Tuesday, September 09, 2008
After two weeks of football one thing is certain in the Big East...the conference is down. I mean way down...we are talking Andre Ware down here folks. The biggest non-conference win is a tight South Florida overtime thriller of Central Florida. Or how about UConn's extra-time gem against Temple. Man, it's not pretty, but it's early...and ya never know what could happen on the college gridiron. Four games on the slate this week, against four BCS schools. It is time for the Big East to make a statement...hopefully a positive one. On to the picks...
Last Week: 5-2
Bye Week: WVU(Thank God), Cincy, Louisville, Pitt
Penn State at Syracuse: With last week's loss to Akron, Syracuse may have sealed their fate at going 0-12. These ain't your daddy's Orange teams. Dick MacPherson is rolling in his grave, and he's not even dead yet. Penn State is fresh off a dominating performance over Oregon State. Even with all of the off-the-field issues for State, the Lions are playing great ball, including averaging nearly 300 yards per-game on the ground. Not a good sign for Syracuse's dilapitated defense. The State defense has been very stingy as well, only allowing 24 points so far this season. Not a good sign for the Orange iffy offense. The Big East will not gain any respect from this gem. Evan Royster will run for as many yards as he wants against the 'Cuse, as PSU rolls.
Prediction: 48-10 Penn State
North Carolina at Rutgers: A Thursday night kick, with a national audience highlights this clash. Both teams are coming off a bye in different situations. Rutgers lost to a very good Fresno team 24-7...though the Knights had their chances. Carolina had a should-have-been walk through against McNeese State...only to win by 7. Mike Teel (see excited picture above) should have a better game this week, as he goes against a team that struggled to slow a division 1-AA offense. Though running back Kordell Young needs to run stronger if he wants the Rutgers fans to forget about Ray Rice. UNC will jump on the back once again of Brandon Tate, who racked up nearly 400 all-purpose yards in the first game. UNC will be too one-dimensional to take down the Knights, who have a underrated defense. They limit Tate, they win the game. Rutgers should benefit from the home-field advantage as well.
Prediction: 29-17 Rutgers
Virginia at UConn: There is not a lot to take away from UConn's gem of a win last week against Temple. Neither offense produced much as Tropical Storm Hannah destroyed Philly. Though the Huskies did have one bright spot...Donald Young. Young rushed for over 200 yards, and now has 360 on the short season. UConn's defense has also played well, not allowing a touchdown this season (though that's against Temple and Hofstra). Meanwhile, Virginia has had an interesting year that includes a shutout...and being blown out. While UConn averages 255 rushing yards a game, while The Cav's average...61. Have fun throwing the ball UVA, which may not be a good thing, considering they don't have a passing touchdown this season. The ACC may be worse than the Big East this season, so this is a big game for the Huskies...and they should know it. They are a better team on paper, and should be able to grind out the yards and eat the clock. A low scoring affair? Yes...but that is how UConn wins games...ugly.
Prediction: 23-14 UConn
Game of the Week. Kansas at South Florida: Two top 20 teams...two good quarterbacks...two good coaches...one big game. Friday night will prove to be the biggest opportunity for the Big East to make some noise, when Kansas rolls into Tampa. Both teams are off to 2-0 starts, though the competition hasn't been top shelf. Both teams have playmakers on defense, though Aqib Talib will be missed in that Jayhawk secondary...especially when they take on those Big 12 quarterbacks. (editor's note: Talib will also be missed by pot dealers in Lawrence, Kansas) Matt Grothe is a duel threat behind the center for South Florida, and has posted big games against good teams in the past. The Jayhawks Todd Reesing may be the best QB that nobody talks about. The big test will be George Selvie vs the Kansas o-line. South Florida may be outmatched unless they can disrupt Reesing's rhythm. South Florida is also tested. They went to overtime last week against a pesky UCF squad. Kansas may be hurt by playing only cupcakes (insert Coach Mangino joke here). Tampa is also quickly becoming a very difficult place to play. South Florida may be the Big East's only chance for a top 10 team this year, so a solid performance could be weighing on the Bulls' minds. With that said, the difference will be Selvie and USF's defense, as well as the atmosphere.
Prediction: 30-27 South Florida
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 would do his own stunts...if he did stunts.