Thursday, October 22, 2009

Big East Preview, Week 8

Everybody is in action this week, as the Big East rolls into midseason. A few good matchups are sadly overshadowed by the unfortunate death of UConn corner Jasper Howard. We hear at the cmsb send our thoughts and prayers to his family and the Connecticut program. On to the picks.

Last Week: 3-1

Overall: 35-6

Bye: None

Rutgers at Army: Trap Game Alert, Trap Game Alert! The Knights travel to take on the…well Knights. Rutgers has to be careful not to get caught early by a much improved Army squad that is thinking bowl game. The West Pointers will look to control the game on the ground, with the 12th ranked rushing attack in the nation. That is not good news for Rutgers. The Jersey Boys have really struggled against the run, including last week’s debacle against Pitt. Rutgers has to do a better a job in contain. Expect the Scarlet Knights to stack the box, and force Army to throw the football. This will probably be the Black Knight’s downfall. Army is dreadful in the passing game, and could be too one-dimension on Friday. Look for Rutgers to have an easy time moving the football, and success slowing down the Army rushing attack.

Prediction: 27-14 Rutgers

Akron at Syracuse: The Orange look for revenge from an embarrassing loss last year. The Zips are dreadful, averaging less than 20 points a game. Akron is still also looking for win number one against an FBS team. Meanwhile, Syracuse is coming off a bye week, and looking to get back on track after two-straight losses to conference opponents. A big question remains at quarterback, following Greg Paulus’ sub-par play. He is the starter, but you wonder for how much longer Ryan Nassib is ready to go if there is more failure.. Even if Paulus plays well, Nassib should get some time. Look for Syracuse to try to establish a running game that badly needs a solid performance. If the Orange can set up the play-action there’s no way Akron stays in this game.

Prediction: 30-10 Syracuse

Louisville at (5) Cincinnati: No word yet if Tony Pike will be starting for Cincinnati, but it won’t matter. The Bearcats can certainly win with backup Zach Collaros. Actually, the ‘Cats already have. Collaros was brilliant in the second half at South Florida, accounting for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns. He is a dual threat, which can’t be good for Louisville. The Cardinals can’t stop anybody on the ground. Cincinnati’s swarming defense will also be a significant issue. Louisville enjoys turning the ball over, including four times on the road last week at UConn. The Cardinals have given fits to ‘Nati lately, but it just doesn’t add up this year. Nothing jumps out at this matchup and says upset…even with Tony Pike possibly not playing.

Prediction: 34-17 Cincinnati

Connecticut at (23) West Virginia: The Huskies come in with heavy hearts, following the murder of cornerback Jasper Howard last Sunday. As hard as this week has been, playing a game may be a welcome distraction. There’s no question UConn will be up for this game. Randy Edsell will make sure of that. West Virginia comes in with some significant storylines as well. Jarrett Brown is questionable for the weekend with a concussion, and two defensive players were arrested this week from separate incidents, affecting the depth chart. WVU will have to rely on the youngsters once again. QB Gino Smith was solid against Marshall, and the defense was even better. Look for a lot of Noel Devine to take some of the pressure off the passing game. UConn will stack the box to counter that. The Huskies should have some success on the ground, but look for the offense to try to exploit the inconsistent WVU secondary. This game may be closer than some expect. UConn should be motivated to play an exceptional game in Jasper’s honor. However, West Virginia just has too much offensively. WVU pulls ahead in the second and won’t look back.

Prediction: 31-21 West Virginia

Game of the Week: South Florida at (20) Pittsburgh: The Panthers are off and running…literally. Dion Lewis has been superb in replacing LeSean McCoy. The freshman is now a dark-horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. QB Bill Stull continues to play efficiently, and the defense has been good enough. Now the Panthers host South Florida that could be in dire straights. It’s about that time of the year where the Bulls shut it down, and coast. This has been the major criticism of Jim Leavitt. Keeping his team motivated after a loss is not his forte. The Bulls need a better defensive performance than last week, if USF wants to stay in the hunt. It will be tough test though, as Pitt brings a balanced attack. That type of attack should slow down the Bull blitz. From the Bulls to stay in the game B.J. Daniels will have to play mistake-free football. That is asking a lot from a freshman quarterback. This game just doesn’t seem to add up for the Bulls. Pitt is on very good form, and should remain undefeated in conference.

Prediction: 24-13 Pitt


Unknown said...


Syracuse (Akron apparently put a want ad out looking for a QB.)



Pitt by a fg.


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