Wednesday, December 03, 2008
After a very long and wide open season, the Big East has a champion. Congratulations to the Cincinnati Bearcats on representing the conference in the BCS. However, the drama is not gone yet. There are plenty of bowl bids to be had, and this is the final week for teams to make a statement. For the final time in the regular season, here are the picks...
Last Week: 1-1
Cincinnati at Hawaii: The Bearcats are off to the BCS, and a trip to the Islands will seem like a good reward for that. Brian Kelly says his team will not overlook this game though. Hawaii has won three straight games, but did have some struggles against Washington State last week. The Bearcats should own both lines, especially on the defensive front. Hawaii is allowing more than three sacks per-game. The Bearcats should be able to own the special teams game as well. This has been one of their major advantages all year. Hawaii will hang for a while, but the 'Cats should be too much.
Prediction: 31-17 Cincinnati
South Florida at West Virginia: Pat White's final home game as a Mountaineer will be the highlight in this one. Neither team has played to potential, with the loser heading into the bowls with five losses. South Florida has had great success in stopping the WVU run over the last two years, so expect White to go to the air. The Bulls will look to keep the offense in balance...with Grothe attacking the young(though improving) Mountaineer secondary. When first scheduled, many thought this game would be for the conference title, now it's a bit of an afterthought. The players won't feel that way though, so expect an exciting, cold atmosphere in Morgantown, with a very heroic night from Pat White.
Prediction: 35-31 WVU
Pitt at UConn: The Panthers are looking for a nine win season. This is quite an accomplishment, considering the season began with a loss at home to Bowling Green. Dave Wannstedt has finally had the season he has been dreaming of, and credit his stingy defense. They 23rd against the rush, with the secondary rapidly improving. This doesn't bode well for UConn, who relies on running the ball with Donald Brown. This game will be Brown's final chance to convince the media that he should be the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, so he will leave it all out there. The Husky defense have had a nice year, but don't expect them to contain LeSean McCoy. UConn will have to rely on Pitt mistakes to take this one. That just won't happen.
Prediction: 24-20 Pitt
Game of the Week. Louisville at Rutgers: Nothing like a Thursday night in Jersey. This is a game of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Cards have lost four straight, while Rutgers is looking for six straight W's. If the Knights win, they will be a lock for a bowl at 7-5...which is pretty remarkable considering they began the season 1-5. It has been the Mike Teel show for Rutgers. He has thrown for 13 touchdowns over the last four game. Expect a few more this week when the Knight's offensive line completely dominates play. The Cards will have to rely on Victor Anderson. The young rusher is averaging nearly 100 yards a game...and has been more reliable than QB Hunter Cantwell. They should have some success moving the ball, but Rutgers is very good in keeping teams out of the endzone. Too much is going right for the Knights, and with a rowdy Thursday night crowd expect Louisville to slowly fade away.
Prediction: 40-23 Rutgers