Another disappointing showing overall for the Big East in Week 3. Let's review.
Team of the Week: West Virginia. Easy call here. The Mountaineers were the only Big East team to beat an FBS opponent, and they did so with some style in rolling to a 28-0 lead against Maryland. They're the league's signature team right now with a trip to LSU lined up.
Game of the Week: Louisville's 35-28 loss at Oregon State. It didn't get much attention or national fanfare, but it was a pretty exciting back-and-forth game, and the Cardinals had a chance to tie the score while driving with about a minute left. They didn't get the job done, but they acquitted themselves very well in Pac-10 country.
Biggest play: Temple's Adrian Robinson stripped Jordan Todman of the ball in the fourth quarter and rumbled away for the score. Todman had hurt his arm earlier in the game but wasn't making excuses (nor should he, after running for 192 yards). The Owls just made a great play in standing him up and then wrestling the ball out. UConn had the lead until that play; afterward, it fell apart.
Best call: Syracuse went for it on fourth and goal with 27 seconds left in the first half, trailing Maine. Ryan Nassib hit Jose Cruz with the go-ahead touchdown pass, and the Orange never looked back. In another nice touch, Cruz dedicated his first score to fallen teammate and roommate Aaron Weaver, who's out with a knee injury.
Big Man on Campus (Offense): West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith wins this award for the second straight week. He finished 19-of-29 for 268 yards and four touchdowns in the win against Maryland.
Big Man on Campus (Defense): West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin showed everybody what the fuss was about by recording three sacks and a forced fumble.
Big Man on Campus (Special teams): Make it a clean sweep for the Mountaineers, and give this one to Jock Sanders for his 66-yard punt return that set up a score.
Strangest moment: West Virginia was up 28-14 in the third quarter and had driven to the Maryland 24. Rather than pound the ball and take some sure points, Bill Stewart dialed up a double-pass trick play. Sanders' throw was intercepted, and the Terps would go on to get a field goal.
Said Stewart: "If it works, it may be the greatest call of the season. But if it doesn’t work, that’s why I make decisions in 25 seconds, and we’ll have a day later to evaluate those decisions. I went for the kill, I wanted to get it out there and I wanted to get it on film. The guy was wide open, but we had to finish and we just didn’t finish there."
Worst hangover: (tie) Cincinnati and Connecticut. Both are 1-2. Both have lost by double digits against the two FBS opponents on their schedules. Both are searching for answers in a September that has gone horribly awry.
And now let's look ahead to "MegaWeek" 4 (OK, the nickname needs some work). Games listed, as always, in descending order of importance/interest:
No. 22 West Virginia (3-0) at No. 15 LSU (3-0): Mountaineers go into Death Valley for a night game (ESPN2, 9 ET). Doesn't get any more challenging - or any more fun -- than this.
No. 19 Miami (1-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1): Not quite as big since both teams already have one loss. Or to look at it another way, even bigger since neither team wants a second loss (ESPN, 7:30 ET).
North Carolina (0-2) at Rutgers (2-0): The Tar Heels have played a lot better than the Scarlet Knights despite their turmoil, yet they're the ones coming into Rutgers Stadium winless (ESPNU, 3:30).
No. 8 Oklahoma (3-0) at Cincinnati (1-2): This now looks like the equivalent of a half-court shot with no time left for Cincinnati to salvage something good out of September (ESPN2, 6 ET).
Buffalo (1-2) at Connecticut (1-2): Randy Edsall wants more involved crowds at Rentschler Field. Losing on the road by two touchdowns to Temple doesn't help fill up the bandwagon (Noon ET).
Western Kentucky (0-3) at South Florida (1-1): The Hilltoppers have lost 23 straight games. Bulls better make it 24 to avoid embarrassment (7:05).
Colgate (1-1) at Syracuse (2-1): Personally, I've always been more of a Crest man. Lame joke, I know, but there's not much to say to make this game sound exciting (3:30).