A shakeup last week has some new teams looking to stay on top. Can Syracuse keep the momentum going, can WVU and Rutgers get back on track? And, Pitt and UConn may be playing for that final bowl spot. Great storylines as we head deeper into the season. To the picks!
Last Week: 1-2
Bye Week: South Florida, Cincinnati
Connecticut at Pittsburgh: Huge game for both of these teams tonight. The Huskies are looking to build on some momentum from before the bye. Meanwhile, the Panthers are trying to kick the tires of a stalled offense. Tino Sunseri just hasn't given Pitt what they need, but Todd Graham will stick with him...for now. The Panthers will concentrate on the ground game, which may be tough to get going, since UConn is one of the best teams in the country against the run. This means Sunseri has to show up. Fortunately for him, the Huskies are terrible against the pass. Expect Pitt to have open receivers throughout the game. UConn will give up some pints, so Johnny McEntee needs to be efficient. If the Huskies are sloppy early, they could be out of this one quickly. Look for Pitt to bring the pressure early to get to McEntee. If they can cut off the run, and make McEntee uncomfortable, the Panthers should win somewhat comfortably.
Prediction: 27-17 Pittsburgh
Syracuse at Louisville: The Orange are flying high after dismantling WVU last week. The offense was fluid, the defense was punishing, and special teams had a big score. It was the first time this season that Syracuse played a full game. Louisville also had a solid weekend, taking down Rutgers in a tight contest. The Cardinal defense continues to play well, while the offense tries to figure it out. This is an interesting matchup. If the Orange play like they did last week, then they will cruise. However, we have only seen that once in seven games. Expect the Orange to have to rely on the pass quite a bit. Louisville's the kind of defense that can make you one dimensional. It's also a defense that is much more opportunistic than WVU. If the Cardinals can win the turnover battle early they will have a chance...not a huge one though. With Chandler Jones back for Cuse, Louisville's offense is going to be in for a long day. It should be a close game, but Louisville is just not strong enough offensively to pull this off. Syracuse does enough to continue the winning.
Prediction: 24-20 Syracuse
Game of the Week: (25) West Virginia at Rutgers: The Mountaineers come in off one of the worst losses in recent memory, and better not show any hangover. If they do, the season is probably over. Meanwhile, Rutgers is struggling to find players to step up offensively. Gary Nova is making too many mistakes, and Mohamed Sanu is the only playmaker on the team. The Knights will have to rely on the defense to get the job done this week, and it's hard to think WVU will struggle two weeks in a row. If the Mountaineer defense can just play respectable, WVU should win comfortably. Full preview on Friday.
Prediction: 34-21 West Virginia