Big East stock report, Week 7

The player-of-the-year race standings are moving to a separate post on Wednesday mornings for the rest of the season. So consider this just your weekly stock listings:

Stock up

1. Syracuse: Postseason alert level has been elevated to Orange. Doug Marrone's 4-1 team is the talk of the Big East after taking down South Florida on the road. Syracuse should have a boisterous home crowd ready for the Pitt game this week in the biggest moment for the program since 2004.

2. Louisville: The Orange aren't the only team making a bottoms-up move. The Cardinals dismantled Memphis 56-0 and shockingly lead the Big East in total offense, rushing and passing offense, first downs and sacks. Charlie Strong's 3-2 team will try to make a real statement Friday night at home against Cincinnati.

3. Isaiah Pead: The Bearcats' offense looks much better with a healthy Pead in the backfield, doesn't it? Pead nearly crossed 200 yards in the first half against Miami (Ohio), and on the season he's averaging an are-you-serious 9.8 yards per carry.

4. Brad Starks: The West Virginia receiver had been banged-up all year and didn't have a catch going into Week 6. Against UNLV, he had four catches for 100 yards and three touchdowns. He gives this Mountaineers' offense another big-play target. The rest of the Big East responds, "Well, that's just great."

5. Pitt's offensive line: This stock couldn't go any lower from earlier in the season, but the Panthers have showed some progress since moving Lucas Nix to guard and installing Jordan Gibbs at tackle. Their line isn't going to mow people down, but if it can be serviceable as it was against Notre Dame, Pitt will have a much better chance of competing in the Big East.

Stock down

1. B.J. Daniels: Skip Holtz keeps saying that Daniels is trying to learn Spanish after being taught French for two years. But right now, it seems like the sophomore quarterback is speaking Pig Latin. He was brutal against Syracuse while throwing two interceptions and completely missing two wide-open receivers for touchdowns. He needs to get better fast or USF might miss the postseason entirely.

2. USF's home crowd: The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Bulls' actual attendance for Saturday's game against Syracuse was 30,344, or smaller than the average crowds for games against Stony Brook, Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic. What? For the first conference home game for a 3-1 team? And don't say it was because the Tampa Bay Rays had a playoff game that day. The entire Rays fan base could fit in the Raymond James pirate ship.

3. Pitt's late-game strategy: The Panthers' series on their second-to-last possession against Notre Dame was mind-boggling. They called two inside runs to Dion Lewis, then threw a short pass that was knocked down. Dave Wannstedt called a timeout before the fourth-and-5 play and then decided to punt. Wannstedt said the field position dictated that strategy, and it's true Pitt was pinned inside the 10. But who cares about field position when the game is on the line and you might not get the ball back anyway? Besides, at 2-2 coming into the game, the Panthers had nothing to lose yet played as if they were trying not to win.

4. UConn vs. the big play: I guess we should have seen this coming when Vanderbilt repeatedly burned the Huskies for big plays in the first half two weeks ago. Connecticut's defense did the impossible in making Rutgers look like a big-strike offense last Friday, including a 52-yard touchdown that tied it up in the fourth quarter and another long pass that set up the game-winning kick. Now with Blidi Wreh-Wilson undergoing hand surgery, the UConn defense might be even more vulnerable.

5. Memphis' shot at Big East membership: No offense to Louisville's sterling effort, but Memphis looks like possibly one of the worst teams in the FBS. This is a program that desperately wants to get invited to the Big East, yet it might be more suited at this point for the Sun Belt. I'm sure all the league coaches would love to welcome in the Tigers, though, so they could have a guaranteed league win every year.