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Sneak peek at the week ahead

Conference play is back ...

Pittsburgh at Syracuse (ESPN, 7 ET Friday): It's the final meeting between these two as Big East members, as both enter the ACC next season. The Orange have lost eight of their last nine games but play well on Friday nights. (We all remember last year's upset of West Virginia, no?) Both teams are coming off a bye week, with the Panthers riding a two-game winning streak.

Connecticut at No. 22 Rutgers (ESPNU, noon ET Saturday): The Scarlet Knights fell to the Huskies in their regular-season finale last season, costing themselves a shot at a share of their first Big East title. They look poised for another run at the trophy this season, with a 4-0 start and an elite defense that should make it very difficult for UConn to consistently move the ball.

South Florida at Temple (Big East Network, noon ET Saturday): The Owls are playing their first Big East game since 2004, but are they ready for the challenge after a month that featured a win over an FCS team and two losses? USF has dropped three straight but showed signs of life in a home loss to then-No. 4 Florida State and will look to get back on track.

Miami (Ohio) at Cincinnati (GamePlan/ESPN3, 7 p.m. ET Saturday): The Bearcats took a major step forward Saturday in a win over Virginia Tech, improving to 3-0 and garnering a coaches' poll ranking in the process. They look like an early conference contender and can prove that by taking out of a 3-2 RedHawks squad that has gotten trounced by a pair of name-brand programs already this season (Ohio State, Boise State).