Big East Preview


Posted Oct 2, 2009


Four league teams go head-to-head this week, with a pair of out-of-conference tilts comprising the rest of the week's action.

NEW BOWL IS NEWS OF THE WEEK

The Big East Conference has reached an agreement with the New York Yankees to participate in a new college football bowl game to be played at Yankee Stadium. The game, which is pending the approval of the NCAA Bowl Licensing Committee, would begin at the conclusion of the 2010 season.

A team from the Big 12 Conference will be the Big East's opponent in the game. The Big East will provide its third or fourth selection to the game. The Big 12 will provide its seventh pick. The agreement will run for four years, 2010 through 2013. The name, date and television plans of the inaugural game are to be announced.

"Partnering with the New York Yankees to create a premier postseason bowl game is a natural way for the Big East to further capitalize on its presence in New York City," said Commissioner John Marinatto. "The Big East and its men's basketball championship have become as much a part of New York City as Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden. The Yankees represent the very best in sports in the greatest city in the world. We believe this bowl game will become a staple for the Big East Conference for many years to come."

Yankee Stadium opened for the 2009 baseball season. The original Yankee Stadium hosted college football games beginning the year it opened, including Fordham University and New York University home games from 1923-46. Army played Notre Dame there from 1925-46. From 1968-73 and 1978-87 Grambling played in a series of games there which was known as the Whitney Young Urban Classic. In 1962, Yankee Stadium hosted the Gotham Bowl. Nebraska defeated Miami (Fla.) 36-34.

The new Stadium already has scheduled regular-season football games in future years, including a game between Rutgers and Army in 2011. The bowl at Yankee Stadium is the second new postseason game announced by the Big East for 2010. The conference previously announced an agreement with the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

The Big East has enjoyed significant bowl success over the past three seasons, compiling a 12-4 record. The Big East is a charter member of the Bowl Championship Series.


Big East/ISP National Radio Network Debuts

The Big East/ISP National Radio Network begins its third season as the national radio carrier of select Big East games with a pair of broadcasts lined up for this week. Thursday’s nonconference game between West Virginia and Colorado (7:30 p.m. ET) and Friday’s Big East matchup between Pittsburgh and Louisville (8 p.m.) will go to a national radio audience. The Big East/ISP Radio Network consists of more than 85 affiliates in many of the nation’s top markets, with most games – including both of this week’s dates - carried on Sirius XM satellite radio.


Conference Play Picks Up This Week

While the Big East formally opened conference play in the first week of the season, when Cincinnati and Rutgers met on Labor Day, things get going in earnest beginning with this week’s schedule. Pittsburgh visits Louisville Friday, while USF heads to Syracuse for a Saturday matinee in the Big East Network Game of the Week. Beginning with this week’s games, there are at least two Big East contests each week through the rest of the season.


Thursday And Friday Night Lights

The Big East has long enjoyed a strong presence on ESPN’s Thursday and Friday prime time broadcasts and this year is no exception. Thursday’s West Virginia/Colorado game will air on ESPN, while the Friday matchup between Pittsburgh and Louisville will be on ESPN2. It’s the first of three weeks this season that will feature BIG EAST teams on both Thursday and Friday.


Cincinnati’s Pike Making His Case

A little more than a year ago, Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike was listed fifth on the Bearcats’ depth chart and was barely noticeable in coach Brian Kelly’s plans. Today, Pike is the starter for a Bearcat team that is ranked No. 10 in this week’s Associated Press poll and is being mentioned as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Pike has completed 71 percent of his passes and thrown for 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions in helping Cincinnati to its highest national ranking in school history. Pike and Cincinnati are featured in a four-page spread in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated.


CINCINNATI at Miami (OH)
Sat 10/3
1:00 PM
ESPN360.com
(Ohio) … The series is the nation’s oldest nonconference rivalry, dating to a Dec. 8, 1888 game that was the first college football game played in Ohio … The RedHawks hold a 59-48-7 series lead, though Cincinnati has taken the last three games … Last year’s game saw Cincinnati QB Tony Pike throw for 241 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start as the Bearcats were 45-20 winners.

Cincinnati has moved into the Associated Press top 10 for the first time in program history as the Bearcats stand at No. 10 in this week’s poll … Cincinnati is 12-7-1 as a ranked team … The Bearcats have won four straight and 10 of their last 11 … The Bearcats lead the Big East in scoring (43.2 points per game), passing offense (344.8 ypg) … QB Tony Pike ranks ninth nationally in total offense (315.3 yards per game), fifth in pass efficiency (172.75) and is 14th in passing yards (295.5 ypg) … Pike, who has completed 70.5 percent of his passes (93 of 132) for 1,223 yards and 11 touchdowns, has begun to appear in the Heisman Trophy conversation from some national observers … WR Mardy Gilyard is ranked fourth nationally in receiving yards (110.5 yards per game) … Gilyard has 32 receptions for 442 yards and six TDs … Seven different players have at least one touchdown reception this season, while five different players have at least one rushing TD … Cincinnati has scored 22 offensive touchdowns and has punted just 15 times.

The RedHawks fell to 0-4 after a 29-19 loss to Kent State last Saturday … Miami had a 552-250 advantage in total yards and a 26-13 edge in first downs, but was undone by five turnovers (two interceptions, three lost fumbles) … The RedHawks were shut out in their first two games this season (against Kentucky and at Boise State) … Miami has lost nine straight, dating to last season … Turnovers have been costly for Miami, which is -13 for the season in turnover ratio … QB Zac Dysert made his first career start last week against Kent State, but has played in all four games … Dysert has completed 36 of 64 passes for 412 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions and is also the RedHawks’ leading rusher with 143 yards on the year … First-year head coach Mike Haywood had most recently been the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame … Saturday’s game will be the first home date for Miami, which has played three road dates and a neutral-site game.


CONNECTICUT Open Date
Next Game
Sat 10/10
at Pittsburgh
 

LOUISVILLE vs. Pittsburgh
Fri 10/2
8:00 PM
ESPN2
Friday's game will be the 13th meeting between Pittsburgh and Louisville … The Cardinals hold a 7-5 series lead … The Panthers snapped the Cardinals' five-game series winning streak Nov. 8, 2008, with a 41-7 win at Heinz Field … Pittsburgh had two defensive touchdowns in that game as the Panthers forced five Louisville turnovers … The Cardinals have won the last three games played in Louisville.

Louisville looks to snap a two-game slide with Friday's game against Pittsburgh … The Cardinals play at home for just the second time this season after playing consecutive road games at Kentucky and Utah … Louisville defeated Indiana State 30-10 in the only home game to date … Louisville has both scored and allowed 71 points through three games, though the Cardinals have averaged 65 yards per game more than their opponents … Louisville has not allowed a point in the third quarter this season … QB Justin Burke ranks third in the Big East in total offense (224.3 yards per game) … Sophomore RB Victor Anderson has surpassed 100 yards in a game six times in his career … LB Jon Dempsey leads the Big East and is 10th nationally in tackles (10.1 per game) … P Cory Goettsche is atop the Big East leaderboard in punting (45.1 ypp) … WR Trent Guy is the conference's leading kickoff returner at 33.8 ypr … Louisville is 12-5 when scoring 24 or more points under Steve Kragthorpe and 0-10 when the Cardinals are held below 24 points.

Pittsburgh looks to rebound from its first loss of the season as the Panthers fell 38-31 at North Carolina State … The Panthers are 13-5 in their last 18 games, marking the best such stretch since the 2001-02 seasons … Pittsburgh is 7-2 in its last nine road games … The Panthers are looking for their fifth 4-1 start since the 2000 season, but have not had such a start in an oddnumbered year this decade … The Panthers are 20-for-21 in red zone scoring (95 percent), leading the Big East … Pittsburgh's defense has registered 17 sacks through four games while the Panthers' offensive line has allowed just two sacks … Pittsburgh has committed just two turnovers (one interceptions, one lost fumble) … RB Dion Lewis is the Big East's leading rusher and is ranked fifth nationally at 123.2 yards per game … Lewis has scored seven rushing touchdowns and has gained 493 yards as a true freshman … LB Adam Gunn, who had 19 tackles and five sacks in Pittsburgh's first two games, has missed the last two games with an ankle sprain.


PITTSBURGH at Louisville
Fri 10/2
8:00 PM
ESPN2
Friday’s game will be the 13th meeting between Pittsburgh and Louisville … The Cardinals hold a 7-5 series lead … The Panthers snapped the Cardinals’ five-game series winning streak Nov. 8, 2008, with a 41-7 win at Heinz Field … Pittsburgh had two defensive touchdowns in that game as the Panthers forced five Louisville turnovers … The Cardinals have won the last three games played in Louisville.

Louisville looks to snap a two-game slide with Friday’s game against Pittsburgh … The Cardinals play at home for just the second time this season after playing consecutive road games at Kentucky and Utah … Louisville defeated Indiana State 30-10 in the only home game to date … Louisville has both scored and allowed 71 points through three games, though the Cardinals have averaged 65 yards per game more than their opponents … Louisville has not allowed a point in the third quarter this season … QB Justin Burke ranks third in the Big East in total offense (224.3 yards per game) … Sophomore RB Victor Anderson has surpassed 100 yards in a game six times in his career … LB Jon Dempsey leads the Big East and is 10th nationally in tackles (10.1 per game) … P Cory Goettsche is atop the Big East leaderboard in punting (45.1 ypp) … WR Trent Guy is the conference’s leading kickoff returner at 33.8 ypr … Louisville is 12-5 when scoring 24 or more points under Steve Kragthorpe and 0-10 when the Cardinals are held below 24 points.

Pittsburgh looks to rebound from its first loss of the season as the Panthers fell 38-31 at North Carolina State … The Panthers are 13-5 in their last 18 games, marking the best such stretch since the 2001-02 seasons … Pittsburgh is 7-2 in its last nine road games … The Panthers are looking for their fifth 4-1 start since the 2000 season, but have not had such a start in an oddnumbered year this decade … The Panthers are 20-for-21 in red zone scoring (95 percent), leading the Big East … Pittsburgh’s defense has registered 17 sacks through four games while the Panthers’ offensive line has allowed just two sacks … Pittsburgh has committed just two turnovers (one interceptions, one lost fumble) … RB Dion Lewis is the Big East’s leading rusher and is ranked fifth nationally at 123.2 yards per game … Lewis has scored seven rushing touchdowns and has gained 493 yards as a true freshman … LB Adam Gunn, who had 19 tackles and five sacks in Pittsburgh’s first two games, has missed the last two games with an ankle sprain.


RUTGERS Open Date
Next Game
Sat 10/10
vs. Texas Southern
 

SYRACUSE vs. USF
Sat 10/3
12:00 PM
Big East Network
USF and Syracuse have met four times prior to Saturday's game … The Bulls have won all four previous meetings, including a 45-13 win Oct. 18, 2008, at Raymond James Stadium … USF QB Matt Grothe threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns in last year's game … Both teams' starting quarterbacks have played Division I basketball — USF's B.J. Daniels played in 19 games for the Bulls last season, while Syracuse's Greg Paulus was an Academic All-America selection at Duke.

USF has scored wins against teams ranked No. 5 and No. 13 in the past two years, but the Bulls gained what might have been their program's most important win last Saturday as USF got a 17-7 decision at Florida State … QB B.J. Daniels made his first career start against the Seminoles and has registered back-to-back games with at least 100 rushing yards … Daniels came off the bench against Charleston Southern to replace QB Matt Grothe, who had suffered a season-ending knee injury … While the quarterbacks have been the focus of most of the attention, the Bulls' defense has been quietly dominant … USF ranks second nationally in scoring defense (6.8 ppg), trailing only Oklahoma (4.7 ppg), and is 11th in total defense (242.8 ypg) … The Bulls have held three of their first four opponents to seven points or fewer and have allowed just three touchdowns … LB Kion Wilson has a team-high 22 tackles, while DE George Selvie and DE Jason Pierre-Paul are tied for the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss.

Syracuse has won back-to-back games for the first time since the 2006 season following a 41-24 win against Maine last Saturday … The game against USF will be the third in a stretch of six straight home games for the Orange … Syracuse enters Saturday's game ranked 13th nationally in rushing defense (83.0 yards per game) … QB Greg Paulus is ranked third in the Big East in passing (222 yards per game) and has completed 78 of 114 passes (68.4 percent) for 888 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions … WR Mike Williams is the primary target with 437 yards and three touchdowns on 28 catches (109.2 yards per game) … Williams is second in the Big East in receiving yards and third in receptions (8.0 rpg) … RB Delone Carter has five rushing touchdowns and is averaging 71.0 rushing yards per game … LB Derrell Smith is third in the Big East in tackles (9.0 per game), sacks (0.9 per game) and tackles for loss (1.4 per game)… Smith has 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss … K Ryan Lichtenstein is 7-for-8 on field goals.


USF at Syracuse
Sat 10/3
12:00 PM
Big East Network
USF and Syracuse have met four times prior to Saturday’s game … The Bulls have won all four previous meetings, including a 45-13 win Oct. 18, 2008, at Raymond James Stadium … USF QB Matt Grothe threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s game … Both teams’ starting quarterbacks have played Division I basketball — USF’s B.J. Daniels played in 19 games for the Bulls last season, while Syracuse’s Greg Paulus was an Academic All-America selection at Duke.

USF has scored wins against teams ranked No. 5 and No. 13 in the past two years, but the Bulls gained what might have been their program’s most important win last Saturday as USF got a 17-7 decision at Florida State … QB B.J. Daniels made his first career start against the Seminoles and has registered back-to-back games with at least 100 rushing yards … Daniels came off the bench against Charleston Southern to replace QB Matt Grothe, who had suffered a season-ending knee injury … While the quarterbacks have been the focus of most of the attention, the Bulls’ defense has been quietly dominant … USF ranks second nationally in scoring defense (6.8 ppg), trailing only Oklahoma (4.7 ppg), and is 11th in total defense (242.8 ypg) … The Bulls have held three of their first four opponents to seven points or fewer and have allowed just three touchdowns … LB Kion Wilson has a team-high 22 tackles, while DE George Selvie and DE Jason Pierre-Paul are tied for the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss.

Syracuse has won back-to-back games for the first time since the 2006 season following a 41-24 win against Maine last Saturday … The game against USF will be the third in a stretch of six straight home games for the Orange … Syracuse enters Saturday’s game ranked 13th nationally in rushing defense (83.0 yards per game) … QB Greg Paulus is ranked third in the Big East in passing (222 yards per game) and has completed 78 of 114 passes (68.4 percent) for 888 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions … WR Mike Williams is the primary target with 437 yards and three touchdowns on 28 catches (109.2 yards per game) … Williams is second in the Big East in receiving yards and third in receptions (8.0 rpg) … RB Delone Carter has five rushing touchdowns and is averaging 71.0 rushing yards per game … LB Derrell Smith is third in the Big East in tackles (9.0 per game), sacks (0.9 per game) and tackles for loss (1.4 per game)… Smith has 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss … K Ryan Lichtenstein is 7-for-8 on field goals.


WEST VIRGINIA vs. Colorado
Thu 10/1
7:45 PM
ESPN
West Virginia and Colorado meet for just the second time as the Buffaloes reciprocate the Mountaineers’ Sept. 18, 2008, visit to Boulder … Last year’s meeting saw Colorado take a 17-14 overtime win after West Virginia had erased an early 14-0 deficit … West Virginia QB Pat White ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns, while Colorado QB Cody Hawkins threw for 179 yards and two TDs.

West Virginia fell to 2-1 following a 41-30 loss at Auburn Sept. 19 … The Mountaineers had defeated Liberty and East Carolina to open the season and come off a bye … West Virginia has scored at least 30 points in each of its three games thus far … QB Jarrett Brown leads the Big East and ranks sixth nationally in total offense (335.3 yards per game) … Brown has completed 68.5 percent of his passes (61 of 89) and has thrown for 798 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions … WR Jock Sanders is averaging a BIG EAST-leading 9.7 receptions per game and is third nationally … Sanders is averaging 103 receiving yards per game to rank third in the Big East … RB Noel Devine is the conference’s second-leading rusher at 106.7 yards per game … Devine has five rushing touchdowns and 320 rushing yards through three games … West Virginia has converted 58 percent of its third down opportunities (23 of 40) … DE Julian Miller has a team-high 2.5 sacks, while LB J.T. Thomas leads the team with 4.5 tackles for loss … The Mountaineers are a combined -7 in turnover margin.

Colorado began the 2009 season with losses to Colorado State (23-17) and Toledo (54-38) before picking up its first win of the year against Wyoming in Week 3 (24-0) … The Buffaloes did not play last week … Colorado allowed an average of 500 yards and 38.5 points in its first two games, but held Wyoming to 230 yards in the shutout … QB Cody Hawkins — the son of head coach Dan Hawkins — has thrown for 753 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions this season … WR Scotty McKnight has team highs of 20 receptions, 227 yards and two touchdown catches … RB Rodney Stewart — who ran for 166 yards against West Virginia last season — is averaging 82.5 yards per game and has two rushing touchdowns … LB Jeff Smart, who earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors last year, ranks fifth in the Big 12 in tackles this season (8.7 per game).



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