Cincinnati Vs. West Virginia: Mountaineers Thrash Bearcats 37-10

WVU tries to regain its footing in the Big East after two straight conference losses. Former Mountaineer assistant and first-year Cincinnati coach Butch Jones leads the Bearcats into Mountaineer Field to try and defeat his old team.

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WVU Now On Periphery Of Mess At Top Of Big East Conference

After Pitt’s loss this week, things just keep getting messier in the Big East. No team in the conference has more than six wins, but a bunch of teams have a shot. Including WVU’s win over Cincinnati today, let’s take a look at the current conference standings.

Pitt 3-1 (5-4)
Syracuse 3-2 (6-3)
South Florida 3-2 (6-3)
WVU 2-2 (6-3)
UConn 2-2 (5-4)
Louisville 2-3 (5-5)
Rutgers 1-2 (4-4)
Cincinnati 1-3 (3-6)

Yikes. Pitt has a relatively tough matchup against South Florida next week, while WVU takes on Louisville. If Pitt loses next week while WVU wins, The Backyard Brawl the following week in Pittsburgh could turn out to be very important in the conference. Syracuse is currently tied 10-10 against Rutgers and finishes its conference schedule next week against UConn in what could turn out to be another big game.

The upshot is that the race to reach a BCS game is already pretty ugly for the Big East:

Halfway through the Big East season, the conference is on track to produce arguably the lowest-rated team by far to ever play in a Bowl Championship Series game. Big East leader Pittsburgh has a computer ranking of 46—and that’s due to drop even further because of the Panthers’ loss at Connecticut on Thursday night. In the 12-year history of the BCS, the lowest-rated team to reach a BCS bowl game was Pittsburgh in 2004 (33rd).

For more on Big East football, check out Cardiac Hill (Pitt) and The Smoking Musket (WVU).

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Mountaineer Offense Finally Wakes Up, Dispatches Bearcats With Ease 37-10

Well, today was either:

a) A great sign!  The offense woke up, the defense dominated, and WVU looked like a top-notch football team!

b) Frustrating, because an explosion like this makes the last two losses even more inexcusable!

I'm not sure what camp I'm in, to be honest. A little bit of both, I guess. On one hand, Geno Smith throwing for four first half touchdowns and making Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders look like all-world receivers was nice. It really, genuinely was. That said, why haven't we seen more of that?!? Noel Devine's third quarter touchdown was what we'd come to expect from number seven, but we just haven't seen it in awhile. A quick outside cut, beat the defensive end, and coast untouched for thirteen yards to paydirt really is a thing of beauty. Why did it look so hard against UConn and Syracuse?

I'm willing to admit that Butch Jones and Cincinnati have a ton of problems. Making the Mounties look good isn't one of them, because they did that in spades this afternoon. 

For the Mountaineers after taking care of business this afternoon they must set their sights on Louisville next weekend. Get it done in the bluegrass state and the conference title could still be on the line Thanksgiving weekend in Pittsburgh. The 'Eers need help, of course, but with the topsy-turvy nature of today's Big East anything can happen.

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Cincinnati Vs. West Virginia: Mountaineers Try To Recover After Back-To-Back Losses

Well folks, it's gameday in Morgantown once again, and there hangs a sense of gloom and doom in the air that wasn't there the last time the team took to Mountaineer Field.  It's been almost a month since the Mountaineers have won a game, suffering disappointing back-to-back conference losses to Syracuse and Connecticut. Once seemingly in the driver's seat for a conference title, they now find themselves mired in a two-loss quagmire with nearly all of the other teams in the Big East.  To have any hope of salvaging the season, WVU has to start winning, and they have to do it today.

Bill Stewart and company have been under intense scrutiny over the span of the bye week while everyone weighed in with their opinion. I did. Then Bob Hertzel weighed in on my opinion, but kind of missed the point. And so forth and so on. Needless to say, there's a dull roar growing and it seems like every conversation around Morgantown for the last two weeks has focused on the Stew factor and whether or not this is the beginning of the end. I don' t think it is, but a good performance today could go a long way towards ensuring it's not.

Right now is normally the part of the storystream where I throw out some players and some schemes that I think might come in to play this afternoon. This week though, I'm at a loss. I don't know what to expect. I'd like to think that there's been a concerted effort on the part of this team to get focused and get back to doing what it does best. On offense, that's running the football, and the short passing game. While I don't fault Ryan Clarke any more than any other player, I'd like to see him left out of the mix early and Jeff Mullen really focus on getting Noel Devine back looking like Noel Devine.

The Cincinnati team that comes to town isn't the same squad that won back-to-back conference titles with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard departed to the NFL and Brian Kelly off trying to polish the golden dome. In Kelly's place is former WVU assistant coach Butch Jones. Jones has been very successful since leaving the Mountaineers, and there are more than a few folks in Morgantown who would like to seem him on home sideline sometime in the near future. Quarterback Zach Collaros did a number last year on the 'Eers coming in in relief of an injured Tony Pike. However, this time Collaros is the one who finds himself banged up and he might not play, and if he does he may not be 100%. Either way, I expect Jeff Casteel's defense to be ready for the test.

The Mountaineers have lost two straight games this season, and the last two to the Bearcats. Needless to say, there are a lot of questions going into this afternoon's game. If the Mountaineers lose, or even play sloppily, the din for Stewart's dismissal will grow, and the likelihood of a decent bowl bid will go out the window.

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