Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big East Preview, Week 7

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Ryan Nassib  of the Syracuse Orange rolls out to pass against the Washington Huskies on September 11, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Orange 41-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Midway point of the season has been reached, meaning the conference schedule starts to pick up. It’s put up or shut up for some teams, while others try to continue solid play. To the picks!

Last Week: 4-2
Overall: 31-8

Bye Week: Connecticut

Army at Rutgers: The Knights have new life offensively with true frosh, Chas Dodd at QB. Dodd led Rutgers to a huge win over UConn last week. He now faces Army, a team that beat Tulane last week. Let us not forget that this is the same Tulane team that upset Rutgers the week before. However, this is a different team with Dodd…a much more balanced team. The Knights will score, and should make it very difficult for Army to do the same. The 9th ranked defense in the nation will limit the Black Knights, and force them into passing situations. This isn’t good for Army, considering they are last in FBS in passing. Too many 3rd and longs with bury the Knights.

Prediction: 31-7 Rutgers

South Florida at (25) West Virginia: These two have played some doozies over the last few years. However, 2010 looks to be different. The Mountaineers are off and running. The offense has looked smooth. Even deep threat, Brad Starks is starting to get healthy and make an impact. Defensively, they remain solid, especially against the run. South Florida will probably have a long night. BJ Daniels continues to struggle. The passing game is non-existent. The rushing attack will probably struggle to get going. The Bulls will rely on the defense once again. USF should have some success slowing down the Mountaineer attack, but it won’t be enough.

Prediction: 28-13 WVU

Cincinnati at Louisville: This is a huge game for both teams. The Bearcats are looking to get back in the fight for the conference, while the Cardinals are looking for that first statement win under Charlie Strong. Louisville will certainly be tested. Zack Collaros seems to have grasped the Butch Jones’ offense. Plus, the rushing attack has been electric lately. The Bearcats’ defense has played better lately as well. Louisville will have to be at their best to win this game…and that still may not be enough. The Bearcats may just have too much, especially for the young Louisville defense. The Cards will need mistakes, but could gamble too much to try to get them.

Prediction: 34-24 Cincinnati

Game of the Week: Pittsburgh at Syracuse: No way anyone thought this would be the Game of the Week about a month ago. And, no way anyone would have thought that Syracuse would be the favorite. Bottom-line is Syracuse has been the better team. The offense is more balanced. The special teams have been stout. And the defense is one the better groups in the country. So, yes, right now the Orange are a better team. They also have tons of momentum heading into this weekend, as they are coming off their first road win in conference since the Carter administration. Pittsburgh continues to be stagnant on offense. The problem is at the quarterback position. Tino Sunseri isn’t very good, and the coaching staff doesn’t trust him. That’s a deadly combination. They will rely on the rushing attack of Dion Lewis and Ray Graham. Expect Pitt to win the time of possession. This should keep the Panthers close throughout the game. However, the Orange should be able to put enough drives together to win this game. Plus, the atmosphere in the dome will be the best in years, so look for that to be a factor as well.

Prediction: 23-17 Syracuse



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