Fearless Forecasts

Matei's Picks


Is there anyone left in the Big East, or outside (yes, even the ACC) that actually has any sympathy for the Boston College program?

You can be sure WVU harbors no such feelings.  And unlike most teams the Mountaineers play well angry (see Va. Tech).  Unfortunately, the game is not in Morgantown and the vaunted home field advantage won't be there either.  Add to that a missing Rasheed Marshall, a very conservative offensive game plan and you have the making of an Eagle win...naaaah, won't happen. 
The Mountaineers will run it down their throats.

West Virginia 34 - Boston College 23


If there ever was a team that needed to prove themselves on the field, immediately, it's the Owls.  Without a  Conference they can call their own, they need to show that they are worthy of belonging somewhere, anywhere.  This would send a tremendous message...however, for all those that saw the game a couple of weeks ago can anyone doubt Syracuse will coast?

Syracuse 42 - Temple 24

No. 5/5 VIRGINIA TECH at No. 25/21 PITTSBURGH (ESPN) 7:45 p.m.

Larry World will have his chance to strut his stuff and make his case for the Heisman hardware.  Unfortunately, he's pitted himself against Kevin Jones, who's already declared himself winner (see latest SI). 

The Panthers will have their chance early - in front of a sold out Heinz field - punt returner and corner extraordinaire DeAngelo Hall will be sitting out the first half of the game.  This is Rod's and Larry's time as they will look to punish a Hokie secondary that has been repeatedly picked apart all year.

The key absence for the Panthers, Brandon Miree, remains a vital missing link in their attempt at a balanced offense.  However, in front of the first Pitt sellout in a long time, I look for the Panthers to re-establish themselves as the contenders we all thought they'd be during the pre-season, by throwing the ball downfield.

Pittsburgh 28 - Virginia Tech 26


The single team I would hate to ever face after they lose is Miami.  Although, come to think of it, we really don't know what to expect from the Hurricanes since they so rarely lose. 

Unlike Va. Tech, Miami always rises to the level of their opponent (or falls, as the case may be), but in the end they (almost) always prevail.   This week will be no different. 

The Hurricanes will romp in a game that will be over before you have time for that 1st bathroom break

Miami 37 - Tennessee 17


Isn't ESPN Gameday being broadcast from East Hartford? Ooooh, sorry, I'm jumping ahead 2 years...hold that thought though.

Of the major concerns we've all had with RU's performance this year has been the incredibly inconsistent play of the secondary.  Sure the youth still shows sometimes, but Nate Jones and Brandon Haw are not young.  UCONN's signal caller, Dan Orlovsky may be the most underrated quarterback in the country.  Having thrown for nearly 3000 yards and 29 TDs already, he'll put the Scarlet Knight secondary to the test early and often.

It was good to see the RU kicking game finally come together last week - we'll need every point in this one.  RU gets within 1 game of Bowl eligibility as Nate Jones finally has his Pre-Season All-America coming out party with the game of his carreer

Rutgers 27 - Connecticut 25

Matei: matt1@cep.rutgers.edu


Mike's Picks


People like to think of BC as a premiere rushing team but BC's 34th place ranking doesn't hold a candle to the 12th place ranking of the Mountaineers, a ranking which came against a much tougher schedule.

The problem for the Mountaineers, however, is the same problem that plagues the Eagles.

All run and no pass.

The Mountaineers passing game is ranked 106th in the nation. Even BC's 70th ranking gives them more balance than the Mounties.

Additionally, WVU doesn't matchup well with BC. Both teams are running teams. So how well does each defend against their opponent's running game. The Eagles defend the run well but the Mountaineers strength is pass defense. West Virginia's talented secondary will get gray hair sitting around waiting for Tom O'Brien to "air it out."

Looking at all this the oddsmakers have picked Boston College by 3.5.

There is more to it though. WVU will load up the box on first and second down and then go with nickel packages on third. Teams have been doing that all season against Tom O'Brien, who has yet to figure out how to throw on first down. Additionally, every Big East team that has faced the Eagles has come in rabid with anger over BC's defection to the ACC.

WVU will be no different.

In fact, they may be the angriest team in the league.

It'll make a difference.

West Virginia 28- Boston College 24



I like the Owls. I really do.

But they're pathetic.

Vegas says the Orange will win by 16.

I agree.

Syracuse 33-Temple 17



No. 5/5 VIRGINIA TECH at No. 25/21 PITTSBURGH (ESPN) 7:45 p.m.

It would be easy to think that Tech will be down after their thrilling demolition of the Miami Hurricanes, but Frank Beamer is just too good a coach to let that happen.

It would be great to think that Pittsburgh will give a sound thrashing to the Hokies for abandoning the Big East, but Walt Harris is too mediocre a coach to let that happen.

This game will be decided by three things: coaching, coaching and coaching.

Guess who wins.

Pitt has lived by the combination of Rob Rutherford to Larry Fitzgerald.

Frank Beamer will take that combination apart.

The Panthers, against Notre Dame, showed themselves vulnerable to the blitz and you can bet that Beamer will throw every blitz package in the book (and some that aren't in the book) against Rutherford. Once Rutherford is out of his rhythm, the game will be over. Pitt won't be able to switch to the running game since they don't have one ...  and they couldn't run against Tech if they did.

When the Hokies have the ball they'll match up Tech's 13th ranked running game against Pitt's 70th ranked run defense.

Vegas says that Tech will win by five.

I say this game will get ugly.

Virginia Tech 45 - Pittsburgh 14



 This isn't one of Miami's better teams.

This isn't one of Tennessee's better teams.

The difference will be the Miami secondary. Tennessee quarterback Casey Clauson had a terrific game in the Volunteer's thrilling  "5 OT" win against Alabama and he'll be Tennessee's main hope of pulling off the upset. Unfortunately for the Vols, the Miami secondary is one of the few stellar units on an otherwise overrated Hurricane squad. Clauson will move the ball but not well enough to make a difference in the outcome. Miami won't dominate the Volunteers but they have enough horses to win this game.

Vegas picks Miami by 12.5.

I think that is just about right.

Miami 35 - Tennessee 21.



Saints preserve us!!!

Rutgers is playing meaningful game in November.

For that matter so is Connecticut.

Both these teams show real promise and both are ready to cut their teeth on one another.

Who will win?

The key for Connecticut is to stop Ryan Hart who quietly has moved to 40th place in the nation in total offense.

The key for Rutgers is to stop Dan Orlovsky who not so quietly has moved to 13th in the nation in total offense.

These key matchups don't bode well for Rutgers. The Knights are 76th in the nation in pass defense. The Huskies are 40th.

However, the Knights have played a tougher schedule and the Huskies might not have their game feet totally under them. This is a big game for UConn which has a bowl bid on the line. The last time UConn faced such a test was back on September 13 when they faced Boston College in a battle for New England supremacy. The Huskies choked and BC cruised to a 24-14 win.

More than that UConn is still hurting from the loss of star tailback, Terry Caulley, and word out of Storrs is that the back up Husky RBs' are banged up as well.

The oddsmakers have called this one UConn by 7.

Vegas is 0-8 in forecasting Rutgers games this year.

Rutgers 27 - UConn 24


Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net

Mike and the Big Dog's LLC


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