MORGANTOWN - The mathematical conundrum that was the Big East Conference championship race has boiled down to three teams still all having a shot at the coveted BCS bid.
Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia all have two losses as the season comes down to its final week. Louisville, with a 5-2 conference record, has completed its season and has clinched at least a share of the title. It wins the title outright if Cincinnati loses Saturday against Connecticut, regardless of the WVU-South Florida game result.
Cincinnati wins the BCS if West Virginia loses Thursday night at South Florida.
The Mountaineers' only hope of winning the title depends on the enigma that is the BCS computer ratings.
WVU, 8-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big East Conference, must defeat South Florida and hope for a Cincinnati victory. In that scenario, the BCS bid goes to whatever team is ranked the highest in the BCS ranking.
"We still have that goal of winning the Big East championship, so our No. 1 priority is to take care of South Florida," WVU defensive back Keith Tandy said. "Everything else will just have to take care of itself."
South Florida started out the season on fire, knocking off Notre Dame in South Bend as it jumped out to a 4-0 start. But it has since fallen on tough times and needs a win in the 8 p.m. Thursday game against WVU to become bowl eligible.
"This is all the motivation we need," WVU running back Shawne Alston said. "We control our own destiny with a victory. We have been able to battle through adversity. Hopefully, we can continue to do that Thursday down at South Florida."
WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said the all that has been accomplished to this point in the season can be "deleted" and "forgotten," including last week's comeback victory over arch-rival Pitt.
"This game is what this team will be remembered for," he said. "This is where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year. I would have like to have wrapped it up, but it's a very competitive conference.
"We haven't talked about scenarios. We know we can't be the sole Big East champion, but we can have a part of it."