Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Do we have a new favorite? Two-straight wins over ranked opponents has put Cincinnati in a position to control their own destiny. Meanwhile, other teams will look to get back on the horse. The wildcard out there continues to be Rutgers, as they continue to forge towards a bowl game. That would be quite a story, considering their poor start to the season. The picks...
Last Week: 2-1
Bye: West Virginia, Pitt
UConn at Syracuse: The Orange better be ready to slow that run game down. The Huskies will certainly try to pound the rush and win the time of possession. Donald Brown continues to have an outstanding season. Brown already has over 1,400 yards rushing and 15 TD's. Expect him to pad some of those stats this weekend. UConn should be able to throw the ball as well, against a pretty weak Syracuse secondary. The Orange have been playing better, and actually had a 14-0 lead last week against Rutgers, before the doors fell off. They will try to own the ground as well with Curtis Brinkley. Brinkley should go over 1,000 yards rushing this week. This is a big game for UConn, as they try to stay in the running for the Big East championship. Expect it to be close early, but too much Brown for the Orange to handle.
Prediction: 31-17 UConn
Rutgers at South Florida: This is an intriguing game, with two teams going in opposite directions. South Florida had a week off to try to right the ship. Already having three losses in the conference, USF needs to play with a little pride to turn it around. Following an atrocious start, Rutgers has won three straight games, and have a winning record in the Big East. Mike Teel also has 9 TD passes in the last two contests. South Florida's defense needs to play stronger. They have too much talent to continue to struggle. They also need more consistency out of Matt Grothe. With all of this inconsistency, maybe it's time to stop calling Jim Levitt a genius coach. The Knights will come out and use the ground to setup the red-hot Teel. However, the gunslinger is still prone to throw some picks, so this may turn into a turnover battle. This game is undoubtedly important for both teams, but South Florida needs to gain a bit of respect back. Expect them to come out firing, and try to command the first quarter. If they do, and win the turnover battle, it should be a smooth night for the Bulls.
Prediction: 34-24 USF
Game of the Week. Cincinnati at Louisville: Two straight wins over ranked opponents have put Cincy in the top-25 for the first time this season. They also have a great chance to win the conference. Could the Friday night tilt at Louisville be a trap game? Possibly. The Bearcats can ill afford to be complacent. They need to have the same defensive intensity that they had last weekend in Morgantown. Louisville is in shambles, but those can always be scary games. If the Bearcats flex their muscles early, they should be able to take control. The Cardinals need a good start out of Hunter Cantwell, who has been a disappointment. The ground game is fine, but turnovers and ineffective passing by Cantwell has crushed the team. The Cardinals have owned Cincy lately, including the last two years. Playing in front of a wild, Friday night home crowd will also help...just not enough. Expect the Bearcats to win a close, physical game by winning the turnover battle, controlling the special teams, and limiting Louisville's chances.
Prediction: 24-21 Cincinnati