Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big East Preview, Week 4

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback B.J. Daniels  of the South Florida Bulls attempts a pass during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Potentially an explosive week for the Big East. Major match ups for the conference’s top teams. This is one of the last opportunities for this conference to step up to the plat and prove something. Or it could be another dismal weekend. On to the Picks!

Last Week: 3-2
Overall: 17-4

Bye: Louisville

Colgate at Syracuse: It’s not every year you have an FBS team face two-straight FCS squads. Well, Syracuse has pulled it off. In all reality Syracuse was forced to make a quick scheduling change due to a team dropping out. The change has brought Colgate to the Dome for a good beating. Expect Ryan Nassib to continue his solid QB play, and the Orange defense to continue to gain confidence.

Prediction: 45-7 Syracuse

Buffalo at Connecticut: The Huskies need to figure out how to pass the ball…and they need to figure it out quickly. Zach Fraiser may be in danger of losing his job if he comes out slow again; especially against a team he should deal with rather easily. The Bulls have had some good defensive success, but haven’t faced a tailback like Jordan Todman. The passing game should open up with Buffalo stacking the box. The Husky defense will handle Buffalo, so it’s completely up to the UConn offense to get the job done. Expect it to happen.

Prediction: 27-10 Connecticut

Western Kentucky at South Florida: The Bulls probably spent the bye week trying to figure out if there are actually receivers somewhere on campus. BJ Daniels desperately needs targets for this offense to balance out. South Florida has the running game, they seem to have the defense…the big question is the passing attack. This team can’t afford to be too one-dimensional. The good news for the Bulls is that this could be the week to open that passing game up. The Hilltoppers are allowing 50 points per-game, and will be in for a long game. The Bulls win this one easily.

Prediction: 35-13 South Florida

North Carolina at Rutgers: This is a huge game for Rutgers. The Knights get to face an opponent that has faced suspensions and two heart-breaking losses. However, it will be a great test, because the Tarheels have plenty of talent. UNC will still be missing key members due to Agent-Foolery. The defense hasn’t gelled, but the offense has exceeded expectations. Rutgers has to be ready for a balanced attacked. But most importantly, the Knights need to find an offense. Having the 113th best passing attack in the country won’t get it done. This is a true statement game for Rutgers. If they can’t score against this train-wreck of a defense then they won’t score on anyone. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, and throw a little love the way of the Big East. The Knight’s defense gets it done, and the offense wakes up a little bit.

Prediction: 24-21 Rutgers

(8) Oklahoma at Cincinnati: Well…this looked like a good match-up a few weeks back…and then the season started. The Bearcats have been miserable in virtually every aspect of the game. The defense is brutal. The offensive line is garbage. The running game is non-existence. The coaching has been terrible. Having said all of that, do they have a chance to beat Oklahoma? Hell no. Landry Jones will throw for as many touchdowns as he wants. Butch Jones will not enjoy his Saturday.

Prediction: 42-21 Oklahoma

(19) Miami at Pittsburgh: The Panthers are looking for a spark. From injuries to ineffectiveness, and worst of all numerous arrests, this isn’t the start that Pittsburgh was looking for. However, it’s still a team that has plenty of talent. The defense will be tested by shear athleticism tonight as the Hurricanes come to play. The Hurricanes have spent the bye week trying to regroup following a dismal offensive performance at Ohio State. The Hurricanes should do well moving the ball. Pitt’s pass defense won’t be as solid without Greg Romeus, and this will exploit the young secondary. Dion Lewis should finally get things rolling. He’s too good to stay in the doldrums. But it won’t be enough. Just too much offensive speed for Miami in this contest.

Prediction: 31-27 Miami

Game of the Week: (22) West Virginia at (15) LSU: This is a winnable for the Mountaineers. Geno Smith and the West Virginia offense are incredibly tough to defend. You can shut down one receiver, but three others can burn you. You can shut down Noel Devine, but Ryan Clarke can run you over. It’s well balanced, and extremely athletic. However, the offensive line, while playing better last week, is still not up to par. The good thing for WVU is that LSU’s offense is completely imbalanced. Jordan Jefferson hasn’t gotten the passing game going, which is good for WVU. The weakest link right now for the Mountaineers is the secondary. It seems like a good match up for WVU. While they won’t put up a huge number due to the LSU defense, they should be able to do enough to stay in the game. Let’s be honest though, the biggest factor will be the crowd. LSU simply doesn’t lose at home on Saturday nights. A mistake late by the Mountaineers could be the difference. If this game was at a neutral field I would take the West Virginia.

Prediction: 28-24 LSU



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