Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Big East Preview...Week 1

Here we go folks…another new season, which means another season of trying to earn national respect. It will be difficult this year, with no true powerhouse on paper. Of course that means a very exciting year though…with many potential conference champs. Week 1 is loaded with FCS opponents, and highlighted by a big in-conference showdown. Here are the picks…

Last Year: 48-21

This Year: N/A

Youngstown State at Pittsburgh: A nice opening opponent for the conference favorite. The Panthers need to break in a few new players, and Youngstown shouldn’t pose much of a threat. It will be the debut of frosh tailback Dion Lewis. He has big shoes to fill, but many think he may end up being very special. Bill Stull has won the starting quarterback position, but expect redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri to get some playing time as well. Youngstown shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the Panthers. Expect a blowout.

Prediction: 34-7 Pitt

Wofford at South Florida: The Bulls come in this year looking for better consistency. And any conversation will start with senior quarterback Matt Grothe. He has had an outstanding career, but a Big East championship continues to elude him. He won’t have great running back support to start the year, with starting back Mike Ford suspended for two games. It shouldn’t matter against Wofford though. The Terriers have been strong in the FCS, but not strong enough to slow down Grothe and the passing attack. And expect George Selvie and the defense to shut Wofford down fairly easily.

Prediction: 41-10 South Florida

Liberty at West Virginia: The post-Pat White era begins for the Mountaineers, as Jarrett Brown takes over. The senior is undefeated as a starter, has a very live arm and can also run the football. Seven starters also return to a defense that had a lot of success in 2008. The major question will be the offensive line, which is very green. Liberty was fantastic last year in the FCS, but did lose Rashad Jennings to graduation. The Flames may give WVU a push, but expect too much firepower from the Mountaineers in the end.

Prediction: 44-17 West Virginia

Indiana State at Louisville: It may be a very long season for the Louisville Cardinals, so to start out against a school best known for its basketball team from 1979 is probably a good idea. The Cards will be relying on Victor Anderson all year long. The sophomore tailback was one of the few bright spots last year for the ‘Ville. The Sycamores actually come into the game already having played a game...and losing that game to Div 2 opponent Quincy. Good luck Indy State.

Prediction: 40-10 Louisville

UConn at Ohio: Can somebody please tell the Huskies to stop playing MAC teams on the road. C’mon UConn…you’re better than that! Meanwhile, the Huskies could have a bit of a down year after losing so many key players…though the running game may not slip too much. The two-headed monster of Jordan Toddman and Andrea Dixon are ready to fill the void left from Donald Brown. The defense is going to have struggles this year, and it starts with trying to slow down Ohio’s Boo Jackson. Jackson accounted fro 21 touchdowns last year, but is susceptible to the turnover. This is a bit of a trap game for the Huskies, but if the ground game is on, it will be a Connecticut win.

Prediction: 31-23 UConn

Minnesota at Syracuse: Huge game for the ‘Cuse and first-year coach Doug Marrone to start the year. The point guard gets the start for Marrone’s Orange as Greg Paulus will line up behind center. Paulus is an interesting case study. Does he have anything left from his standout days in high school? Is he really the best QB in Syracuse? Is this a marketing ploy? Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure…we just don’t know what that is yet for Greg Paulus. Not an easy contest though, against a Minnesota team that continues to improve. Does the young Syracuse defense have enough? This is a huge game for the conference, as the Big East tries to gain some respect early on. Let us be optimistic

Prediction: 24-21 Syracuse

Game of the Week: Cincinnati at Rutgers: Huge conference game to start the year. The 2008 champ against the dark-horse pick to win the Big East. However, Cincinnati lost a ton to graduation and Rutgers hasn’t announced a starting quarterback yet! The Bearcats still have plenty of firepower though, with QB Tony Pike leading the way. Pike is coming off a breakout year, and has Mardy Gilyard back, as well as Juco wideout Jamar Howard. Rutgers will counter with a strong defense, though better against the rush than the pass. Expect a pretty tight first half, with Rutgers trying to control the clock…keeping Pike off the field. However, I don’t have the confidence if the Rutgers offense to score enough to take the Cats down.

Prediction: 27-20 Cincinnati


Unknown said...

Pitt big
USF big
WVU big
L'ville big
UConn by 10
Minny big
Cinci by 17


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