NEWPORT, R.I. -
If there was any doubt, the expectations for the University of South Florida this football season have never been bigger. USF was picked to finish second in the Big East in the league's media poll, released this morning. USF received one first-place vote and was picked to finish behind West Virginia, which has won or shared two of the last three Big East titles.
USF has defeated West Virginia the past two seasons and closes the regular season at Morgantown on Dec. 6 in a nationally televised contest (ESPN or ESPN2).
West Virginia received 22 of the 24 first-place votes from the 24 media members - three that cover each team. Pittsburgh, which was picked to finish third, received the other first-place vote.
Despite losing running back Ray Rice, Rutgers was picked to finish fourth. Cincinnati edged defending co-Big East champion Connecticut by one point for fifth, with Louisville seventh and Syracuse eighth.
Not surprisingly, Syracuse was a unanimous selection to finish last, receiving all 24 eighth-place votes.
Rank Team Pts.
1. West Virginia (22) 189
2. South Florida (1) 149
3. Pittsburgh (1) 128
4. Rutgers 110
5. Cincinnati 98
6. Connecticut 97
7. Louisville 69
8. Syracuse 24
first-place votes in parentheses