Skip Holtz trying to avoid another 3-3 start

Previewing tonight's Big East game between South Florida at 25 West Virginia, 7:30 ET on ESPN.

This is West Virginia’s Big East opener, and the Mountaineers look to be the favorite to win the conference title. But in each of the last four seasons, the Mountaineers have finished 5-2 in Big East play and haven’t won the conference outright in any of those seasons.

USF vs WVU, All Time

South Florida is 3-0 this season against non-BCS AQ conference teams (beating Stony Brook, Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic). However, the Bulls have lost to their only two major conference opponents -- Florida and Syracuse.

If the Bulls fall to 3-3, it will be familiar territory for first-year USF head coach Skip Holtz. At East Carolina from 2005-09, Holtz’s teams were 3-3 after six games each season except 2006, when the Pirates started 2-4.

Is West Virginia forging a new identity this season? Among 120 FBS teams, the Mountaineers’ offense ranks in the fifties in both scoring and yards per game, but their defense ranks seventh in scoring and yards allowed. Last season, that defense didn’t crack the top 30 in either category.