Middle of the pack for the football team

The USF football team was picked to finish fifth in the Big East by the preseason Media Poll which was presented at the Big East meetings in Newport, Rhode Island on Tuesday.

Last season, the Bulls were picked to finish sixth in the league, but wrapped up the season with a trip to their first Bowl game: a 14-0 loss to N. C. State.

This fall, finishing fifth may not be so bad now that the Big East has six tie-ins to bowl games. In addition to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Gator Bowl, Insight Bowl and the Nokia Sugar Bowl, the Big East can send teams to the International Bowl in Toronto and the Birmingham Bowl in Alabama.

Another assistant: Coach Jim Leavitt announced the hiring of Patrick Burnham as the director of high school relations.

Burnham, son of defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, is a graduate of FSU and worked with the University of South Carolina as a graduate assistant from 1996-98.

– Staff report

The Big East Preseason Poll was released Tuesday, with West Virginia receiving 18 out 24 first-place votes. The Mountaineers are coming off a 38-35 win over the University of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and went undefeated in league play.

1. West Virginia (11-1)2. Louisville (9-3)3. Pittsburgh (5-6)4. Rutgers (7-5)5. USF (6-6)6. Connecticut (5-6)7. Cincinnati (4-7)8. Syracuse (1-10)-Records from 2005 season