Thursday, September 16, 2010

Big East Preview, Week 3

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 07:  Randy Edsal the Head Coach of the Connecticut Huskies is picturedl against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Big East Conference game at Nippert Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


Another dismal week for the Big East, with no statement wins. Once again, we have some opportunities for the conference to step up to the plate. Will we see a few hits? Or just more strikeouts? To the Picks!!!

Last Week: 8-0
Overall: 14-2

Bye Week: Rutgers, Pittsburgh, South Florida

Maine at Syracuse: The Orange are coming off a frustrating game at Washington. It seemed to be a winnable game early, that straight got away from them. Syracuse now looks to rebound against a University of Maine team that is still looking for consistency. This should be a good match up for Syracuse. Maine is an FCS team, which has historically played FBS teams tough, and even had the lead against the Orange last year. However, it’s a team that Syracuse should handle easily. Look for Delone Carter to get on track. Last year, he tore the Black Bears up all night long. Ryan Nassib should also have plenty of success through the air, as long as the offensive line stands tall. Maine had to use plenty of trickeration last year to hang tough, expect Syracuse to be ready for it.

Prediction: 38-10 Syracuse

Louisville at (25) Oregon State: This will be a hard, road test for a Louisville team that just isn’t that competitive. The Beavers are faster, stronger, and simply much better. The Cardinals best hope is for Oregon State to be looking ahead to next week’s match up against Boise State. Louisville has run the ball well with Bilel Powell, but overall offensively still one-dimensional. This will be an issue against the Beavers, especially when they load the box. Jaquizz Rodgers will be the man for OSU. Louisville will struggle all night trying to slow one of college football’s most explosive players. The long, first year for Charlie Strong continues this weekend.

Prediction: 41-17 Oregon State

UConn at Temple: The Huskies travel to Philadelphia to take on the team they replaced in the Big East. This is also a battle of two great tailbacks. Jordan Todman got off and running for the Huskies last week after a slow start. Temple’s Bernard Pierce is still looking for a bust out game, which could happen this week. Connecticut has struggled against the run, but Temple isn’t as explosive as Michigan. The Huskies should be able to have success against this inconsistent Temple team. Meanwhile, UConn’s defense has a chance to make a bit of a statement. We have all expected more from the Huskies this year; this is a chance to prove it to us. Expect a close game, but too much Husky experience on both sides of the ball will be the difference.

Prediction: 24-14 UConn

Maryland at (21) West Virginia: Well, West Virginia is all over the place. The Mountaineers are lucky to have escaped Marshall with a win. Now coming to town is a new and improved Maryland team that is off to a 2-0 start. The Mountaineers should match up well. Look for WVU to stack the box and force Maryland to put the ball in the air. This is something the Terps have struggled with, even using two quarterbacks. Maryland needs to be balanced or WVU will eat up the offensive line. Meanwhile, the Mountaineer offense may have finally come out of their malaise late last game. However, this is still an offensive line that struggles. This should help Maryland stay in this game. Look for WVU to run many quick screens to open things up. Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders need many more touches, and the screen game is the way to go. At the end of the day, Maryland’s offensive game is not creative enough to win this game.

Prediction: 23-17 West Virginia

Game of the Week: Cincinnati at NC State: Tonight’s match up will give some bragging rights to the conference that wins. Bragging rights that are badly needed for two conferences mired in turmoil. The Bearcats finally woke up last week with a big second half. The Wolfpack has been inconsistent, but are 2-0. This is a battle of QB’s. Simply put, the QB who plays better will lead his team to victory. This means the pressure will certainly be put on NC State’s Russell Wilson. Why? The game is in Raleigh. This means Cincy needs to go all out. Expect an aggressive pass rush, and an open offensive playbook. If the Bearcats play not to win, they won’t. I still don’t believe we have seen Cincy’s best, which leads me to think it could be tonight. Look for the Bearcats to take advantage of Wilson and the Wolfpack’s mistakes. I’ll take the upset.

Prediction: 31-30 Cincinnati

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