Last week, BIG EAST football teams were 4-1 in non-league contests. So far this season, the BIG EAST is 11-2 against non-conference competition. Last Saturday, two squads posted shutouts. Rutgers blanked Illinois, 33-0, and Louisville won at Temple, 62-0. USF defeated Florida International, 21-20, and West Virginia handled Eastern Washington, 52-3. The only loss was Syracuse's double-overtime defeat against Iowa, 20-13.
More Marquee Matchups This Weekend
BIG EAST teams have some more formidable opposition this week and television has all of it covered. On Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. ET, West Virginia blasted Maryland 45-24 in ESPN's Thursday Night package. On Saturday, at noon, Pittsburgh hosts Michigan State, which will be shown on select ABC affiliates and select ESPN2 regions. Cincinnati travels to Ohio State, which is the first game this season of the BIG EAST Game of the Week package. Also at noon, Syracuse travels to Illinois and Wake Forest plays at Connecticut, which will be carried by ESPN 360. At 3:30, Louisville meets Miami at home in an ABC telecast.
West Virginia, Louisville Are In The Top Dozen Nationally
West Virginia and Louisville are ranked among the top 12 in Associated Press and USA Today polls. Both polls agree that West Virginia is No. 5 and Louisville is No. 12. Pittsburgh and Rutgers gained ground among the other teams receiving votes category. The Big Ten and the SEC are the only other leagues that have more than one team in the top 12.
Fast Out Of The Gate
Four league teams are aiming to match the 3-0 start produced by West Virginia, which defeated Maryland 45-24 on Thursday night. That win gave the Mountaineers a ten-game winning streak. Louisville last started 3-0 in 2004. Pitt is looking for its first 3-0 record since 2000. Rutgers has not been 3-0 since 1981. The USF Bulls have not started a season with three wins since 1998, the second year of their football program.
BIG EAST Is Tops In Rushing Offense, Tops In Total Offense
BIG EAST teams are first, second and third nationally in rushing offense this week. Connecticut is first, averaging 418.0 yards per game. West Virginia is second at 353.0 yards per game (prior prior to the Maryland contest) and Louisville is third (337.5). These same three clubs are in the top four in total offense. Louisville leads the nation, averaging 651.0 yards per game. UConn is second at 567.0. West Virginia is fourth with a 538.0 average.