Short on rivals, Big East looks to Rutgers-Temple

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Who would have predicted that Rutgers at Temple would end up being this season's first marquee football matchup in the Big East?

A larger-than-normal college crowd is expected in Philadelphia on Saturday when the Owls (3-2, 2-0) host the No. 19 Scarlet Knights (6-0, 3-0) for a share of first place in the conference. And while it may not be Florida-LSU, it could be an important game for this conference and region.

"I think it's real important," Temple coach Steve Addazio said. "We're going to represent Northeast and Big East football. "

That seems a bit ironic for a program reinstated to the Big East this season after being evicted in 2004 due to poor attendance, bad facilities and failing to field a competitive team.

But the Big East needs a rivalry or two to develop as it struggles through realignment. The departure of West Virginia for the Big 12, and pending departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC will leave both the region and the league without a lot contests with regional cache.