Big East power rankings, Week 4

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

1. Cincinnati (3-0, 1-0): No doubt about it. The Bearcats are up to No. 14 in the AP Top 25 and No. 12 in my ESPN.com power rankings. After the win at Oregon State, they cemented their status as the Big East's banner-carrier, at least for now.

2. Pittsburgh (3-0): The Panthers are undefeated after three games for the first time since 2000. Still not ranked somehow, but they could be favored in their next six games. The defense was superb against Navy, and Bill Stull has given them steady play at quarterback.

3. West Virginia (2-1): The Mountaineers blew a golden opportunity to climb up these rankings and, more importantly, notch a key nonconference win at Auburn. I thought they were the better and more talented team Saturday night on the Plains, but even the Steelers would have trouble winning while coughing up the ball six times. Perhaps the bye week will give them time to practice ball security and get guys healthy, because this is still a dangerous team.

4. South Florida (3-0): The Bulls may have the emptiest 3-0 record in the history of football. They've played nobody, and now they've lost the heart and soul of the team after quarterback Matt Grothe's ACL tear. I'll need to see a good effort from B.J. Daniels and the rest of the team this week at Florida State in order to justify keeping South Florida in the top half of these rankings.

5. Connecticut (2-1): No secret what UConn's staple for success is: Run the ball and be physical on defense. If the Huskies run into a really good front seven or have to pass the ball, they're in trouble. They won't have to worry about either this week against Rhode Island.

6. Syracuse (1-2): The Orange are a play away from being 2-1 and ranking much higher on this list. Imagine that. Still, sixth is the highest I've ranked Syracuse in two years, so you have to call that progress.

7. Rutgers (2-1, 0-1): How did the Scarlet Knights win a game and move down? Simple. It was an ugly, defensive-minded 23-15 slugfest over Florida International at home, and Rutgers' schedule has been light years more manageable than Syracuse's slate.

8. Louisville (1-1): The Cardinals did not look bad against Kentucky despite being heavy underdogs on the road. They played with a lot of intensity and nearly pulled off the upset. If this is the worst team in the Big East, and I'm sticking to that opinion, then the Big East is awfully balanced this year.