Big East Football Notebook

Climbing attendance and win streaks are just two of the highlights in this week's Big East notes


The surge in interest in USF and Cincinnati, clearly two of the nation's most surprising teams, is evident at their respective stadiums. Last year, USF and Cincinnati were seventh and eighth in attendance among Big East teams. This year, USF had its first sellout in Raymond James Stadium, attracting 67,018 fans to its West Virginia game on Sept. 28. Saturday's game against Central Florida is already sold out. In Cincinnati, the Bearcats sold out their last home game (35,097 fans). Saturday's tilt against Louisville also will be in front of a full Nippert Stadium. In addition, Rutgers and West Virginia are sold out for the season. Louisville is on a streak of 17 straight sellouts.


Following this weekend's games, only three out of conference contests remain. West Virginia hosts Mississippi State and Syracuse welcomes Buffalo on Oct. 20, while Rutgers travels to Army on Nov. 9.


Cincinnati's nine-game winning streak, dating to last year, is the second-longest active streak in the nation. Only LSU (13) has a longer active winning streak. USF's seven-game winning streak ranks third nationally.


At the midway point of the 2007 season, the Big East is the only Division I conference that can boast three unbeaten teams. All three squads can be seen on ESPNU Saturday. At noon ET, USF (5-0) hosts Central Florida. At 3:30 p.m., Connecticut (5-0) travels to Virginia. At 7 p.m., Cincinnati (6-0) hosts Louisville. The ESPN Regional/ Big East Game of the Week is Rutgers at Syracuse at noon. That game also will be carried by ESPN Radio.


Derided in some quarters as being all offense (Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Rutgers all average 36 or more points per game), Big East teams are also recording some solid defensive stats. Connecticut is fourth in the country in total defense, with West Virginia (6), Pittsburgh (9), Rutgers (15), South Florida (24) and Cincinnati (38) all holding spots in the top 40.

The Mountaineers also have excelled on the offensive side of the ball. They are ranked ninth in total offense, gaining 503.8 yards per game. WVU is one of only two teams in the nation to be in top 10 in both categories.

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