Staff: Week 5 Predictions

The staff makes their picks for week 5 of Big East action.

Idle: Louisville


Pittsburgh at Syracuse

Mike McAllister: Syracuse had made a lot of mistakes in the first four games. Turnovers, penalties, and poor execution have killed this team. The good news is, most of those mistakes are self-inflicted. I expect the Orange to correct some of those mistakes to get things going in the right direction. Pittsburgh will counter with their power running game. The Orange defense must step up and try to force the Panthers into become a one dimensional passing offense. Syracuse will pressure Sunseri and force a couple turnovers. They eliminate their own turnovers, and pull out a much needed victory. Syracuse 31 Pittsburgh 21

John Garcia Jr: With both teams coming off bye weeks, expect new wrinkles early on. But in the end, the Panthers running attack of Ray Graham and frosh Rushel Shell will be too much for the undersized 'Cuse linebackers to handle. Pitt 27, SU 21

Dan Tortora: Syracuse needs to establish the run also, with too much talent in the running and passing games to be wasted, like they were versus Minnesota. If the defense can continue to improve as they did in the second half of the Stony Brook match and against Minnesota, then the Orange will be able to fend off a talented Panthers' offense.

Stopping the run is crucial for Syracuse. The additions of Pugh and Flemming along with the home atmosphere on a Friday night match to restart their season will be enough for the Orange to get back on the right side of the win-loss column.

They will give up one touchdown on the ground and two through the air, but match with three touchdowns and add a field goal to defeat Pittsburgh in their Big East season opener, 24-21.Saturday

South Florida at Temple

Mike McAllister: Temple's offense has struggled to put up points, and the defense has struggled to stop either of their FBS opponents. South Florida fought hard against Florida State, and is looking to get back on the winning track. The Owls are at home, which helps, as does coming off of a bye week. But the Bulls are simply too talented. B.J. Daniels and the speed of the Bulls offense will be too much for a poor Temple defense. The Owls keep it close for a half, behind their running game, but South Florida pulls away in the second half. South Florida 34 Temple 20

John Garcia Jr: Temple's week off helps, but the Bulls are desperate for a win to snap their losing streak. B.J. Daniels wills USF to a win in a surprisingly close 31-28 affair.

Dan Tortora: Temple's only win in three contests have been to a FCS (Division I-AA) when they defeated the Villanova Wildcats in 41-10 in their first week. South Florida has not preformed that much better, also needing a victory over an FCS team to give them two wins on the season in five attempts. Against more talented teams like Rutgers and Florida State, South Florida has resided in the loss column.

In offensive yards per game and points per game, both teams are almost even. On defense, South Florida has yet to attain an interception, while Temple has two. But on the frontline, the Bulls are better than the Owls in sacking the quarterback.

South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels is questionable for the game with an ankle injury. With him not at 100%, Temple will get by, edging the Bulls slightly at 17-14.

Connecticut at Rutgers

Mike McAllister: Two of the top rushing attacks in the Big East collide as the Huskies travel to face the Scarlet Knights. Both teams have had issues throwing the ball this year, but Rutgers has more talent on the outside. Connecticut not only has a struggling quarterback, but their receivers are also average at best. Rutgers will use their excellent defense that has yielded fewer than 13 points per game to stifle the Huskies one dimensional offense which ranks 95th in the country in scoring. Rutgers wins in a route. Rutgers 31 Connecticut 13

John Garcia Jr: Two of the more physical teams in the league will aim to run the ball all afternoon, but the home-town Scarlet Knights will prove too much coming off of a bye week. RU holds its top 25 ranking behind another 100-yard day from Jawan Jamison on the ground, 24-14.

Dan Tortora: Rutgers has allowed fewer than two touchdowns in all but one of their four match-ups this season. They rank in the top 10 in the nation in points given per game. With UConn coming into town in this Big East "Battle of the Northeast", the Scarlet Knights, led by quarterback Gary Nova will put enough forward on their offense, if the frontline can protect him from UConn's pass rush, to compliment their defense. Rutgers extends to 5-0, 34-24.

Miami (Oh.) at Cincinnati

Mike McAllister: Cincinnati was a surprise team in the Big East last season. This year, they have taken another step forward. The defense is playing well, and quarterback Munchie Legaux has been better than expected. George Winn has been solid replacing Isaiah Peade, averaging over six yards per carry. The Bearcats have too much talent for a Miami team that ranks 106th in points allowed. The Redhawks will move the ball some, but ultimately Cincy is too much. Cincinnati 38 Miami 10

John Garcia Jr: The Bearcats have been firing on all cylinders of late, and the Redhawks will be the next notch on the belt. Cincy moves to 6-0 with ease, 34-13.

Dan Tortora: Cincinnati faced a tougher opponent last week in Virginia Tech and still came away with the victory. Though Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux struggled with his completions, 19 of 42, he stayed in the game and helped guide his team into victory, scoring all three of his touchdowns in the second half, the final coming in the closing seconds due to his leadership on the last offensive drive. The Bearcats gain another and stay unbeaten at 4-0, defeating Miami (OH) in this match-up, 35-24.

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