- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's game week.
Man, that feels good to write, and I'm sure it sounds pretty good to you as well. As regular readers of this space know, on Monday mornings during the season we review the previous weekend and preview the coming week. Since there's nothing yet to review, this is simply a preview of the first slate of games involving Big East teams.
As always, games are listed in descending order of interest/importance (all times Eastern; all games Saturday unless noted).
Connecticut at Michigan (3:30 p.m., ABC regional): An intriguing matchup for both sides. UConn fans are as optimistic as they've ever been, while the Wolverines desperately need to start off on the right foot. And it will be in a bigger Big House.
No. 15 Pittsburgh at Utah (8:30 p.m., Thursday): Pitt puts its preseason ranking and Big East favorite status on the line right away at perennially strong Utah. A rematch of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, which itself was a mismatch.
Cincinnati at Fresno State (10 p.m., ESPN2): The two-time defending Big East champions don't get an easy start to the Butch Jones era, as the Bearcats must travel across the country and take on a known giant killer. Cincinnati fans will need plenty of coffee on Saturday to stay up for this one.
Kentucky at Louisville (3:30 p.m., ABC regional): The Governor's Cup rivalry doesn't have the national interest it generated a few years ago, but it's still the first game for the Cardinals under Charlie Strong in their newly renovated stadium. And it's still one of the top Week 1 rivalries.
Syracuse at Akron (6 p.m.): Slightly tricky road game for the Orange, who can easily get off to at least a 3-1 start this season if they handle the opener.
Coastal Carolina at No. 25 West Virginia (3:30 p.m., ESPN3.com): Should be nothing more than a tune-up for the Mountaineers and a chance for new starting quarterback Geno Smith to gain confidence.
Stony Brook at South Florida (7:05 p.m., ESPN3.com): Of the three first-year coaches in the Big East, Skip Holtz has far and away the easiest debut. Then again, he has to go to The Swamp in Week 2.
Norfolk State at Rutgers (7:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN3.com): Notable only because it's technically the first game of the year by a Big East team.