West Virginia is the highest ranked Big East football team at No. 7 this week in the two major polls.

The Mountaineers jumped one spot in The Associated Press rankings on Sunday while remaining unchanged in the USA Today listings.

Louisville, which dealt WVU its lone loss 44-34 on Nov. 2, advanced two notches to No. 8 in The AP and rose from 12th to No. 11 in the other poll.

Previously unbeaten Rutgers plunged all the way to 15th and 16th, respectively, following Saturday night’s shocking 30-11 setback at Cincinnati.

The AP writers/broadcasters had ranked the Scarlet Knights No. 7 a week ago and USA Today coaches No. 8.

Meantime, the BCS updated standings Sunday afternoon showed West Virginia No. 7, Louisville No. 9 and Rutgers No. 14.

Cincinnati’s surprising conquest certainly makes it more difficult for West Virginia to earn the Big East’s automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series.

That unexpected result eliminates a three-way tie for the conference championship and make head-to-head consideration likely.

WVU has games remaining at home with South Florida this coming Saturday and Rutgers in the Dec. 2 regular-season finale.

Louisville has a game at Pitt on Saturday and with UConn at home on Dec. 2.

Rutgers hosts Syracuse on Saturday in the other game left on its schedule.

All three teams currently are 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the league with the results of last week’s contests.

If WVU and Louisville wind up 11-1 overall and 6-1 in the conference they would share the title. But the Cardinals would represent the Big East in the BCS because of their 44-34 victory over WVU on Nov. 2 at Louisville.

Head-to-head becomes a tie-breaker in such situations.

However, there still would be a possibility that WVU could be chosen as an at-large team for one of the other BCS bowls, giving the Big East two representatives.

In that connection, West Virginia is mentioned as a possibility for BCS berths in ESPN online bowl projections by two football experts.

Ivan Maisel projects a WVU vs. Michigan pairing in the Rose Bowl, while Mark Schlabach thinks the Mountaineers could land in the Fed Ex Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech.

Those two ESPN reps update their projections weekly for all 32 bowls.


o Sports Information Director Shelly Poe announced that the WVU-South Florida game will start at noon and be televised by ESPN2.

o Patrick White and Steve Slaton were selected by WVU coaches as offensive champions for the Pitt game. Reed Williams (defense) and Pat McAfee (special teams) also were award-winners.

o Scout team champions were Markell Harrison (offense), Jason Karns (defense), and Justin Hostetler (special teams).

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