Sports

Pitt picked No. 1 in Big East; UofL 7th

Louisville's football team was picked to finish seventh in the eight-team Big East Conference as Pittsburgh was chosen in the media poll to win the conference.

West Virginia, Cincinnati and South Florida followed closely behind the Panthers.

The Panthers, returning 14 starters for Coach Dave Wannstedt, received 161 points and eight of a possible 24 first-place votes in a pool released Tuesday.

The Mountaineers received 151 points and five first-place votes.

The Bearcats, who won the conference and played in the Orange Bowl last season, also received eight first-place votes and 144 points.

South Florida got the remaining three first-place votes and 130 points.

Teleconference call replaces OVC Media Day

Beth DeBauche, the Ohio Valley Conference's new commissioner, talked Tuesday about how the league needs to take advantage of cutting-edge technology to spread information about its sports.

That's something the conference already has a nice head start on.

The OVC is among the leagues that swapped a traditional football media day to mingle coaches with reporters in promoting the upcoming season for a two-day teleconference call that wrapped up Tuesday.

"Obviously with the financial constraints everyone's feeling with the economy, I think this is a wise decision," Eastern Kentucky Coach Dean Hood said. "I personally like going down and getting a chance to see all the coaches in a more relaxed environment than game day is before it all gets cranked up."

His Colonels were picked last week as the pre-season favorites by fellow coaches to win the OVC for the third time in the past five years. They've won the past two league titles.

Hood, who must replace quarterback Allan Holland who was lost to graduation, said he wasn't sure how his team wound up being picked as the favorite.

"We lost some pretty big bullets in the gun," he said.

Florida's Cooper back for senior season

Florida receiver Riley Cooper, who has agreed to play baseball for the Texas Rangers, is returning for his senior season.

Gators Coach Urban Meyer announced Cooper's decision Tuesday.

"He will be counted on heavily to be one of our go-to receivers," Meyer said.

Cooper started 12 games for the eventual national champions last season and caught 18 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.

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