Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big East Preview, Week 5

This week brings the first in-conference games, as we head into the end of early season play. Some teams have found their way, while others have no clue. The big storyline right now would have to be the coaches on the hot-seat. Three or four could possibly be ousted by late January. However, there is still plenty of time for some of those guys to still make a positive impression. To the picks.

Last Week: 7-1

Season: 21-6

Bye Week: None

Morgan State at Rutgers: This should be the Knights first win. Morgan State does have a winning record in 1-AA, but haven't played an FBS opponent. Rutgers main concern should be if Mike Teel will connect more with his receivers than with his right cross. Rutgers' D-backs beware if this game goes the wrong way...Teel will be on the prowl to knock a brother out.

Prediction: 34-20 Rutgers

Cincinnati at Akron: A very nice debut by Bearcat quarterback Tony Pike last week. Dustin Grutza's replacement went 20-24 for 241 yards and three scores against Miami of Ohio. Pike will take that confidence into a game where he should be able to pass all over the Zips. Akron did post a win at Syracuse, but that is not really impressive considering the state of the Orange. The Zips have scored a respectable 105 points...but the major issue is that they have allowed 110. Zip hurler Chris Jacquemain does have a strong arm, though interceptions have been a problem...and will be a problem against this Bearcat defense. Cincy will roll on offense and win the battle of turnovers as well.

Prediction: 38-24 Cincinnati

Marshall at West Virginia: The battle of the Mountain State may actually be a battle this year...especially with the state of the Mountaineer offense. Struggling to find their identity, WVU needs to become multi-dimensional, because Marshall will stack the box against the run. The Herd comes in with a respectable 3-1 record, with their only loss coming by the hands of Wisconsin. Frosh QB Marc Cann and senior wideout Darius Passmore have led a powerful passing attack. The two have already connected 26 times, four for scores. The Mountaineers have done nothing threw the air for two-straight weeks, but did have Noel Devine bust out last week on the ground. Having Reed Williams back on defense for WVU was beneficial, as the squad was solid against Colorado. Defense won't be the issue for the Mountaineers; it lands solely on the offense and the coaching staff. Bill Stewart needs a win badly, and this is the week to make a statement that WVU isn't taking the year off. Expect more dynamic play-calling, with a charged defense to bolster the Mounties to a win.

Prediction: 35-17 WVU

South Florida at NC State: This is a very interesting match-up. USF has been leading the way for the Big East, but injuries and a poor performance last week raises concerns. NC State comes in full of confidence after taking down East Carolina, though injuries have hit them as well. Russell Wilson, who starred at QB last week, has been ruled out, so third-string Harrison Beck gets the nod. USF has to be salivating by the thought of this situation. The Bulls' front seven will be attacking all night long. The Pack's leading tackler is also out, so Matt Grothe and co. must exploit the middle of the field. USF has to get the offense rolling, especially against a squad that will struggle to score points. Lackluster performances eventually will catch up with the Bulls if they are not careful. The team with the least injuries may win this game, and that doesn't bode well for State.

Prediction: 27-14 South Florida

Pitt at Syracuse: It was the return of LeSean McCoy last week for Pitt in a huge win over Iowa. Syracuse also was successful, in a win over Northeastern. However, the big storyline entering the game is Greg Robinson's tenure at the 'Cuse is in deep water, following less-than confident words from the Orange AD. Coach Wanny is in the hot-seat as well, considering many thought Pitt would be a Big East contender this year...which may still happen. The ‘Cuse still didn't play well against an inferior opponent last week, which is not a good sign. The Panthers' offense will successfully run the ball, which will open up some easy passing routes. Pitt has had its share of problems, but nothing like Syracuse is going through.

Prediction: 30-10 Pitt

Game of the Week. UConn at Louisville: The Cardinals came back from the dead last week, with a big win over Kansas State. Freshman tailback, Victor Anderson was virtually unstoppable, going for 176 yards and three scores. The Cardinals’ defense was much more active as well, creating three turnovers in the win. UConn just keeps getting the job done. Now 4-0, the Huskies are out to prove that they can repeat as Big East champs (yes, last year they were the co-champ…how we tend to forget.) The big question for UConn is can they comeback from a 10 point or more deficit? Tyler Lorenzen hasn’t been blowing anyone away with his arm. It has been the Donald Brown show all year. Expect Louisville to stack the box and force Lorenzen to throw down the field. As for the offense, the Cardinals need Cantwell to be more consistent. This may be a battle of whatever quarterback gets to 150 yards his team wins. A Friday night home crowd, an improved defense, and the emergence of a running game will prove to be too much for UConn.

Prediction: 34-29 Louisville

Chris Sedenka is the host of the PM JAB, which can be heard weekdays between 3-7pm on 96.3FM and AM1440 sports radio WJAB in Central and Southern Maine...and wishes KFC was healthy.


Anonymous said...

Um, yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. You see, Syracuse has started to put the new cover sheets on all of their TPS reports, so I think they will come in to work on Saturday and keep that winning streak alive, m'kay?

Chris said...

Greg...Whats happening? Um...yeah we are going to go ahead and fire you, because you are awful...ok?


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