Fun Friday – Big East Predictions

It's another critical week in Big East play as the conference starts to take shape. Here are the staff predictions for Week 8.

Current staff standings

Dan Tortora: 11-1

Mike McAllister: 8-4

John Garcia Jr: 8-4

Connecticut at Syracuse

Mike McAllister: The Syracuse defense has been coming along in recent weeks. Take away the blocked field goal for a touchdown against Rutgers, and they've held four straight opponents in the teens. Now they are going up against arguably the worst defense in the Big East. The Orange defense shuts down the UConn running game, and the Huskies struggle to move the ball. The Syracuse offense comes alive a little more than in previous weeks. Syracuse gets a much needed win. Syracuse 27 Connecticut 13

John Garcia Jr: In what is an absolute must-win game for the Orange, the defense continues its hot streak on the way to shutting down a mediocre offense while Ryan Nassib engineers enough points to secure the win. SU 24, UConn 10

Dan Tortora: Both teams come into the game with strong defenses and struggling offenses, making this a low-scoring affair. Although the Orange have many weapons, they have not been utilizing their offensive strengths, while the Huskies' offensive line has not protected their quarterback Chandler Whitmer well enough, affecting the offense's overall performance. It comes down to a field goal, and Syracuse's Ross Krautman has not been reliable as of late. UConn wins, 19-16.

Rutgers at Temple

Mike McAllister: Temple has already pulled off a couple of unexpected wins in conference play. Montel Harris has been running the ball well and Chris Coyer has been taking care of the ball at quarterback. A solid Temple defense will keep them in the game for a half, but a more talented Rutgers team will pull away in the end. The Scarlet Knights will force a couple turnovers, and the offense will make enough plays behind Jawan Jamison. Rutgers 24 Temple 10

John Garcia Jr: The rich get richer as Rutgers roll to another win behind a stout defense and a safe Gary Nova. Jawan Jamison bounces back from a tough outing against Syracuse and reaches the 100-yard mark once more in a 28-7 victory.

Dan Tortora: Temple had a nice showing, coming back to defeat UConn in their last game, but Rutgers' defense is too much and their running back, Jawan Jamison, is ripe for a strong performance after being silenced for most of the game versus Syracuse. Though Temple has made some strides in their first season back in the Big East, Rutgers will prove to have too many weapons offensively and defensively. Rutgers stays undefeated, winning 30-13.

Pittsburgh at Buffalo

Mike McAllister: The Panthers are coming off of two frustrating losses, but get some relief this week. Despite being on the road, they are facing a weak Buffalo team that should provide little resistance. Look for Ray Graham and Rushel Shell to get back on track against a small Bulls defense. Pittsburgh 31 Buffalo 16

John Garcia Jr: After nearly knocking off Louisville last week, Pitt suffers a letdown against the Bulls in upstate New York. Tino Sunseri can't keep playing this well, right? Turnovers cost the Panthers in a 21-17 loss.

Dan Tortora: When both teams have played against teams ranked within the nation's top 25, Pittsburgh has either emerged with a win or with a respectable loss. Buffalo has simply lost. Pittsburgh has, however, beena little Jekyll and Hyde, but even with mistakes should have little problem with Buffalo. The Panthers' issues lie within the Big East, and a positive for them is that they will not have to worry about that conference after this season. Nor will they have to worry about the Bulls. The Panthers halt the Bulls, 43-21.

South Florida at Louisville

Mike McAllister: Before the season, some thought this could be the matchup that determines the conference champion. Now, that seems unlikely. The Bulls have struggled out of the gate and now face the most talented team in the conference. The Cardinals play better at home, and their physical defense should be able to shut down B.J. Daniels. Look for a big day from Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville 38 South Florida 20

John Garcia Jr: This one looks like it will be lopsided, but the Bulls will keep it close coming off a bye week. Still, UofL is too stout up front and Teddy Bridgewater is too efficient to fall to the lowly Bulls. Louisville 31, USF 21

Dan Tortora: South Florida has lost all but one game against bowl eligible teams this season, posting an overall record of 1-4. Louisville comes in undefeated, achieving enough offense to offset their defense allowing some games to be close. With both secondaries struggling to attain interceptions, Louisville may have the upper-hand in this game with Bulls' quarterback B.J. Daniels throwing eight this season to three thrown by the Cardinals' Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville achieves 7-0 with a 33-20 victory.

Cincinnati at Toledo

Mike McAllister: Cincinnati's defense faces a Toledo team that possesses a dynamic offense. Quarterback Terrance Owens is having a fantastic year with 1,900 yards, 12 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions while completing nearly 66% of his passes. Running back David Fluellen has been extremely productive as well, with nearly 800 yards and 9 touchdowns. Look for the Rockets to be pumped up for a Saturday night clash against a ranked opponent that's also an in-state rival. Toledo 35 Cincinnati 31

John Garcia Jr: The all-Ohio matchup favors Cincy on paper, but the Rockets will keep it close. In the end, however, it will be UC's defense that seals the deal in a 34-20 triumph.

Dan Tortora: Cincinnati is the first top 25-ranked team that Toledo will play this season. Both teams have high octane offenses, scoring close to or more than 30 points on numerous occasions. Quarterbacks on each side have double-digit touchdowns, Munchie Legaux with 11 for Cincinnati and Terrance Owens with 12 for Toledo, to three interceptions. Each team also has a strong pass rush with 16 sacks apiece this season. Therefore, this game may be closer than people think. Toledo gets their first win of the season against a ranked opponent, 21-19.

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