Thanks for the replies, everyone.
With a stock replacement piston/cylinder set at only $100, it seems silly to not replace them while they're apart... but the problem is that I don't really have the time to give it the proper break-in...
I basically need the car right away (to drive the 150 miles back to school), or I'd need to take something else. Of course I'd rather have my VW!!
I'm hoping the rod bearings are OK... if it's splitting the case, I definitely wouldn't have the time to fix it. I'm out of state working, and only have a 4 day window to fix the car when I get back.
I'll just have to wait and see what I find when I pull the head!