What to watch in the Big East, Week 2

1. Big Three or Big Four: South Florida made its case for inclusion into its state's Big Boys club last year by winning at Florida State. But it's a whole new level going against Florida, which has been the dominant team in the Sunshine State and arguably the best in the nation for the past five years. A victory would definitely lift the Bulls' profile even higher. But Urban Meyer is 9-0 versus other Florida schools during his tenure in Gainesville.

2. Can the Bulls score? USF hung 59 on Stony Brook, while the Gators' offense stalled for most of the day against Miami (Ohio). But Florida's defense is relentless, and the Bulls are still mostly young and inexperienced at running back and receiver. Can B.J. Daniels lead his team to scoring opportunities and put pressure on John Brantley and the Gators offense to respond? If not, it could be a long day.

3. Speed vs. speed: South Florida is always lauded inside the Big East for having speed. There might not be a program in the country with more speed than Florida. It will be interesting to compare the pace between the two schools. Remember the last time Florida faced a Big East team that was supposedly fast? It ran Cincinnati out of the building in the Sugar Bowl.

4. Can Syracuse hurt Locker? Syracuse is looking for its first 2-0 start since 1999 (that is not a misprint). To do so, the Orange will have to fly across country ... and fly into the backfield to slow down Washington star quarterback Jake Locker. The blitz-happy defense is capable of doing that -- remember the hurt it put on Tom Savage last year? -- and the secondary is looking strong. But it will also have to contain Locker's running ability to keep the game within reach.

5. Friends of Coal Bowl: Some people say it's a rivalry. Others say that one side has to, you know, actually win a game before it's a rivalry. Either way, the entire state of West Virginia will be paying attention to the Friends of Coal Bowl on Friday night, as West Virginia travels to Marshall. Longtime Mountaineers assistant Doc Holliday coaches the Thundering Herd and will have all the inside scoop on his former players. But he doesn't have a roster that's nearly as talented. West Virginia needs a good showing to build some momentum going into its next two games: Maryland and at LSU.

6. Rutgers' offensive improvement: It took more than a half for Rutgers to score its first touchdown of the season against Norfolk State. While that game was never in doubt, a repeat performance could cause some problems this week on the road at Florida International. Former Greg Schiano assistant Mario Cristobal knows the Scarlet Knights well, while FIU brings some unknowns to the game since it did not play in Week 1. Look for Savage to get off to a better start than he did in the opener, and watch for how Rutgers' offensive line has or hasn't improved after one game together.

7. Cincinnati's adjustments: Sure, it's only Indiana State. There's probably not a program in the FBS that would lose to the Sycamores. Still, the Bearcats looked awful during the second half at Fresno State and had major problems exposed on the offensive line. Look to see what personnel changes or adjustments Butch Jones makes there. And watch for Zach Collaros & Co. to work out some frustrations against an outmanned opponent.

8. Pitt's bounce-back: The Panthers' FCS opponent isn't as easy this week. New Hampshire has beaten Ball State, Northwestern, Army and Marshall since 2006, was the only team to beat Villanova last year and is ranked in the top 5 of its division. At home, though, Pitt should take care of business. It should be a bounce-back game for Dion Lewis and the defense, while Tino Sunseri could use Saturday to gain confidence before the next game against Miami.

9. Connecticut's timing: We're not going to learn much more this week about UConn's toughness in the trenches, which was a problem against Michigan. The Huskies will overpower Texas Southern without too much trouble. One thing we can find out is if Zach Frazer and the passing game have improved their timing. The offense was marred by drops and inaccurate throws against the Wolverines. This week should offer an opportunity to get back on track, and maybe locate a true No. 1 receiver -- if there is one.

10. Charlie Strong's first win: OK, I'm jumping the gun by already calling this week's game for Louisville, but if the Cardinals can't beat FCS foe Eastern Kentucky, then it's going to be a long year. This should be a chance to celebrate Strong's first victory as a head coach and to work out some kinks with a tough road game at Oregon State looming.