directed the Cincinnati offense while passing for 332 yards and two touchdowns and even running for a score.

Big Man on Campus (Defense): Dan Mason, LB, Pittsburgh. The true freshman stepped in at middle linebacker when Adam Gunn was a late injury scratch, and Mason collected a team-high 11 tackles and two sacks against Navy. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt raved about this kid in the preseason, and we found out why.

Big Man on Campus (Special teams): Ryan Lichtenstein, K, Syracuse.The true freshman was a walk-on until the final week of fall practice, when Marrone awarded him a scholarship. Lichtenstein earned his tuition money by making four field goals, including the 41-yard game winner with no time left, against Northwestern.

Worst Hangover: West Virginia (six turnovers in loss at Auburn) and South Florida (losing Matt Grothe) have bitter feelings this morning. But I'm going to go with Louisville, which had every chance in the world to end its losing streak to arch rival Kentucky but still found a way to come up short. Steve Kragthorpe let the frustration show in his postgame news conference, saying he was "freaking sick" about the loss, warning reporters not to blame Trent Guy for his muffed punt or he wouldn't talk to them and using a three-letter synonym for donkey several times. That's a coach and a program that badly needed a win.

Strangest moment: Navy punter Kyle Delahooke bobble a snap at his own 38-yard line, then for some reason tried to kick the ball while it was on the ground. That's a 15-yard penalty for illegal kicking. Pitt got the ball on the 15 and needed four more plays to score for a 21-7 lead.

OK, now let's do some forward-thinking. Some of these games don't look as interesting as they did in the preseason, but the Big East still has three dates against the ACC and has a chance to gain a little more respect. Games listed in descending order of interest and importance:

South Florida (3-0) at Florida State (2-1): It sure looked like the Bulls would have a chance to win this first-ever meeting just a week ago, before Grothe's injury and after the Seminoles struggled to escape against Jacksonville State. Then FSU blew the doors off BYU and now will face a first-time starting quarterback for USF.

Pitt (3-0) at NC State (2-1): The Wolfpack have beaten two FCS teams since their opening loss to South Carolina. NC State lost to both Rutgers and South Florida last year, and Pitt will look to keep that Big East winning streak going.

Rutgers (2-1) at Maryland (1-2): The Terrapins lost to Middle Tennessee State a week after needing overtime to get by James Madison. Rutgers hasn't put it all together yet, but this is one the Scarlet Knights should be able to win.

Fresno State (1-2) at Cincinnati (3-0): You have to wonder how much the Bulldogs have left in the tank after consecutive tough losses to Wisconsin and Boise State. Cincinnati won't show much mercy, but Ryan Matthews could give Fresno State a chance.

Louisville (1-1) at Utah (2-1): It's a very difficult assignment for the Cardinals, but the Utes haven't looked nearly as imposing in 2009 as they did in 2008. Still, they'll be hungry to break their first losing streak in over a year.

Maine (2-1) at Syracuse (1-2): The Orange gun for their first two-game winning streak since 2006. Wait, is that a typo? 2006?!

Rhode Island (1-1) at Connecticut (2-1): Rhode Island's starting quarterback is Rutgers transfer Chris Paul-Etienne. If that doesn't get you excited for this matchup, I don't know what will.

Bye: West Virginia (2-1)