Big East Preview

With a comeback victory for the ages, like most Irish fans, I've been riding high this weekend. Both preseason Big East favorites, West Virginia and Louisville, are off this week, but there should still be some good games. Of course we are all going to be tuning into Notre Dame and Purdue, but here are some other games to watch during the day that God intended for college football.

RUTGERS vs. SOUTH FLORIDA

This will be the game of the week in the Big East. This is the first time that Rutgers has been ranked since 1976…30 years ago. They will be seeking their first 5-0 start since that date as well. Ray Rice is simply a stud in the shadows of much bigger fish. The Knights will have to account for USF QB Matt Grothe, but I would suspect that they will use a power running game to control the clock and force USF out of their element. The key match-up will be the SUNJ defense against Grothe and his weapons. The fact is, and I said it before, Rutgers will be 8-0 when they meet West Virginia. They do have key dates with Navy and Pittsburgh to do so, but this will be the perfect warm-up game. The Bulls have not faced the talent or the momentum they will when they square off with Rutgers and I expect that to translate to the scoreboard. My Prediction: Rutgers 31-13

PITTSBURGH vs. TOLEDO

Let's see. Tyler Palko and Derek Kinder, yet again, against a Toledo defense that gave up 393 yards to Iowa State and another 261 yards to Western Michigan (in a 31-10 loss). Palko will throw the ball, and will continue to pad his stats. The resurgence of the Panther receivers is attributed to Kinder and Oderick Turner. These two will give the Rockets fits and should be focused. This game will be won in the first half. Expect the big game out of Pitt's quarterback, and LB H.B. Blades will look to shut down both Rocket's RB Jalen Parmele and QB Clint Cochran. I would expect that he will have a big game and the Wannstache era continues to gain momentum under Palko's arm. Pitt wins in predictable fashion. My Prediction: Pitt 35 – 10

SYRACUSE vs. WYOMING

The Orange, riding a two game winning streak, are playing much more consistent than in the past. Enter the Wyoming Cowboys, coming off of their own three game losing streak. The Cowboys have had troubles with mobile quarterbacks, especially last week against Shawn Carney and Air Force. The good news is that they limited him to 40 passing yards. The bad news is that he ran for two scores and over 100 yards. Air Force does not have the receiver talent that Syracuse will bring. QB Jacob Doss will attempt to lead the way for Wyoming. The Orange will counter with Perry Patterson, who is riding a wave of confidence after much better play the last two games. WR Taj Smith will be the focal point of the air attack and RB Curtis Brinkley will control the ground game. I would expect that Patterson will have another solid game, and find WR Taj Smith for at least one score. RB Curtis Brinkley will have another solid outing, and expect the Orange to run the ball and maintain a rhythm on offense with Patterson's arm. The Orange continue on with a new three game win streak, but it's closer than we might think. My Prediction: Syracuse 31-21

UCONN – NAVY

UCONN will face off this week against the Midshipmen of Navy, and this game should display two power running attacks. Navy will have to stop Huskies RB Terry Caulley first and foremost. The Midshipmen will also square off against a new Husky QB in Matt Bonislawski, as he takes over for the benched D. J. Hernandez. Navy will look to their own the ground game (averaging 330 yards per game) with Allen Ballard and dual threat QB Brian Hampton. The Navy defense is playing a little inconsistent, but well enough to limit Caulley's scoring chances. I expect this to be a dogfight. Watch for UCONN to try and establish the ground game to give Bonislawski some confidence. The Navy pass defense will be the key here. If they play well and maintain enough defensive pressure to contain Bonislawski, the Midshipmen option attack should keep this game within reach. My Prediction: Navy 24 –21

CINCINNATI vs. MIAMI (OH)

I have really misjudged the Bearcat defense. They played phenomenal in the first half against Virginia Tech and had their not have been a second half meltdown, would have pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history. Miami simply cannot find a way to win as they fall to 0-4 after last week's loss to Syracuse. I would expect that Cincinnati will find some moral victories in their play against the Hokies and kick the Redhawks while they are down. Expect the Bearcat defense to play fired up, and Dustin Grutza should lead the offense. The lack of one key offensive leader is hurting the Bearcats, but the defense will play inspired and win this one for Dantonio. My Prediction: Cincy 27 – 21

LOUISVILLE vs. BYE

WEST VIRGINIA vs. BYE

I guess even the teams with the weakest schedules in NCAA football need a breather now and then.

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