What we learned in the Big East: Week 5

What did we learn Saturday? Let's take a look.

1. Add Cincinnati to the conference elite. Yes, Virginia Tech had already been obliterated by a Big East team this season. But Saturday's 27-24 triumph was a big-time win for the Bearcats, especially when considering the fashion it came in. Offense was hard to come by for three quarters, and the Hokies threatened to pull away in the fourth. But the Bearcats had an answer, even overcoming a dropped touchdown pass from Damon Julian that could have been costly if not for Julian's diving, game-winning catch later in the quarter.

2. UConn's offense is better but needs to improve. A third-quarter, 17-point lead had the Huskies' offense moving in the right direction, with Chandler Whitmer completing 15 of 22 passes for 227 yards and a score in the 24-17 win. But UConn failed to take advantage of field position late in the game, leaving the door open for a Buffalo comeback. No turnovers, however, is a step in the right direction.

3. Don't write USF off just yet. No one in Tampa will be cheering about a 13-point loss to an in-state rival, but the Bulls more than held their own against the No. 4 team in the country. Call me crazy, but that says something about this squad, one that could have easily folded after two tough losses. The Bulls will enter the meat of conference play just 2-3, but a valiant effort against a potential national title contender could help their confidence with a near-fresh slate coming up in the Big East.

4. Louisville has some work to do. Yes, we get that the conditions were sloppy. But the Cardinals came dangerously close to losing to a winless nonconference opponent that completed just two passes in Saturday's 21-17 Louisville escape. Rest assured that Charlie Strong will let his young team hear about it, and his players will have two weeks to sort out any loose ends before diving into Big East play Oct. 13 at Pitt.