Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big East Preview, Week 10

Everyone is in action this week, with plenty on the line. Can Cincinnati stay ahead of the class, or will Pitt and WVU get back in the mix? Can Syracuse take down their former coach? And, will it be Rutgers or USF waking back up? It should be a fun weekend. To the picks...

Last Week: 2-1
Overall: 34-16

Bye Week: None

South Florida at Rutgers: The Bulls need to turn things around asap. They face a team that is also on a losing streak, and prone to the mistake. There's really no excuse that USF hasn't won a game since September. Each loss has had its own theme to it. However, they just need to execute, which they should be able to do with their experience. As for Rutgers, they just need to hold on to the damn ball. The Knights are turning the ball over at an alarming rate, and face an opportunistic defense yet again. Gary Nova may be in for another long day if he can't find Mohamed Sanu. But this team needs more playmakers. One receiver isn't enough. Look for the Bulls to double Sanu, and go after Nova. On the other side, B.J. Daniels needs to take this team by the scruff and just ball. If he does, they should put up enough points to pull down the victory.

Prediction: 31-20 South Florida

Syracuse at Connecticut: This game should be the battle for the Pasqualoni Cup! Though, I'm not sure anyone really wants a trophy with Paul's likeness on it. Both teams have had very interesting years. Syracuse can't maintain momentum, and UConn can't maintain anything. This game has all the makings of a classic! Ryan Nassib and the passing attack will blister the Husky secondary. Why? Because everyone does. Watching UConn's secondary is like watching a MAC team play the pass. That should open things up for Antwon Bailey, and a whole load of scoring for the Orange. As for the Husky offense, Johnny McEntee is still the starter...which means UConn will continue to struggle. Look for the Orange front line to make a long day for McEntee. Syracuse should pull away in the second half, with Nassib leading the way.

Prediction: 29-13 Syracuse

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: The Bearcats are the lone team without a loss in the conference, and have a very favorable schedule left. It starts with taking on a beat-up Pittsburgh team that lost Ray Graham for the season last week. The Panthers now will rely on Zach Brown. The senior is averaging 3.1 yards a carry, so he will need to step it up. Tino Sunseri did step it up last week, and will need to continue to play at a high rate if they want a shot at taking down the Bearcats. Cincy's defense has been stingy this year, but did finally show some weaknesses last week against USF. Look for Sunseri to go to the air again to try and exploit the Bearcat secondary. Meanwhile, Cincy continues to cruise on offense. Pitt's defense is going to be in for a battle. They will need to slow down the ground attack to have any chance. Look for Zach Collaros and company to spread things out early and attack the corners with speed. The Bearcats should have enough success against the inconsistent Panther defense. However, Collaros needs to protect the ball much better if he wants to ensure victory this weekend. If Sunseri can pay well again Pitt will keep it close. But the Bearcats are just too powerful, and the Panthers too beat-up.

Prediction: 34-24 Cincinnati

Game of the Week: Louisville at (24) West Virginia: What a great battle this should be. The league's best defense against the league's best offense. However, the big story may be how the young Louisville offense does against the inconsistent Mountaineer defense. Expect a tight game early on, but WVU should be able to figure out the stingy Louisville defense enough to give them a comfortable lead by the second half. Teddy Bridgewater can't afford to make mistakes, and that's a lot to ask a freshman quarterback on the road. Full preview tomorrow.

Prediction: 30-19 West Virginia

Flying Dub-V Top 25, Week 9

Here is a look at the Top-25 for this week.

1. LSU (8-0)
2. Alabama (8-0)
3. Oklahoma State (8-0)
4. Stanford (8-0)
5. Boise State (8-0)
6. Oregon (7-1)
7. Arkansas (7-1)
8. Oklahoma (7-1)
9. Nebraska (7-1)
10. South Carolina (7-1)
11. Clemson (7-1)
12. Virginia Tech (8-1)
13. Michigan (7-1)
14. Kansas State (7-1)
15. Houston (8-0)
16. Penn State (8-1)
17. Michigan State (6-2)
18. Arizona State (6-2)
19. Wisconsin (6-2)
20. Cincinnati (6-1)
21. Georgia (6-2)
22. West Virginia (6-2)
23. Georgia Tech (7-2)
24. Texas (5-2)
25. USC (6-2)

WVU/Big East Lawsuit Analysis

WVU is suing the Big East, what does that mean? Time to bring in someone to talk some law! J-Bren aka "Lawdog" from Orange44 joined us to talk about what this all means.

Dub-V: A brief summary of WVU's lawuit v Big East

J-Bren: WVU is basically alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary
duties in ensuring the long-term stability and success of the
conference. The allegations go back to the realignment where Miami,
Virginia Tech, and Boston College left for the ACC, and the Big East
brought in all-sports schools Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida,
non-football schools DePaul and Marquette, and upgraded UConn to D-1A
Big East football. WVU is basically saying that even at that early
stage, the Big East was not making moves to solidify its long-term
future, namely, by continuing this football/non-football dichotomy.
Additionally, WVU says that in paying that $2.5 million up front, they
sent along a contingency offer which said that "Upon the Big East
accepting this $2.5M, the Big East allows WVU to exit the conference
immediately for future cash considerations." So that since the Big
East accepted that money, they accepted that offer to essentially
opt-out of the 27-month rule and exit upon this agreement.

Dub-V: What is the strategy of filing in West Virginia?

J-Bren: You always want to be on your home turf when you're in Court.
Litigating a lawsuit in West Virginia means the judges live there,
were elected there or appointed by West Virginia folks, and if it ever
got to a jury trial, the jury would be West Virginians. In other
words, all people who would have a higher likelihood of being
sympathetic to WVU's plight.

Dub-V: How will the Big East defend itself?

J-Bren: From early indications, vigorously. The Commissioner seems to think

that he's been doing everything humanly possible to not only save this
league, but to put it on par with the other conferences and compete at
their level. This includes the once-successful attempt to bring in
Texas Christian, as well as the courting of the several schools now on
the radar. The Big East will hang its hat on having had its Automatic
Qualifying status for the BCS, and with its efforts at bringing in
other schools, a continuation of the AQ. When it comes down to money,
having that AQ and the other bowl tie-ins provides that financial
stability for the league, along with the TV contracts. The Big East
will probably have a hard time dealing with its rejection of that ESPN
renewal deal where all that money was left on the table. That's one
of the things Syracuse has pointed to in choosing to leave, and I have
seen reports from Syracuse stating that had that ESPN deal been
renewed, Syracuse would have stayed in the Big East.

Dub-V: What is the likelihood of a settlement?

J-Bren: High, based on the sheer statistics of the number of cases filed vs.

the number of cases that proceed to trial. Right now there's a lot of
posturing going on, and it's a big game of chicken. Who will flinch
first? I think if -- and this is a big if given the snail's pace at
which the Big East takes any proactive action on realignment -- if the
Big East pulls in enough schools, enough good schools, to keep their
numbers up and keep the AQ status, then the Big East will be in a much
better position to settle with WVU and move on. If they have suitable
replacements, then cut your losses and get it over with. And since,
in the end, this is all about money, if WVU plays a little Price is
Right, they can eventually find a number the Big East will be happy

Dub-V: What happens if WVU loses?

J-Bren: If WVU loses its lawsuit, then the status quo remains. They're bound

by the bylaws of the Big East, which evidently include the 27-month
notification rule and $5 million exit fee. WVU really loses nothing
(except litigation expenses) by filing this lawsuit, because they'll
eventually get to leave. Now, where that leaves the Big 12 is another
story. The impact on the Big 12 if WVU doesn't join in 2012 could be
a lot more serious, if/when Missouri leaves for the SEC.

Dub-V: Could SU, Pitt, and WVU just leave and breach the contract? If so, what are the consequences?

J-Bren: Could they? Sure, I guess. But you could rest assured that the Big

East would file for an injunction requiring the school(s) to honor the
Big East bylaws and wait out the 27-month period. Then these same
issues from WVU's lawsuit would be litigated anyway (the schools'
defense being "why should we be held to a contract when the Big East
has been in breach of the contract all these years?"). Ultimately, a
court would probably allow the premature moves and force the schools
to pay damages to the Big East for leaving early. Since that is
ultimately what WVU (and I'm assuming Pitt & Syracuse) want to do
anyway, that scenario tends to make me think that a settlement to
leave early is probably the most likely scenario. Even in spite of
all the posturing going on right now. Talk is cheap.

A big thanks to J-Bren for the breakdown.

Big East Power Rankings, Week 9

1. Cincinnati (6-1, 1-0 in conference): It's their conference to lose at this point. The only team without a loss in the Big East. Next Step...At Pittsburgh

2. West Virginia (6-2, 2-1): Bounced back in the snow last week to take down Rutgers. Next Step...Rivalry game against Louisville.

3. Louisville (4-4, 2-1): Two straight wins has this team moving up the ranks rapidly. Next Step...Trying to prove that the Big 12 chose the wrong team in Morgantown.

4. Syracuse (5-3, 1-2): Backed up a strong week with a rough performance against Louisville. Next Step...Traveling to take on a former coach at UConn.

5. Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-1): Solid win last week, but comes at a huge cost with the los of Ray Graham for the season. Next Step...Hosting top team, Cincy.

6. Rutgers (5-3, 2-2): Losers of two straight, the Knights are starting be who we thought they were. Next Step...Hosting South Florida.

7. Connecticut (3-5, 1-2): A tough outing last week at Pittsburgh, as the Huskies still look for consistency at many positions. Next Step...Hostin Syracuse.

8. South Florida (4-3, 0-3): Still looking for their first win September. Next Step...A roadie to Rutgers.