Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Showcase time for the conference, as the two monsters of the Big East battle on Thursday night. Sure, there may be some other games this week, but only one matters to the nation as South Florida hosts Cincinnati. At the end of the week we could see a team in the top-5 and as many as four conference members ranked. On to the picks.
Last Week: 3-1
Marshall at West Virginia: Well it’s rivalry week in the state of West Virginia. The problem is it’s not really a rivalry. Marshall has NEVER beaten the Mountaineers. How can you have a rivalry if it’s so one-sided? But maybe this is the year. The Thundering Herd come in 4-2, probably playing the best football since the rivalry was renewed a few years back. WVU will have to slow down Darius Marshall. The Herd Tailback has been fantastic this year, averaging over six yards per game. Expect the Mountaineers to stack the box, and should be able too, considering Marshall is a one dimensional team. The Herd is averaging less than 180 yards passing. West Virginia has scored over 30 points in every single game this year. That basically means nobody can stop the balanced attack. And now that Jarrett Brown seems comfortable again, expect another big day. Once again what can kill WVU are turnovers, which were a problem last week at Syracuse…again. If the ball is held onto it should be a nice win for WVU.
Prediction: 38-17 West Virginia
Louisville at Connecticut: The Cardinals are looking to make it two-straight as they travel up north to face a team that has to be upset. The Huskies let Pitt off the hook last week, and will look for some answers defensively this weekend. UConn looked susceptible to the run, which bodes well for the ‘Ville. Look for massive use of Victor Anderson to try to control the tempo, and keep the Cards in this game. It may be a bit late for the run to be ultra successful though, considering that is what UConn will be keying in on. The Cards don’t have a solid quarterback to fall back on if the rush is jammed. The Huskies should be able to control the tempo with their two-headed rushing attack. And when a passing play is actually called, Cody Endres will be up to the task. Louisville is just not good enough to stay in this game.
Prediction: 27-17 Connecticut
Pittsburgh at Rutgers: The Panthers are showing why the media had them number one in the conference. With a balanced attack, and what seems to be a new, improved defense, Pitt is playing with very high class. Rutgers is still a mystery. The Knights have spent a lot of time beating up on chumps since opening the season getting blown out by Cincinnati. This is a huge game for Rutgers. The public perception continues to be that the team is middle of the road. A statement win could go a long way for the Jersey Boys. The big question is if the Rutgers defense can contain Pitt. The Knight’s D has been a much better unit since the first week, but hasn’t truly been tested. I just don’t see Rutgers slowing down Dion Lewis and company. Plus, the Pitt defense is in good form, and should handle an inconsistent attack.
Prediction: 28-20 Pittsburgh
(8) Cincinnati at (21) South Florida: This is the first major showcase for the conference this season. The Bearcats will be looking for a statement win to help boast National Title aspirations, as well as Heisman hopes for Tony Pike. South Florida continues the dream season with B.J. Daniels at the helm. All the young quarterback has done is run the offense beautifully, and helped his team win games. The Bulls’ defense continues to be the major story though. George Selvie and company have been lights out this year…and will have to continue the great play to try to slow the Bearcat attack. The Bulls have only allowed two passing touchdowns all season. So look for Cincinnati to try to use a lot playaction. Of course this means the run needs to be successful, and there is no guarantee of that. Look for the USF defense to do enough to keep the Bulls in the game. This means its Daniels to possibly win or lose. Typically USF has a meltdown in the middle of the season. This game could certainly be a catalyst for that. But there is something about Daniels so far that makes me believe this won’t happen. Look for the crowd to motivate the youngster to lead his team to a close victory. Grothe is quickly being forgotten in Tampa.
Prediction: 24-20 South Florida