Remember that old gimmick, the “ACC Wheel of Desinty,” that Rece Davis and the guys on College Football Final used to use? Now retired for a few years, I think it’s time for them to bring it back out, and re-brand it. Because while Clemson is running away with things down in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East has officially taken the crown of “college football’s most schizophrenic conference.”
For any of us who may have forgotten, we were reminded on Friday night. Not just with Syracuse’s ruthlessly efficient 49-23 beat down of West Virginia in Syracuse, but also a little further South in Louisville, where the Cardinals shocked Rutgers 16-14.
Entering the game, it was Rutgers who controlled their own destiny in the conference, especially as the Orange continued to pile up points at the Carrier Dome. The Scarlet Knights were riding a four game win streak, including a conference opening “W” over the Orange a few weeks ago. Louisville on the other hand was losers of three straight, and made news earlier this week when offensive coordinator Mike Sanford stepped away from his position.
Well, with all that said, it wasn’t the most beautifully executed game-plan for Louisville, but it did work as the Cardinals shocked the Scarlet Knights in front of 48,000 at Papa John’s Stadium. Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got the start, completing 10 of 18 passes for 122 yards, including a touchdown ball to former high school teammate Michaelee Harris in the third quarter that was about as pretty as you’ll see all season. That score put the Cardinals up 16-7, and even after an early fourth quarter touchdown by the Scarlet Knights, it proved to be the difference.
But for all the talk about Bridgewater, the real star of the game was Louisville’s rushing attack. Going against a defense that was allowing just 117 yards per game on the ground coming into the evening, Jeremy Wright nearly eclipsed that by himself, with 108 yards on 11 carries. Sophomore quarterback Dominque Brown actually added 44 yards rushing for the Cardinals as well, a team which is now 3-3 on the season. The win snapped a three game losing streak that dated back over a month.
As for the Scarlet Knights, well, they certainly had their chances, but made costly mistakes at the wrong times. Freshman quarterback Gary Nova completed 18 of 33 passes, but also threw three interceptions, including one with under three minutes to play which basically iced the win for Louisville. It should also be noted that kicker San San Te missed a 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which proved to be the difference in the game. Rutgers rushing attack never really got off the ground, with backs Jawan Jamison and Savon Huggins combining for just 68 yards on 21 carries.
So now, to the fun part: trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code that is the Big East standings. With the losses of both Rutgers and West Virginia last night, it leaves six of the eight conference teams with one conference defeat. The two teams bookending the standings play Saturday, with Cincinnati (5-1, 1-0 in conference) traveling to South Florida which is 4-2, but 0-2 in league play.
Which means almost assuredly, Cincinnati will lose this afternoon.
It’s proven to be just another weekend spinning the Big East Wheel of Destiny.
Follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.