Big East Football Preview

It's the final week of the regular season, and the longest-running conflict between two league teams will decide where the Big East will be represented in the BCS.

CINCINNATI Regular Season Complete
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Papajohns.com Bowl

CONNECTICUT Regular Season Complete
Next Game
Meineke Car Care Bowl

LOUISVILLE vs. Rutgers
Thu 11/29
7:30 PM
ESPN
Thursday's game will be the seventh meeting between Rutgers and Louisville with the Scarlet Knights holding a 5-1 series lead … Louisville's lone win was a 56-5 decision Nov. 11, 2005 … Last year's game was a classic as then-No. 15 Rutgers edged the third-ranked Cardinals 28-25 in front of a record crowd at Rutgers Stadium and a prime time national television audience on ESPN … Rutgers got the game-winning points on a 28-yard field goal from Jeremy Ito with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter to cap a comeback from an 18-point deficit.

Rutgers is looking for its third straight win to close the regular season … The Scarlet Knights are bowl eligible for the third straight year, marking the first time in program history that Rutgers will make three straight postseason appearances … Rutgers has won its last seven games played on weekdays, going 4-0 this season and 3-0 in 2006 … The Scarlet Knights are led by junior RB Ray Rice, who is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back … The other Doak Walker finalists are Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Michigan's Mike Hart … Rice leads the BIG EAST and ranks third nationally in rushing with an average of 146.5 yards per game … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood and sophomore WR Kenny Britt have combined to catch 11 of Rutgers' 16 touchdown passes this year … That duo ranks second and third, respectively, in the BIG EAST in receiving yards with Underwood averaging 87.7 ypg and Britt averaging 84.9 ypg.

Louisville looks to snap a two-game slide in its regular-season finale … Last year's loss to Rutgers was the only setback in a 12-1 season for Louisville … The Cardinals are led by senior QB Brian Brohm, who enters the game as the BIG EAST's career passing leader … Brohm has thrown for 9,719 yards in his three seasons in the BIG EAST and has 10,587 yards for his career, which includes the 2003 season in which Louisville played in Conference USA … Brohm is a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback … WR Harry Douglas leads the BIG EAST in receptions (7.78 per game) and receiving yards (123.7 ypg) … Douglas also led the league in receptions last season (5.38 rpg).


PITTSBURGH at West Virginia
12/1
7:45 PM
ESPN
The most-played series among current BIG EAST members, the Pittsburgh/West Virginia rivalry convenes for the 100th time Saturday in the annual Backyard Brawl … The series dates to Oct. 26, 1895, and since then, the Panthers have built a 59-37-3 advantage against the Mountaineers … The schools have met every year since 1943 … Recent history has favored West Virginia, which has won two straight and four of the last five Brawls.

Pittsburgh's game at West Virginia will be the Panthers' first matchup against a team ranked No. 1 in a national poll in five years, most recently a 28-21 setback to then-No. 1 Miami in 2002 … Pitt is 0-12-1 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams … Pittsburgh ranks third in the BIG EAST in total defense and second in pass defense … The Panthers are led by junior LB Scott McKillop, who had a careerhigh 18 tackles against USF last Saturday to maintain the national lead in that category … McKillop has 142 tackles and is averaging 12.9 tackles per game … Freshman RB LeSean McCoy is ranked second in the conference in rushing (107.3 ypg) and has scored 14 rushing touchdowns.

West Virginia moved into the No. 1 spot in the USA Today coaches poll and is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press top 25 following its win against Connecticut last Saturday … The Mountaineers have clinched a share of their fourth BIG EAST title in the last five years … West Virginia would finish as the outright conference champion with a win against Pittsburgh, but would finish tied with Connecticut if the Mountaineers lose … The catalyst for West Virginia has been junior QB Patrick White, who has figured in 26 touchdowns this season … White ranks third in the BIG EAST in rushing (104.0 ypg) and has thrown 12 TD passes against just four interceptions … White has thrown the fewest interceptions of any BIG EAST starting signal-caller … Junior RB Steve Slaton has rushed for a league-high 17 touchdowns (tied with Rutgers' Ray Rice) and is fourth in the conference in rushing (94.7 ypg) … West Virginia is ranked No. 2 in this week's BCS rankings, trailing only Missouri, which faces Oklahoma Saturday in the Big 12 title game.


RUTGERS at Louisville
Thu 11.29
7:30 PM
ESPN
Thursday's game will be the seventh meeting between Rutgers and Louisville with the Scarlet Knights holding a 5-1 series lead … Louisville's lone win was a 56-5 decision Nov. 11, 2005 … Last year's game was a classic as then-No. 15 Rutgers edged the third-ranked Cardinals 28-25 in front of a record crowd at Rutgers Stadium and a prime time national television audience on ESPN … Rutgers got the game-winning points on a 28-yard field goal from Jeremy Ito with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter to cap a comeback from an 18-point deficit.

Rutgers is looking for its third straight win to close the regular season … The Scarlet Knights are bowl eligible for the third straight year, marking the first time in program history that Rutgers will make three straight postseason appearances … Rutgers has won its last seven games played on weekdays, going 4-0 this season and 3-0 in 2006 … The Scarlet Knights are led by junior RB Ray Rice, who is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back … The other Doak Walker finalists are Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Michigan's Mike Hart … Rice leads the BIG EAST and ranks third nationally in rushing with an average of 146.5 yards per game … Junior WR Tiquan Underwood and sophomore WR Kenny Britt have combined to catch 11 of Rutgers' 16 touchdown passes this year … That duo ranks second and third, respectively, in the BIG EAST in receiving yards with Underwood averaging 87.7 ypg and Britt averaging 84.9 ypg.

Louisville looks to snap a two-game slide in its regular-season finale … Last year's loss to Rutgers was the only setback in a 12-1 season for Louisville … The Cardinals are led by senior QB Brian Brohm, who enters the game as the BIG EAST's career passing leader … Brohm has thrown for 9,719 yards in his three seasons in the BIG EAST and has 10,587 yards for his career, which includes the 2003 season in which Louisville played in Conference USA … Brohm is a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback … WR Harry Douglas leads the BIG EAST in receptions (7.78 per game) and receiving yards (123.7 ypg) … Douglas also led the league in receptions last season (5.38 rpg).


SOUTH FLORIDA Regular Season Complete
Next Game

Brut Sun Bowl

SYRACUSE Season Complete



WEST VIRGINIA vs. Pittsburgh
Sat 12/1
7:45 PM
ESPN
The most-played series among current BIG EAST members, the Pittsburgh/West Virginia rivalry convenes for the 100th time Saturday in the annual Backyard Brawl … The series dates to Oct. 26, 1895, and since then, the Panthers have built a 59-37-3 advantage against the Mountaineers … The schools have met every year since 1943 … Recent history has favored West Virginia, which has won two straight and four of the last five Brawls.

Pittsburgh's game at West Virginia will be the Panthers' first matchup against a team ranked No. 1 in a national poll in five years, most recently a 28-21 setback to then-No. 1 Miami in 2002 … Pitt is 0-12-1 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams … Pittsburgh ranks third in the BIG EAST in total defense and second in pass defense … The Panthers are led by junior LB Scott McKillop, who had a careerhigh 18 tackles against USF last Saturday to maintain the national lead in that category … McKillop has 142 tackles and is averaging 12.9 tackles per game … Freshman RB LeSean McCoy is ranked second in the conference in rushing (107.3 ypg) and has scored 14 rushing touchdowns.

West Virginia moved into the No. 1 spot in the USA Today coaches poll and is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press top 25 following its win against Connecticut last Saturday … The Mountaineers have clinched a share of their fourth BIG EAST title in the last five years … West Virginia would finish as the outright conference champion with a win against Pittsburgh, but would finish tied with Connecticut if the Mountaineers lose … The catalyst for West Virginia has been junior QB Patrick White, who has figured in 26 touchdowns this season … White ranks third in the BIG EAST in rushing (104.0 ypg) and has thrown 12 TD passes against just four interceptions … White has thrown the fewest interceptions of any BIG EAST starting signal-caller … Junior RB Steve Slaton has rushed for a league-high 17 touchdowns (tied with Rutgers' Ray Rice) and is fourth in the conference in rushing (94.7 ypg) … West Virginia is ranked No. 2 in this week's BCS rankings, trailing only Missouri, which faces Oklahoma Saturday in the Big 12 title game.


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