One loss sent the Bulls reeling nine spots in the Associated Press poll, landing them at No. 11.
USF suffered its first defeat Thursday, falling on the road to an unranked Rutgers team.
“Our goal has never been anything with rankings, so that’s not something I ever think about,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “Our goal is to win the Big East; that’s still our goal.”
Only Connecticut, the Bulls’ opponent Saturday, is undefeated in conference play. The Huskies improved to 2-0 with a homecoming victory over Louisville.
Rutgers moved into second place with a 2-1 conference record and regained a national ranking, No. 25, with its win over USF.
The Bulls are tied with West Virginia and Pittsburgh for third place in the Big East at 1-1, and Cincinnati, Louisville and Syracuse are 1-2.
“You’re probably not going to have a shot at winning the Big East with two losses, you’ll probably have a shot with one,” Leavitt said. “This is an interesting year and everyone is pretty good.”
The Bulls are no longer the highest-ranked team in the conference or the state, with those honors belonging to No. 6 West Virginia and Florida, tied for ninth with Southern California.
In the Bowl Championship Series standings, USF fell eight spots to No. 10. The ranking allows the Bulls eligibility to be selected into a BCS bowl game, and they can automatically secure a spot by winning the Big East Championship.
Injuries pile up
Wide receiver Taurus Johnson sprained his ankle in the first quarter against Rutgers and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with the injury.
Johnson, a junior, leads the Bulls in receptions (22) and yards (260) with two touchdowns.
Right tackle Walt Walker had to be helped off the field with a right knee injury. The senior has started in all seven of the
After Walker was replaced by Jared Carnes, quarterback Matt Grothe was sacked five times.
Test results of his knee will likely be available today.
Guard Matt Huners, a starter in 2006, is still recovering from an ACL tear suffered in the spring game, but may become eligible this week against the Huskies.
Center Nick Capogna sprained his knee in the season-opener against Elon and has been limited since. He may return to the starting lineup to strengthen a unit that allowed a season-high seven sacks against the