Alright boys and girls we are off and running...and it wasn't exactly a stellar weekend for the Big East. It was business as usual for the teams playing patty-cakes, but Rutgers, Louisville, and especially Pitt failed to make a statement for the conference. This week brings a few big contests, including a game potentially being played through a hurricane. On with the picks!
Last Week: 6-2 Season: 6-2
UConn at Temple: Hey Temple won a road game! Granted it was Army, but who is counting?(editor's note: Army is the CMSPLOG's adopted team this year...but Danks is a Navy fan) This is a fun contest, because it's a battle between the team that replaced the other in the Big East. Temple was booted out...with good reason...and UConn took its place. As much as we love to make fun of the Owls, the Huskies are the one's who need to improve a sluggish offense. Did they blowout Hofstra? Yes...but starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen was anemic at best, with the three picks in the opener. Fortunately, Donald Brown looked solid on the ground, which doesn't bode well for Temple...a team prone to the ground attack. Look for Brown to get the ball early and often.
Prediction: 31-17 UConn
Tennessee Tech at Louisville: Boy oh boy...did Louisville look awful or what? Hunter Cantwell picked the wrong time to forget how to play quarterback, as the Cardinals were embarrassed at home to instate rival Kentucky. I hope Steve Kragthorpe enjoys his job, because he may already be on the hot seat. They should be able to right the ship a bit this week as they take on the Techsters, who struggled to beat Gardiner-Webb last week. Look for a big bounce back game after the embarrassment from last week.
Prediction: 42-10 Louisville
Buffalo at Pitt: Losing to Bowling Green at home was brutal. Losing to Buffalo at home should send Pitt to Division 1-AA. Granted Buffalo had a fine debut, with a beatdown of UTEP, but they are still Buffalo, and Pitt is...well...we won't go there. Expect LeSean McCoy to break the 100-yard mark, and Bill Stull should gain some confidence through the air against the Bulls defense. If Pitt loses to Buffalo, Coach Wanny should be fired before he leaves the field.
Prediction: 38-17 Pitt
Akron at Syracuse: This will be the Orange's best chance at a 1-A team this season. Although Akron was respectable in a loss to Wisconsin. I don't think I'll ever understand why Syracuse hired Greg Robinson. He had one of the worst defenses in NFL history, and now he has helped bring a once respectable program to hell. The Orange secondary better be ready, because Zip hurler Chris Jacquemain will be airing it out. The Cuse will need to grind it out on the ground, and play more physical...something they haven't done since the days of Dwight Freeney. Prediction: 21-20 Syracuse
South Florida at Central Florida: Everyone will talk about the Florida/Miami game this weekend, but this could be a better game. Both teams are coming off wins against FCS schools, with USF looking much more impressive...including 300 yards on the ground. Central Florida will miss former runningback Kevin Smith's production all year long. They are hoping frosh Ronnie Weaver will get the job done. It will be difficult against a very stingy Bulls defense. USF has never lost to Central, and I don't expect it to change this year. The Bulls should be able to push and pull their way to victory.
Prediction: 28-14 USF
Cincy at Oklahoma: Oklahoma looked so good last week that QB Sam Bradford was benched in the second quarter...tough day. However, Dustin Grutza had a fine debut as well, throwing for a career-high 296 yards, with three scores. It will be a shootout. Both teams have legitimate D's...but they have even better O's. Let's not forget that Oklahoma is not exactly strong against the spread offense (see 2008 Fiesta Bowl). Bradford, along with DeMarco Murray will prove to be too much at the end, but expect the Bearcats to hold their own, and raise a few eyebrows around the nation. Prediction: 40-28 Oklahoma
Game of the Week. West Virginia at East Carolina: It's going to be a wet one folks. Hurricane Hannah is expected to be in the Carolina area when these two teams square off. And what a battle it may be. ECU coming off a huge win over the lady Techsters of Virginia, and WVU using the air for the first time in 100 years, to easily defeat 'Nova. The last time these teams played at ECU Pat White struggled big time, but the Mountaineers were still able to win. The Pirate defense has improved over the last few seasons, and may be ready to halt the WVU offense...but are they ready for the new look spread, which included 200+ yards through the air from White. Plus, Noel Devine was essentially rested last weekend, and should be ready to go off. Expect the Pirates to score some points, with the WVU secondary still a work in progress. Though, it will be hard Brandon Simmons to find yards against a very strong West Virginia front seven. This all gets thrown out if the Hurricane is in full effect.
Prediction: 31-24 WVU
Chris Sedenka is the host of the PM JAB, which can be heard weekdays between 3-7pm on 96.3FM and AM1440 Sportsradio WJAB in Central and Southern Maine. He also enjoys drinking Tang!