Last Week: 3-1
Bye Week: Cincinnati, West Virginia, Pittsburgh
(25) Rutgers at Cincinnati: The Knights gained a lot of respect following the dismantling of South Florida last week. It’s been a season of growth for Rutgers, and it’s all coming together as the season winds down. Meanwhile, Syracuse is limping to the finish line with massive injuries and an ineffective offense. It may be another long day for the Orange, especially with new-look Rutgers’ defense. The Knights have been much more aggressive, using athleticism as an advantage. Look for the Knights to force an early turnover or two to take control. Offensively, Joe Martinek may get bottled up by ‘Cuse, so look for Rutgers to exploit the weak Orange secondary. There should be open receivers consistently. The Orange have to hold onto the football if there is any chance for an upset, but perfect football and Syracuse just aren’t in the same category this season.
Prediction: 30-10 Rutgers
Louisville at South Florida: The Cards finally got that first Big East win last week. Sadly for them, it’s probably going to be the only one. Louisville now gets to take on a pissed off South Florida team that failed to show up in Jersey last week. The Bulls continue to mesmerize us all with the on/off switch. No other team has played so good…and so dreadful at times this season. It’s understandable when talking about the offense. The Bulls are playing with a young quarterback. However, the defense doesn’t have an excuse. There are numerous future NFL players that are anchoring a defense with consistency issues. There’s really no excuse for it. This should be one of the best units in college football, and it’s simply not the case. It shouldn’t really matter this weekend though, because Louisville poses no threat to USF. The Cardinals’ offense is stagnant, only averaging 18 points a contest. Look for USF to control this game from the opening kickoff, and never look back,
Prediction: 34-13 South Florida
Connecticut at Notre Dame: The Huskies come in rested, following a much-needed bye week. It’s been an emotional season for Randy Edsell’s guys, who have certainly not backed down from adversity. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Zach Frazer, who transferred from Notre Dame. He could have a pretty good game if the Irish secondary continues to be no threat. Also look for the Huskies to keep Jimmy Clausen off the field by running the football. The duo of Jordan Toddman and Andre Dixon could have success if they can force the Irish to put eight in the box. If the Irish are thin in the back, it could be a long day for that secondary. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has to take on a strong UConn front. The running game could struggle, but the Irish receivers should have some room to work. Look for Clausen to look downfield early and often. As good as the Husky defense has been this year, the Irish offense is just better. And at the end of the day I just don’t see UConn keeping up with what the Irish can put on the board.