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In topsy-turvy Big East, anybody can win

As USF prepares to return to the field at Rutgers on Saturday, coach Skip Holtz spoke Monday about the unpredictability of the Big East and a Rutgers team that is one win away from becoming bowl eligible.

Winning just four games last season, the Scarlet Knights’ (5-3, 2-2) young roster was tabbed to finish last in the conference this year. However, that spot is held by USF (4-3, 0-3), which was picked to finish third and received first-place votes.

It’s been that kind of year so far in the Big East, where No. 23 Cincinnati is the highest-ranked team in the Associated Press poll and the only team undefeated in the conference, despite being picked to finish fifth.

“When you look at the difference between winning and losing in almost every one of these conference games, it’s one play,” Holtz said. “I think the margin of victory in this league is extremely small … When you start talking about a conference game, all the way from first place to last place, almost anybody can win.”

The Bulls are the only team in the conference that has yet to win a league game, but will face a Rutgers team that is coming off consecutive losses after opening the Big East season with a pair of wins.

“When you look at (Rutgers), especially on the defensive side of the ball … they’re ranked in the top three in the league in … nine of the categories that we keep,” Holtz said. “They have a very talented team.”