The BIG EAST has two teams in the top 10 of the national polls this week. Louisville moved into eighth in the Associated Press poll. The Cardinals also moved up to ninth in the USA Today poll after their convincing 31-7 victory over Miami, Fla. West Virginia moved up one spot to fourth in both polls after its 45-24 handling of Maryland. The SEC is the only other league with two teams in the top 10.
But It's Not Just The Cardinals And Mountaineers
While West Virginia and Louisville have earned plenty of national attention, the rest of the BIG EAST has performed extremely well. Overall, BIG EAST teams own a .739 winning percentage. That's the second best record of any Division I-A conference. Undefeated Rutgers (3-0) continues to gain strength in the polls. The Scarlet Knights are just three spots out of the top 25 in the AP poll. USF is also 3-0. The Bulls have won their last two games with late fourth-quarter touchdowns.
On The Tube This Weekend
All eight BIG EAST games on Saturday will be covered by the television networks. Nationally, ESPN2 will carry West Virginia at East Carolina at 4:30 p.m. ESPNU has Cincinnati at Virginia Tech at noon and Miami (Ohio) at Syracuse at 7 p.m. Fox Sports Net will telecast Louisville at Kansas State at noon and USF at Kansas at 7 p.m. Connecticut and Rutgers can be seen on ESPN Regional telecasts, while Pitt can be viewed on ESPN360.
Getting It Done On Both Sides Of The Ball
BIG EAST teams have earned high national rankings on offense and defense thus far this season. Louisville leads the nation in scoring offense (50.7) and total offense (563.7). West Virginia is first in rushing offense (348.7) and second to the Cardinals in scoring (46.3). The Mountaineers are fourth in total offense (486.3). Connecticut is fourth nationally in rushing offense (272.5). Defensively, Rutgers is second in the nation with 10 turnovers gained. The Scarlet Knights rank fifth in scoring defense (7.7) and 10th in total defense (216.0). Rutgers and Syracuse are tied for first nationally in interceptions with six.
The BIG EAST has two running backs ranked in the top five nationally in rushing. West Virginia's Steve Slaton is currently ranked third at 167.7 yards per game. Rutgers' Ray Rice is fourth at 166.3 yards per contest.
WVU's Rodriguez Chosen To Coach In The Hula Bowl
West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez, the 2005 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, has been selected to coach in the 2007 Hula Bowl. The all-star game, which is in its 61st year, will be played on Jan. 14 and will be televised by ESPN.