Thursday, October 6, 2011

Big East Preview, Week 6

The Big East is coming off a dreadful week, where we saw two teams fall to non-AQ's, and just a lot of poor football. Conference realignment talk continues to overshadow the play, which may be a good thing, considering the play had been mostly marginal. As we get more into conference play, we'll see what teams truly belong at the top, and what teams are already thinking about next year. To the picks!

Last Week: 2-4
Overall: 26-10

Bye Week: South Florida, Cincinnati

Syracuse at Tulane: It's a battle in the Bayou of two sputtering teams. Syracuse comes in after a dreadful overtime loss to Rutgers. Once again, too many mistakes buried the Orange in what really should have been a win. Meanwhile, Tulane only has one win over an FBS opponent, and got killed by Duke. Yes, Duke. Both teams offensive stats are nearly identical. The Green Wave will rush the ball with more effectiveness. Syracuse will show more in the pass game. The Orange do have an edge in defense, especially with a few faces coming back from injury. Look for a close game early on, but if Cuse can hold on to the ball(and I know that's asking a lot) they should pull away. Look for the Orange defense to push the momentum into Cuse's favor in the second half, and help the Orange to a semi-comfortable victory.

Prediction: 34-24 Syracuse

Connecticut at (16) West Virginia: The Mountaineers open Big East play with a balanced attack...finally. It took five games to find it, but the rushing attack has opened up. The Huskies have struggled out of the gates, and were embarrassed last week by Western Michigan. UConn will have to cause havoc to disrupt Geno Smith, who is clicking right now. The Mountaineer defense looked better last week, and will play aggressively against an inexperienced quarterback. WVU should win confidently. Full preview tomorrow.

Prediction: 38-20 West Virginia

Pittsburgh at Rutgers: Both teams are coming off conference wins. Pittsburgh turned on the switch last week, and pummeled South Florida. Rutgers played terribly, yet still beat Syracuse in overtime. Two teams going in the right direction, but Pittsburgh should have the upper hand. The offense is in better shape, and the defensive unit is growing in confidence. Todd Graham finally has his kids buying into the new system, so we may see a different Pittsburgh team from now on. However, Tino Sunseri will have to stay more consistently. He has yet to have a solid performance, and the same can be said for Rutgers' Chas Dodd. The Knights' starting quarterback is coming off an ugly performance last week, will have to be relied upon this week. Pitt will undoubtedly stack the box to make Dodd work. It's just not a good matchup for Rutgers. Dodd can't win them a game right now, and won't do it this week. Look for another steady dose of Ray Graham, and the Panthers controlling for the majority.

Prediction: 24-13 Pittsburgh

Game of the Week: Louisville at North Carolina: Yes, kind of a weak "Game of the Week", but it's a pretty sorry week of games. The Cardinals just don't have anything offensively. Whether it's Teddy Bridgewater or Will Stein, it seems the bigger problem may be scheme. The offense has been stagnant for just too long. There is no excuse to lose a low scoring game to Marshall. Louisville isn't even averaging 20 points a game. Meanwhile, UNC shook off the distractions and are off to a nice start in the post-Butch Davis Era. Both defensive units have played well, so expect a bit of a defensive affair. The Tarheels have been a bit mistake-prone, which may may keep the Cardinals in the game early. However, if Bryn Renner can hold on to the football, UNC should win the time of possession battle. Winning TOP in an ugly offensive matchup like this will be key. Louisville will keep it close, especially if they can get a quick hitter or two early-on. A close game than most expect, but Louisville just doesn't have the offensive horses to keep them in late.

Prediction: 24-17 North Carolina

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