Desperation is the word of the week. Teams are desperate for bowl eligibility, as well as desperate for the Big East title. Is the cream also finally rising to the top? West Virginia looked solid last week, but can they put two solid performances in a row? We will find out soon enough. How about some Picks!
Last Week: 1-3
Louisville at Syracuse: The Cards seem to be back. After beating USF at home, Louisville looks to continue their push towards the rankings. Could this be a trap game? Possibly. Hang with me here. The Orange did beat the Cards last season, and have had two weeks to get ready. Also, this could be Greg Robinson's final game, so we will see if the team can rally around him. Syracuse has been playing better as of late, but they will struggle against a strong and athletic Lousiville defense...never thought I would say that. The Orange secondary will also have their hands full with Hunter Cantwell, and a slew of pretty solid receivers for the Cards. As much as a trap game this may be, Louisville will be poised to get bowl eligible as soon as possible. If they play how they have been, a win will be in the Cards...wow, that's a bad, bad pun.
Prediction: 31-17 Louisville
Pitt at Notre Dame: Not a good matchup for Pitt, especially considering what happened last week to the Panthers secondary. They got torched for six touchdowns by Mike Teel. Now they have to face a rapidly improving Jimmy Clausen and a very good Irish receiving corps. The Panthers best hope is to open the game up early with LeSean McCoy and the running game. Notre Dame has been susceptible to the run, and McCoy has gone over 100 yards in his last four games. The Irish tend to panic if they are down early...and that's when the turnovers begin. Both teams are on the cusp of bowl eligibility, so desperation may set in. It's been a few years since either of these teams has been relevant. Pitt's offensive line may be the key to this game, as Notre Dame will undoubtedly blitz on every down. Expect Notre Dame to spread the field and use Golden Tate and Michael Floyd on many attempts down the field. Pit's secondary could be in for a long day...again.
Prediction: 37-24 Notre Dame
West Virginia at UConn: Both teams are coming off big wins...and with all of the upsets last week, WVU finds themselves in first place in the Big East. The defense continues to shine, now ranked 11th in scoring. The Mountaineers have to be ready to stop Donald Brown, because UConn will keep it on the ground as much as possible...especially with the injuries at the quarterback position. Both teams are ranked in the top-20 in rushing, and WVU also looked solid in the passing game last week. UConn has never beaten West Virginia, but this may be their best shot. The Huskies have to hold onto the football, and not get confused on defense. The Mountaineers are hungry, and now know that a BCS game is back in the picture. Expect WVU to go to Noel Devine early, and utilize plenty of zone reads and play-action. If the Mountaineer offensive line dominates UConn like they did against a much better defense in Auburn, then WVU will roll.
Prediction: 29-19 WVU
Game of the Week. South Florida at Cincinnati: Two teams in need of a win to stay in the BCS conversation. USF is now 1-2 in conference...one more loss and forget about it. Meanwhile, the Bearcats are 1-1, but looked like garbage against a UConn team they are better than. The Bulls Matt Grothe needs to put the team on his back. The running game has been marginal at best. Grothe has the talent to do what Pat White does at WVU...he just hasn't been consistent. USF's defense is mind numbing as well. With all that talent, they should not be giving up nearly 20 points per game. Meanwhile, the Bearcats are still dealing with injuries at the quarterback position. Tony Pike left in the first half last week, and Chazz Anderson threw two picks. The 'Cats will need to rely on the defense, though they were uglied last week. This will be a battle of desperation. A loss for either and good-bye Miami, hello International Bowl. South Florida is too talented to have three losses this quickly in conference...expect a bounce back offensively, and especially defensively.
Prediction: 24-21 USF