Thursday, September 09, 2010
Well, last week was ugly. Not the best start for a conference that badly needs a statement or two. This week will give the Big East a few opportunities, but it would take some upsets. As for the rest of the games, a mix of FCS teams and “must” wins. To the Picks!!!
Last Week: 6-2
Indiana State @ Cincinnati: It wasn’t a good week for the Bearcats. Not only did they derail against Fresno State, but number one receiver, Vidal Hazelton was lost for the year after tearing his ACL. Look for Cincy to bounce back this weekend against Larry Bird’s Sycamores, whose one win came against Division 16, Saint Josephs of Indiana. The Bearcats should roll.
Prediction: 43-7 Cincinnati
Eastern Kentucky at Louisville: The Cardinals are simply not a good team. It will be a struggle all season long for Charlie Strong to find hope. Well, hope has a name this week…that name is Eastern Kentucky. EKU was blown out last week by another FCS program, which is certainly good news for the ‘Ville. Look for Bilel Powell to slice up the Colonel defense, and Adam Froman to light up the sky. This should be a nice confidence boost for Louisville moving forward.
Prediction: 31-9 Louisville
Texas Southern at Connecticut: The Huskies were the biggest disappointment in the conference last week. They were straight boat-raced out of Ann-Arbor. The Huskies come home licking their collective wounds, and look for some answers against Texas Southern. It will certainly be a win, but expect many questions surrounding this Connecticut team moving forward. It’s hard to answer a lot against a team that lost to Prairie View A+M.
Prediction: 38-10 Connecticut
UNH at Pittsburgh: Boy, we called that one last week. Hard luck loss for Pittsburgh that came down to inexperience at the quarterback position. However, Tino Sunseri did show a lot of promise at the position moving forward. Pitt now faces an FCS team known for beating FBS opponents, including Rutgers. Though UNH doesn’t have the firepower or defense to handle a team like the Panthers. Expect Dion Lewis to get on track, and the defense to gain confidence this weekend.
Prediction: 44-13 Pittsburgh
Rutgers at Florida International: The Knights were simply dreadful last week. Fortunately, Rutgers was facing a weak FCS opponent. They look to keep the winning going down south against FIU. The Panthers were off last week, so they have had all summer and fall to plan for this game. Will it matter? Doubtful. The Knights should be able to run all night long. FIU gave up more than 230 rushing yards a game against last year. Also look for the stingy defense to continue. The Panthers may believe this is a winnable game, but if Rutgers plays their game it won’t be a contest.
Prediction: 34-17 Rutgers
(23) West Virginia at Marshall: The ole rivalry game that isn’t much of a rivalry. Marshall is still looking for their first ever win against WVU…and it will be a tough task once again this season. The Mountaineers’ defense is already in midseason form, and Geno Smith guided the offense to some nice drives last week. Again, it was against an FCS team, but Smith looked confident and ready to be a starter. The Herd was handled easily by Ohio State, but always play WVU tight. Let’s also not forget that Marshall’s new coach, Doc Holliday was coaching in Morgantown last year. For the Herd to have a chance they need to run the football. The last thing Holliday wants are 3rd and longs against a defense that is far superior to Marshall’s offense. Expect WVU to score early and control the game from there. Too many mistakes will bury the Herd.
Prediction: 38-13 West Virginia
Syracuse at Washington: The Orange hammered Akron on the road last week. The prize? Go even further west to face Jake Locker and the Huskies. This is a winnable game for Syracuse, which makes this the biggest game for the Orange under Doug Marrone so far. Overall, the Orange defense is better and deeper than Washington’s. Syracuse is also better rushing the football. The big difference will be at quarterback. Jake Locker is a Heisman candidate, and played well in a loss at BYU in week one. Ryan Nassib is young, and playing with confidence for the Cuse, but he’s nowhere close to Locker. So, what does this mean? It’s Lockers game to win or lose. If he plays well, the Huskies will handle Syracuse. If I had any stones I would take Syracuse here with the upset, but the long trip out west and Locker steer me towards a UW win.
Prediction: 28-17 Washington
Game of the Week: South Florida at Florida: Too bad this game wasn’t last week...you know when Florida looked like garbage. USF may now have to deal with a team looking to start the dismantling of the schedule. The Bulls weren’t exactly stellar to start the year either, struggling early with an FCS school. Though a win is a win, and now it’s time to face a potentially explosive Gator squad. John Brantley should be nice and comfortable, and should be able to move the ball with the short passing game. The Bulls’ defense isn’t ready to be relied upon, so look for them to play aggressively and try to force turnovers. BJ Daniels will need to play the game of his life as well. If USF doesn’t score early, and relatively often, they have no chance. This will be a closer game then some may expect, but too much time of possession for the Gators, as they control the game from the start.
Prediction: 27-17 Florida