Real Test Next for WVU

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- So long, East Carolina, Western Michigan, Marshall and Maryland.

Hello, South Florida.

Hello, season.

It begins in earnest Friday for No. 5 West Virginia against surging South Florida -- the team that ruined its chance for a Big East title in 2006.

About 20 minutes after a 48-7 bludgeoning Saturday of East Carolina, WVU coach Rich Rodriguez was asked if he'd already mentioned South Florida to his players.

"I didn't have to," Rodriguez said. "I just said, 'Y'all know who's next,' and they blurted it out. Our guys are excited to try to play better than we did against them last year."

West Virginia has proved nothing thus far, despite winning all four of its games handily.

We already knew tailback Steve Slaton (114 yards rushing yesterday) and quarterback Pat White (18 for 20, 181 yards, two touchdowns) were really good. We already knew an offense that rolled up 599 more yards could score from anywhere, on anyone, and we still wonder if the defense has improved enough to win the conference.

We'll get a pretty good idea Friday.

South Florida (3-0) won at Auburn two weeks ago and looks to be better than when it upset West Virginia, 24-19, late last season in Morgantown. The Bulls were a three-touchdown underdog that day, but proved to be one of the rare teams with the athletic ability to frustrate the Mountaineers.

"They're definitely fast," White said. …