Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big East Preview, Week 13

Decision 2008 weekend for the Big East. With a win, Cincinnati all but locks up the conference. A Pitt win changes the whole complexion. And desperation time for Rutgers and Louisville. This should be one heck of an entertaining weekend of football. Here are the picks.

Last Week: 2-1

Overall: 41-17

Bye: None

Army at Rutgers: There is nobody hotter in the Big East than Rutgers, as they come into this match riding a four game winning streak. Army has had a respectable season, coming in at 3-7...but they will be heavily outmatched. The Black Knights will have to keep Mike Teel off the field. Teel has awoken from the dead, after an abysmal start. He has thrown for 12 TD's over the last three games. Interceptions continue to be an issue for the Senior. This could play into the opponent's favor. Army does have a solid pass defense, but it's heightened by not playing many solid QB's. Army comes in with the 7th ranked rushing attack in the nation, and ball control will be a must. Rutgers has had some good success in shutting down some of the best runningbacks in the Big East...but this will be a different look when the go up against the option. It should be close early, but expect Rutgers to run away with it after wearing down the Army defense.

Prediction: 31-10 Rutgers

West Virginia at Louiville: The battle of disappointments. WVU's offense continues to be a shell of what it should be. And Louisville? Well...they just can't win a game. Both of these teams also NEED to win this game. The Mountaineers need it to stay in the Big East hunt...the Cardinals to become bowl eligible. It should be a good one. These two teams always give entertaining games, including a triple-overtime thriller three years ago. WVU can't afford to start slowly again. They gave up a kick return for a TD, struggled offensively for 58 minutes, and needed a onside kick just to have a chance to win last game. However, they didn't win this time, and now are in danger of going to the Car Care Bowl. It's been a season of runs for Louisville. Three-straight losses has them in a position of missing a bowl trip, after a 5-2 start. Both of these teams have struggled with offensive consistency, which is quite surprising. WVU should be much better with Pat White and Noel Devine, and Hunter Cantwell has heavily underperformed. Expect Louisville to try to get ahead early...that has been the downfall of WVU this season. The Cards will also try to exploit the young Mountaineer secondary. WVU has to establish the ground game early, which could be difficult against the 8th ranked Louisville run defense. This may come down to turnovers, which have been a bane to the Cards. It also may come down to heart...something that Louisville is lacking.

Prediction: 24-23 WVU

UConn at South Florida: The rare Sunday game in college football features two programs going in opposite directions. The Huskies continue to grow as a team, and the return of Tyler Lorenzen has been huge. The Bulls have lost four out of five, and may not have Matt Grothe this weekend...though he says he is fine. Donald Brown should blister the South Florida defense, which is playing wiith no heart. They were decimated by Rutgers last weekend. South Florida has been a huge disappointment following a very hot start this year, and Jim Leavitt is starting to be exploited. The Coach has yet to have his team perform in a big game...and now it seems that he has lost his team. Expect UConn to come out and own the line of scrimmage. They will be able to throw the ball much better now with Lorenzen as well. The Bulls will struggle offensively, as they continue to sputter on.

Prediction: 23-13 UConn

Syracuse at Notre Dame: The lame-duck era of Greg Robinson begins, after he was shown the door earlier this week. Robinson was pretty much awful, but the Orange have been at least fighting. They just aren't that talented. With one more win, the Irish are probably Gator Bowl-bound...not bad for a team that consistently turns the ball over. The Orange have nothing to play for, other than finishing strong for their fallen coach. Curtis Brinkley is also playing for a short in the NFL. Brinkley has rushed for over 1,000 yards this year, and has a good chance for a solid day against the Irish defense. Other than that, it shouldn't be much of a game. Notre Dame won't have Michael Floyd for the remainder of the year, but they stll have plenty of Wideout talent. Jimmy Clausen should throw all over them, if he doesn't fall all over himself. The 'Cuse has been starting games well, but they just don't have the talent to keep the pace up. The game will be close early, but Notre Dame should coast in the second half.

Prediction: 35-17 Notre Dame

Game of the Week. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: This is Cincy's season right here. If they win, they will be playing in a BCS game(baring a meltdown against Syracuse). If they lose, then Pitt possibly has the path to South Beach. Cincy will either go with Tony Pike or Dustin Grutza. Both QB's helped the Bearcats get past Louisville last week. Pitt will rely heavily on LeSean McCoy and the rushing offense to control the clock. While Cincy is the home team, it may not be an advantage. Pitt is 4-0 away from Heinz Field, and has never lost to Cincinnati. Both teams have proven to be the most consistent in the conference, and should provide an entertaining game. The wildcard here is Bill Stull. The Panther quarterback has been a secondary option for most of the year, but will have to be a factor. The 'Cats will stack the box to slow down the Pitt rush, so expect the Panthers to use Stull often. He only has five touchdowns on the year, but has been very efficient. The Bearcats' defense will look to bait Stull into bad passes, something that Cincy has had plenty of success with. This game will be close into the fourth quarter. While Cincy is the favorite, they don't blow teams out. If they let Pitt hang around, we could be talking upset. The Panthers will not roll over, considering they would lead the conference with a win. This game comes down to time of possession...expect Pitt to control it with a good balance on offense. Take the upset.

Prediction: 28-24 Pitt



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