Say what you want about the
Syracuse program but Paul Pasqualoni can coach. The talent level at Syracuse has
been dropping for years but Pasqualoni still manages to field a solid division
one football team - year after year.
Walt Harris, on the other hand, has recruited great talent but has yet to capitalize on it with a true break out season.
This game pits the 4-2 Orangemen against the 4-2 Panthers. Who will forge ahead and who will fall behind?
The oddsmakers have Pitt picked by a solid seven points but don't underestimate Pitt's ability to blow at least one game a year.
My own feeling is that this won't be one of them.
Syracuse secondary hasn't been strong and the passing game is exactly where the Panthers excel. That crucial matchup favors Pittsburgh and the running game of Walter Reyes will not be enough to compensate for Pitt's advantage in the air attack.
Almost but not quite.
Pittsburgh 35 - Syracuse 31
Notre Dame at Boston College
Both these teams like Big Ten style football. Both play the bruising power game. This contest will matchup Boston College's huge offensive line against the rugged defensive line of the Fighting Irish. The Irish's statistical standings are poor but one thing they do well is "stuff the run". The running game is the "bread and butter" of Boston College so you can expect the Irish to concentrate on stopping Derek Knight. The "Golden Dome" strategy will be to force BC to try to win the game in the air. Notre Dame is not a great pass defense team but Boston College is not a great passing team. Against Pitt's powerful passing offense the Irish showed that they could put enough pressure on the quarterback to take the Panthers out of their rhythm. They'll do that and more against BC. The odds makers have Boston College favored by 4 but I call it ....
Notre Dame 21 - Boston College 17
Rutgers at Temple
These two teams are like ships passing in the night. Rutgers is getting better, Temple is getting worse. Two years ago Temple beat RU easily. Last year the Owls struggled to pull out the "W". This year Rutgers is simply a better football team ... but wait, there's a catch. Rutgers is a better football team with Bill Beckford, Berk Hutchinson, Tres Moses and Justice Hairston. Without those guys it is a closer contest. Fortunately, Rutgers is deep at the positions where those injuries hit and they'll make up for some of that lost talent.
Also, and importantly, Schiano knows that he needs this win and he has a team of players who are truly tired of "moral victories".
Temple on the other hand is just "tired".
Although the oddsmakers call it Temple by 5. I call it Rutgers' "coming out game" and Schiano's first Big East victory.
Rutgers 28 - Temple 14
Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net
Mike and the Big Dog's LLC