Fearless Forecast

Matei's Picks

SYRACUSE at No. 14 MIAMI (ESPN Plus+) Noon

Last week I said Tennessee didn't belong on the same football field with Miami.  Well, I was partly right - the lack of discipline and total lack of efficiency by the Hurricanes, yes, the Hurricanes, has them in a swoon rather than the other way around.

This week Syracuse (5-3; 2-2 Big East) comes to town.  This is a Syracuse team trying to rekindle past glory and trying to prove last year was nothing more than a fluke.  This is as grande a stage as they will find this year.

The Hurricanes (7-2; 3-1 Big East) are in a somewhat similar predicament, only they're trying to prove the last 2 weeks have been the fluke.

Can the Hurricanes be in for another surprise?

Their star player will be out - but for how long? If Miami is in need of points late "the Chosen One" will find his way on to the field. 

Syracuse's opportunity lies with their superstar RB Walter Reyes.  He will represent the lone chance for the Orange - and he will succeed, but only in keeping the Orange close. 

Miami 24 - Syracuse 17


No. 12 VIRGINIA TECH at TEMPLE 1:00 p.m.

Virginia Tech (7-2; 3-2 Big East) has shown glimpses of greatness...for many years.  They have also shown that they are completely incapable of living up to the lofty expectations some have set upon them.  Early on they repeatedly displayed their willingness to pick on weaker foes (e.g. practically every opponent they met before WVU), dismantling them with ease. 

However, they have also shown complete incompetency when it comes to stepping on the field against similarly strong foes.  Virginia Tech has lived exactly up to my expectations - they pick on the poor and bow to the strong.

Up next: Temple (1-8; Big East 0-3)

Virginia Tech 54 - Temple 17



Last week Pittsburgh (7-2; Big East 4-0) showed us exactly what they are made of...tough, gritty, and the future of the Big East Football Conference. 

This week, two teams showcase themselves in front of a national audience, as the premier Big East rivalry...as the Back Yard Brawl continues.

The venue is Mountaineer Field, the raucous home field West Virginia (5-4; Big East 3-1)  calls home.

At stake for the Panthers may be a share of the conference title, while the Mountaineers still yearn to prove they're better than their slow start indicated.

The matchup pits two of the nation's elite.  Adam "PacMan" Jones versus Larry "All-World" Fitzgerald.

These two teams have split the last four games with the road team winning the last two...look for that to continue in what will turn out to be a classic match  featuring some of the game's most prolific stars.

Pittsburgh 28 - West Virginia 24



If I say Boston College (5-5; Big East 1-4), what comes to mind (please people, let's keep this clean)?  How 'bout Derrick Knight and his 1178 yards for the season.  However, in his last 4 games he has averaged a paltry 73yds/gm (paltry compared to his nearly 118 yards per game seasonal average).  Boston College, much like their soon-to-be ACC counterparts, are facing some critical times. 

Tom O'brien's future is uncertain.  His team has looked befuddled at times (e.g. versus Syracuse).  His teams have become known for mediocrity, but if they're not careful, they could become known for bottom dwellers.  Lose to Rutgers and the uncertainty becomes quite certain.

Rutgers (4-5; Big East 1-3) seemed poised to make obvious they had turned the corner last week - the mark of a good team, and certainly the mark of this team is resiliency.  We have seen it time and again against the likes of Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.  We'll see it again this Saturday.

Boston College simply does not have the horses to stay with Rutgers.  How the mighty, or should I say mediocre...have fallen.  The Scarlet Knights keep their slim Bowl chances alive with a resounding win over the hated Eagles.

Rutgers 38 - Boston College 24

Matei: matt1@cep.rutgers.edu


Mike's Picks

SYRACUSE at No. 14 MIAMI (ESPN Plus+) Noon

Last week I told you that this year's version of the Miami Hurricanes was not as good as usual. The Hurricanes proved me right in losing to a decent but not great Tennessee team.

So, might the Orangemen knock off the 'Canes?

I wouldn't bet on it, if I were you.

Once the home of the diversified freeze option offense the Orangemen are down to one (and only one) offensive weapon, i.e. the running game of Walter Reyes. Reyes' heroics have catapulted the Orangemen to twelfth place nationally in the running game but Syracuse has little else to offer. Their passing game is ranked an abysmal 100th out of 117 teams playing in Div 1A.

Miami will give up embarrassing yardage to Reyes but not enough to cost them the contest. Down and out the Hurricanes still have enough talent to make them something that Syracuse is not, a top 15 team.

The oddsmakers call this one Miami by 16.

I think that's pretty close.

Miami 35 - Syracuse 21


No. 12 VIRGINIA TECH at TEMPLE 1:00 p.m.

Last week I predicted that Virginia Tech would blow out Pittsburgh.

Actually, they lost!!!

Does Temple also have a shot at beating the Hokies?


Kevin Jones could win this game playing one on eleven.

Talk about bad matchups. The Hokies are ranked 9th in the nation in rushing.

The Owls 97th in defending against the run.

Temple does have a credible passing game and Tech 56th place ranking in passing efficiency defense will allow for some points to the guys from Philly, just not enough.

Vegas calls this one Tech by 26.

I am a little more generous.

Virginia Tech 44 - Temple 21



Last week the Pitt Panthers shocked Virginia Tech on national television.

Could it be that Walt Harris has finally got all his ducks in a row?

Could it be that Harris will finally pilot his team to a break out year?

Could Harris have found that formula that will put Pitt into the national spotlight?


This game will nonetheless be an interesting matchup; almost an instant replay of the Panthers game from a week ago.

Just like last week the game will match a powerful running game (this time in the name of Quincy Wilson) against Pitt's poor run defense.

Just like last week the game will match up Pitt's excellent passing game against an opponent with a quality secondary. The Mountaineers are ranked 31st in the nation in passing efficiency defense.

Unlike last week Pitt won't be playing in friendly confines. Just the opposite, the Panther players will be lining up for rabies shots before heading down to Morgantown. Moreover, West Virginians know that their team is better than their record and are looking to prove it against a ranked opponent and become bowl eligible all at the same time.

Pittsburgh on the other hand is known to play to the level of its opponent.  Unfortunately, the Panthers won't even know what level the sky high Mountaineers are on until it is too late.

The oddsmakers have this game down as a pick 'em.

I pick West Virginia.

West Virginia 38 - Pittsburgh 28



Boston College has won eight straight games over the Knights, often by lopsided margins.

The Eagles, however, are lucky that they are headed to the ACC. Rutgers has closed the talent gap so fast that in two years they will pass BC like they are standing still. Right now, though, BC still has superior talent. That doesn't mean that they win, it just means that they should win.

What will really happen on Saturday? Here's how the matchups will go.

Boston College's Derrick Knight started out the season on fire. He was first nationally in rushing and appeared unstoppable. He was, in fact, the prefect exemplar for Tom O'Brien's version of run based, Big 10 style power football. In the last four games however Knight has rushed for 51, 43, 119 and 79 yards respectively. Not bad, but not great either.

There is no mystery to this change in Knights' fortunes. Opponents have loaded up the box to stop the BC running game.

They have succeeded.

Opponents have virtually dared BC to beat them in the air and head coach Tom O'Brien has been frustrated with his team's inability to win with the pass. This week O'Brien tabbed JUCO QB Paul Peterson to replace season long starter Quinton Porter in an effort to jump start his hamstrung offense. Peterson's a talent but the three interceptions he threw in his last outing doesn't bode well for the jump start.

Rutgers, on the other hand, is anything but hamstrung on offense. They churned out 455 yards of offense against a bowl bound Connecticut team and they could be even more high powered if leading rusher Justice Hairston can manage to get back in the lineup by game time.

So what will happen?

RU will be put to the test against a solid and rugged BC defense. The Eagles D moves well to the ball and they hit with authority.

By the same token BC's new QB won't find the going easy against the Knights defense either. Tom O'Brien's offense is simply not geared to moving the ball through the air and Schiano will load the box and force them to do just that. An inexperienced QB will only add to the Eagle's woes.

The result.

This game should be close and it should be a war.

Vegas has picked Boston College by 7, but my guess is that the Knights just plain want this game more than the Eagles.

Accordingly, I call it ...

Rutgers 24 - Boston College 21


Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net

Mike and the Big Dog's LLC





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