The West Virginia Mountaineers are the 2005 Big East champions and will represent the league in the Bowl Championship Series. The BCS bowl selections will be made on Sunday, Dec. 4. The Mountaineers have already won the conference title outright with a 6-0 league record, even though they still have a game at USF on Saturday. Overall, WVU is 11th in this week's BCS standings. In 2003 and 2004, the Mountaineers shared the league crown. Among teams in all of the BCS charter conferences, only USC can also claim to be league champs for a third straight season in 2005.
Louisville Accepts Toyota Gator Bowl Bid
The Louisville Cardinals are headed to the Toyota Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The U of L earned the Gator Bowl invitation by rolling to an 8-2 record going into Saturday's game at Connecticut. The Cardinals, who are ranked No. 16 in this week's Associated Press poll, have one of the country's most prolific offenses. They are averaging 46.7 points per game, which is third in the nation.
Rutgers Going To Insight Bowl
After posting a 7-4 overall record and a 4-3 BIG EAST mark, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have accepted an invitation to the Insight Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz. Rutgers will play Arizona State on Dec. 27. It will be only the second bowl appearance for the Scarlet Knights. Their first bowl bid was to the 1978 Garden State Bowl and the opponent, coincidentally, was Arizona State.
USF, Connecticut Still In The Bowl Picture
The USF Bulls and the Connecticut Huskies also have bowl aspirations. USF is already bowl eligible with a 6-4 record. The Bulls host West Virginia on Saturday evening. The Huskies are 5-5 and can become bowl eligible with a victory over visiting Louisville. The contest is the ESPN Saturday Prime Time Game, which kicks off at 7:45 EST.
Dumervil May Collect Plenty Of Hardware
Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil is a finalist for four national college football awards. He and Rutgers defensive end Ryan Neill are two of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award given to the nation's top defensive end. Also, Dumervil is one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award (outstanding lineman), one of five for the Bronko Nagurski Award (top defensive player) and one of 10 for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (most outstanding player).
West Virginia at South Florida
This is the first-ever meeting between West Virginia and USF. WVU is going for its first undefeated season in Big East play since 1993. The Mountaineers have yet to lose on the road this season (4-0). The Bulls are a perfect 4-0 at home in 2005. In fact, USF is the only team in the nation which hasn't trailed at home yet this season.
The game matches the two top rushing offenses in the Big East – West Virginia (1st, 258.2 yds/gm) and USF (2nd, 215.1 yds/ gm). The Bulls' Andre Hall (118.1) and the Mountaineers' Steve Slaton (104.8) rank first and third in the league respectively in rushing.
As a team, West Virginia ranks among the NCAA leaders in a number of categories: rushing (5th, 258.2), rushing defense (8th, 94.3), total defense (7th, 285.8), scoring defense (11th, 16.6), punt returns (9th, 15.4), and turnover margin (T11th, +1.00). Slaton ranks fifth in the nation in scoring (11.25) and 26th in rushing (104.75). Defensive back Eric Wicks is eighth in forced fumbles (0.44).
USF has outscored its opponents at home, 144-47, this season. The Bulls have averaged 286.0 yards rushing in four home games. USF ranks 16th in rushing offense (215.10). Additionally, the Bulls are 11th in pass defense (176.9), 13th in scoring defense (17.4), 17th in total defense (304.9), 15th in punt returns (13.35), tied for 18th in turnover margin (+0.80), tied for third in fumbles recovered (15), tied for 13th in turnovers gained (27) and eighth in sacks (3.30). Hall is ninth nationally in rushing (118.1), 17th in scoring (9.0) and 20th in all-purpose yards (143.8). Linebacker Ben Moffitt is tied for eighth among NCAA leaders in forced fumbles (0.40).
Louisville at Connecticut
This is just the second meeting between Louisville and Connecticut. The Cardinals won the first meeting, 41-22, on Sept. 30, 2000. This matchup features one of the nation's most potent offenses and one of the most stingiest defenses. Louisville averages 46.7 points per game, while UConn allows only 18.1 points.
The Huskies are 4-1 at Rentschler Field in 2005 and 10-2 over the last two seasons. Connecticut has yet to give up more than 13 points this season at home. The Cardinals are 2-2 this season away from home with their losses coming at USF and at West Virginia. Louisville is averaging 33.8 ppg on the road this season, while averaging 55.3 at home.
The Cardinals rank among the NCAA leaders in scoring offense (3rd, 46.7), total offense (7th, 497.1) and passing offense (9th, 303.6), total defense (21st, 315.6), turnover margin (T18th, 0.80), fumbles recovered (T3rd, 15) and sacks (3rd, 3.90). Running back Michael Bush is first nationally in scoring (15.57), 11th in point responsibility (15.75), 13th in rushing (116.0), and 18th in all-purpose yards (146.6). Bush has missed the last two games with an injured foot. Quarterback Brian Brohm is second in the the nation in passing efficiency (166.7). Brohm left the Syracuse game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil leads the nation in sacks (2.00) and forced fumbles (1.00) and is second in tackles for loss (2.20).
Connecticut also ranks among the NCAA team leaders in a number of categories: pass defense (2nd, 147.2), total defense (6th, 281.0), scoring defense (15th, 18.10) and kickoff returns (5th, 25.59).