Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big East Preview, Week 11

Shockingly, there is football this week. With the Penn State scandal going on it does seem like there is anything else going on. Important games this week, especially for Cincinnati and Louisville, the league's front-runners. To the picks!

Last Week: 1-3 (nice)
Overall: 35-19

Bye Week: Connecticut.

Rutgers vs Army: The Knights became bowl eligible last week, surprising many a critic. This was a team that was expected to finish dead last in the conference, but Rutgers has responded well by just finding ways to win. They now face an Army team that will be looking to run, run, run. The Black Knights will struggle to match up against the Red Knights, but it's always tough to slow down the old school option. Rutgers will undoubtedly stack the box, and try to force Army to throw the football. It will also be a big game for Chas Dodd, who has won back the starting quarterback job. If he can find some consistency, look for Rutgers to roll offensively. The Knights have seen a better version of Army's offense this year while playing Navy, and ended up winning. But, don't be surprised if the Cadets keep it close.

Prediction: 31-20 Rutgers

South Florida at Syracuse: Well, something has to give in this Friday night battle. South Florida hasn't won a game since September, and Syracuse has dropped two straight. As far as I know, someone has to win. Hard to pick South Florida until they actually win again. B.J. Daniels and the offense have just made too many crucial errors, and have also struggled to finish drives. The defense has been hit and miss. One week they look all-world, the next they look like WVU. Just no consistency. Speaking of consistency, Syracuse could use some. The offense just isn't very explosive for four quarters, and the stalling has killed them. The defense is doing enough, but may struggle to slow down the Bulls. Expect a back and forth game early, but the Dome should be rocking on a Friday night, which should help the Orange. Look for more crucial mistakes from USF to burn them in the second half.

Prediction: 29-24 Syracuse

Pittsburgh at Louisville: The Cardinals are coming off a fantastic performance, winning in Morgantown. The offense has taken some great steps forward, and will be ready to take on a depleted Pittsburgh team. Louisville did allow a ton of yardage last week, but should seal back up against the Panthers. Pitt has lost a lot of balance with the injury to Ray Graham, and Tino Sunseri has wilted against good defenses. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater continues to mature. Look for the Cards to pass off the run, and find success against an inconsistent defense. If the Cards play their game, it should be a comfortable second half.

Prediction: 27-20 Louisville

Game of the Week: West Virginia at (23) Cincinnati: The Bearcats look to keep ahead in the chase for the BCS with a win over a shaken West Virginia team. The offenses should be out in force on Saturday, with nether defense slowing their opponent down. Cincinnati will have the edge considering WVU's defense will be the worst unit out there this side of WVU's Special Teams. Full preview tomorrow.

Prediction: 38-31 Cincinnati

Big East Power Rankings, Week 10

1. Cincinnati (7-1, 3-0 in conference): Another close win have the Bearcats in the poll position for the BCS invite. Next Step...Hosting WVU

2. Louisville (5-4, 3-1): Another solid win, this time in Morgantown. May be the hottest team in the conference. Next Step...Home game against Pitt

3. West Virginia (6-3, 2-2): Another pathetic team effort last week in loss to Louisville. Another season lost. Next Step...On the road at Cincinnati

4. Rutgers (6-3, 3-2): The Knights bounced back well with a win over reeling South Florida. Next Step...Non-conference game against Army.

5. Connecticut (4-5, 2-2): Good win over Syracuse moves the Huskies up the list, even though they shouldn't be. Next Step...Bye Week.

6. Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-2): I have no idea how to evaluate this team. What a strange year for the Panthers. Next Step...At the 'Ville

7. Syracuse (5-4, 1-3): They have been dreadful since beating WVU. Again, should be much better. Next Step...Hosting South Florida on Friday night.

8. South Florida (4-4, 0-4): The Bulls have just decided to take the conference year off. Next Step...On the road in Cuse.