Thursday, October 13, 2011

Big East Preview, Week 7

A mix of league and non-conference games make up the week for the Big East. A few more chances for teams to make statements, especially Rutgers. The Knights were left for dead by the media, but could be one step closer to the post season after Saturday. USF and Pitt also get the chance to get back on track, following terrible losses.

Last Week: 3-1
Overall: 29-11

Bye Week: Syracuse, West Virginia

Louisville at Cincinnati: The Bearcats are quietly putting together a good season. And this team is much more balanced than many people think. We know how good the offense is, but the story has been the defense. Cincy is 15th in the country in points against, and have only allowed over 14 points once. This is a fantastic matchup for the Bearcats, considering Louisville has one of the worst offenses in the nation. The Cardinals will have Will Stein back from injury, but Teddy Bridgewater is far from the problem. The offensive line continues to be shambolic, the play calling is a disaster, and the ground game just can't get going. This means the Louisville defense is going to have to keep them in the game...again. The Bearcats are just going to have too much in this matchup. Even with an outstanding performance by the Cards' D, the offense just isn't potent enough.

Prediction: 31-10 Cincinnati

South Florida at Connecticut: The Bulls have had two weeks to think about their terrible performance against Pitt. This should be a better team than what was seen that Thursday night. They now get a chance to turn the season around against the weakest team in the Big East. The Huskies are reeling, just giving up way too much in the pass game. UConn can run the ball, but just too much inexperience in the passing game makes them too one-dimensional. Look for the Bulls to stack the box, and force Johnny McEntee into 3rd and long situations. It's eventually what buried UConn last week. On the other side, look for B.J. Daniels to stay in the pocket a bit more than usual. The depleted Husky secondary will get rocked once again.

Prediction: 34-20 South Florida

Utah at Pittsburgh: The Panthers continue to be the bipolar team of the conference. They hammer South Florida, only to back it up with a dismal performance at Rutgers. Todd Graham just can't find an offense to stay consistent. His biggest problem has to be his quarterback. Tino Sunseri just can't figure out the new system, and it may be time to look behind him. Or, just give the ball to Ray Graham 50 times, especially against a struggling Utah team. Look for Pitt to run as much as possible to try to gain the momentum back. The Panthers' defense should also have success, considering the Utes lost their starting quarterback for the season. It's already been a struggle for Utah to score, and now losing Jordan Wynn is a big hit. Pitt will go after the quarterback all day long. Look for the Panthers to pull away in the second half.

Prediction: 29-14 Pittsburgh

Game of the Week: Navy at Rutgers: It's always a good time trying to stop the triple-option. The Knights get the task this weekend against Navy. Rutgers is proving a lot of people wrong this year with the fast start. Already 4-1, the Knights get a chance to show some people what they have against the Midshipmen. After a solid game against Pitt, Gary Nova will get the start at quarterback. His completion percentage needs to improve, and probably will against Navy. Look for the Knights' dynamic receivers to have a field day on Saturday. There's no doubt Rutgers will be able to move the ball, but will the defense be able to stop Navy? The Knights are only allowing 15 points per game, but haven't faced an offense like this. Navy will move the ball, but look for Rutgers to clamp down when the field shortens. The Middies have played opponents tough this year, so expect this game to be close. However, the Knights' receivers will be too much of a mismatch. Look for Nova to hit a couple big plays in the second half to pull away.

Prediction: 30-20 Rutgers