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Big East Football: Louisville, Syracuse notch important conference wins, Rutgers gets upset

After the final weekend of action for October, the Big East race is taking shape and the hot seat for some coaches is warming up.

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We've played eight weeks of college football and the Big East is every man's dream woman. Yes, the Big East is what every man wants in a woman: a perfect hourglass figure. The conference has three good teams up top, two mediocre teams in the middle, and three teams that aren't very good at all at the bottom. This is a nice change of pace from the normal way the Big East has looked: maybe one good team and no bottom. Just one giant middle.

Louisville 34 Cincinnati 31 (OT)

I was at this game and was shocked at the size and energy of the crowd considering that it was in the mid 40s and raining for the entire game. In what is now the best rivalry in the new Big East, the battle for the Keg of Nails did not disappoint. Louisville and Cincinnati traded huge shots back and forth for much of the game including both teams scoring touchdowns in the final two minutes of the game that sent it to overtime. In overtime, Louisville picked off Munchie Legaux and kicked its own field goal to win the game and get a crucial leg up in the Big East standings.

Kent State 35 Rutgers 23

Kent State is a solid football team, solid enough that if Rutgers were to turn the ball over times? would be enough for them to win the game. Well, it happened. Gary Nova threw six interceptions and the Scarlet Knights lost a fumble and ultimately it cost them the game. Some of the picks were Nova's fault, some were just freakish tips and great plays by the Flashes defense. It won't hurt in the Big East race, but it hurts that two of the league's best three teams have lost their undefeated seasons at the hands of MAC teams.

Syracuse 37 USF 36

Stop me if you've heard this one before: South Florida has a late lead in a Big East game and the opponent found a way to rally and win the game. South Florida had the lead 23-3 at halftime and had a 33-24 lead with 10:00 left in the fourth quarter but couldn't stop Ryan Nassib and the Orange from going right down the field to score with :06 left to win the game. Skip Holtz now drops to 1-10 in Big East in the past two seasons. His seat is getting very, very hot. Doug Marrone, meanwhile, weathered the early season storm of tough games and is now within striking distance of making the postseason.

Pittsburgh 47 Temple 17

Pittsburgh has been, without question, the most up and down team in the Big East and this week was no different. The Panthers lost at home to an ok FCS team, beat Virginia Tech, lost to Syracuse, struggled past Buffalo, and then blew out a Temple team that suddenly looks like it's running out of gas in Big East play. Pittsburgh also is within striking distance of earning a bowl bid at 4-4, but the Panthers will have to pull one upset to do so.

Power Rankings - Here's how I'll vote when the SB Nation guys turn in their Big East power rankings ballots.

1. Louisville

2. Rutgers

3. Cincinnati

4. Syracuse

5. Pittsburgh

6. Temple

7. Connecticut

8. South Florida

Poll Fallout

Cincinnati dropped out of the polls last week after the loss at Toledo. Rutgers dropped out of the AP Poll after the loss to Kent State but hung on in the Coaches Poll, checking in at #25. Louisville, at 8-0, isn't going to make it into the BCS Championship Game no matter what happens (and that's the right thing, the Cardinals' out of conference schedule has turned out to be wafer thin), but the Cardinals keep moving up. In the Coaches Poll, Louisville is #10 and in the AP Poll, the Cardinals are #12. Teams ahead of them will continue to lose, so there will be chances to move up as the season comes to a close. You can view the Coaches Poll here and the Associated Press poll here.

Also of note for the future of the Big East, Boise State is in at #19 in the AP Poll and #14 in the Coaches Poll. The Broncos will likely clinch a BCS Bowl bid with a top 16 finish because it is unlikely that the Big Ten (and perhaps the Big East) champion will be ranked below them.