Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big East Preview, Week 4

The conference is coming off a solid weekend of football, which included wins over the Pac 10, Big 12, and Big Ten…plus a pair of tough road losses to the SEC. It doesn’t get an easier, with more early-season statement games this weekend. Will there be a collective letdown? Or does the drive for respect continue? To the picks…

Last Week: 6-1

Overall: 19-2

Bye Week: West Virginia

Rhode Island at UConn: The Huskies come in on a major high following an upset at Baylor last weekend. Connecticut’s defense continues to be the major story, as the Huskies did a nice job slowing down the Bears’ high-powered offense. The two-back system has also been successful. Jordan Toddman and Andre Dixon have combined for nearly six hundred yards on the ground, in just three games. With injured QB’s and mediocre wideouts, it is pivotal that the defense and running game remain consistent. It should definitely this weekend, as the Huskies host a Rhode Island team that allowed nearly 200 rushing yards in a loss to UMass last week. UConn will control this game from the opening kick till the starters come out.

Prediction: 41-10 UConn

Maine at Syracuse: Greg Paulus showed why he was a high school star last week. The Duke Assassin lit up the Carrier Dome skies against Northwestern…as ‘Cuse picked up win number one this year. Win number two should come Saturday as the Orange take on a Maine team that is still looking for an offensive identity. The Black Bears are also in for a rude awaking in trying to slowdown a suddenly effective Orange offense. Look for Mike Williams to find a lot of open space in the secondary, while Delone Carter does damage on the ground. This game looked shaky in the summer, but Syracuse has come out playing some legit football under Marrone.

Prediction: 38-7 Syracuse

Fresno State at (14) Cincinnati: The Bearcats are quickly becoming America’s darkhourse National Championship pick. Yes, we are only heading into week four, but the ‘Cats are proving to be a very balanced team. The surprise is the fact that so many first-year players have stepped in to get the job done. Cincinnati is also number one in scoring, and should continue this weekend, considering Fresno The Bulldogs will have some offensive success, but can’t keep pace with the Cincy’s dynamic attack. Fresno’s best bet is a letdown weekend for the ‘Nati…just don’t see it happening. couldn’t stop a high school team from scoring.

Prediction: 38-23 Cincinnati

Rutgers at Maryland: Nothing like a solid battle between underachieving teams. Rutgers has been sleepwalking all season, and Maryland just lost to Middle Tennessee State. This is a game you won’t want to miss! Assuming Tom Savage is healthy, the Knights should be able to move the ball. Savage has been efficient this year, and could rip apart a struggling Terp defense. Maryland is just looking to find some consistency…both offensively and defensively. This game will come down to Maryland’s defense…which isn’t a good thing for the home team. Look for the Knights to get an early lead and try to control the pace.

Prediction: 17-14 Rutgers

South Florida at (18) Florida State: This game looked much more intriguing a week ago. That was before Matt Grothe tore his ACL. Now the Bulls are going to have to find a way to beat a very hot Florida State team with a new man under center. B.J. Daniels will take over for USF. The redshirt freshmen threw well last week, but didn’t face Florida State. The youngster will be pressured early and often by an aggressive Seminole defense. Speaking of defense, the Bulls have only allowed 20 points in three games (granted two of those were against FCS opponents) and will rely on the Mean Green to slow Christian Ponder down. This is a tough spot for USF with the loss of Grothe. Expect USF to be unstable offensively, while FSU scores enough for a comfortable win.

Prediction: 24-14 Florida State

Louisville at Utah: The Cardinals played a pretty damn good football last weekend, having a shot late to beat Kentucky. Sadly, mistakes continue to haunt this team. Now they travel to Mormon Country to take on a pissed-off Utah The Utes are coming off its first loss in a long, long time…and will certainly look to puncture Louisville. The Cardinals’ defense could be in for a long day. Utah brings a balanced attack…and should be able to control the majority of the game. This means Louisville will have to strike when given the chance, and that’s where the inexperience will show. Expect Utah to have this game in-hand by the half. team.

Prediction: 30-17 Utah

Game of the Week: Pittsburgh at NC State: Expect the Panthers to be ranked with a win. So, it’s a pretty big game for Pitt, and the conference. The Panthers will no test the NC State front seven early. The Wolfpack have done a solid job stopping the run, so it should be a good battle. As for the Pitt defense, the depth has proven to be concrete. The Panthers continue to stop teams even with significant injuries. It’s hard to gage where NC State is, considering two-straight easy wins over FCS opponents. The defense has been legit, but the offense still hasn’t proven anything this year. Expect this game to come down to how Pitt handles Russell Wilson and the Pack attack. Defense should get Pitt ranked this weekend.

Prediction: 22-19 Pittsburgh


timo said...

My picks:

UConn big over RI. few (if any) coaches do more w/ less than Randy Edsall.

Cuse big over Maine.

Cinci over Fresno, and I'll say it: big. I'm really starting to like this Cinci offense.

Maryland over Rutgers... not sure why other than it is a home game for Maryland and the Twerps always seem to play better coming off of an embarrassing loss.

FSU over USF for all the reasons Danks mentioned.

Utah rebounds over the ville.

NC State over Pitt - tough game to call. Although Pitt's Dion Lewis has all the markings of a great compact running back, I think they'll have to throw to win this road game. NC State looked awful against USCe particularly offensively. However, I'm guessing they'll be able to move the ball through the air against an untested Pitt secondary, and I think they pull out a tight win.


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