Fun Thursday: Big East Predictions

The regular season is coming to a close, but there is still some positioning to do in the Big East standings. The staff gives their predictions on this week's action.

Current Standings

Dan Tortora: 24-9

Mike McAllister: 23-10

John Garcia Jr: 19-14

Syracuse at Temple

Dan Tortora: Syracuse is coming off two respectable wins while Temple just saw their best rushing outing of the season last week, with running back Montel Harris running for 351 yards and crossing the threshold into the end zone on seven separate occasions.

The key to an Orange win, then, is to stunt the run, but they will have to account for quarterback Chris Coyer, who also is successful with his feet.

Despite Temple's strong performance on the ground last week, then tend to struggle against any opponent with the potential of going bowling. Syracuse is one of those teams. The Orange bring too much into this game for the Owls to handle, emerging victorious, 34-21.

Mike McAllister: Coming off two huge victories to make the Orange bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons, Syracuse will feel no pressure in this one. They are more talented on both sides of the ball than the Owls. The one dimensional Temple offense will struggle to pass the ball, and Syracuse will limit reigning Big East Offensive Player of the Week Montel Harris just enough. Ryan Nassib and Jerome Smith both have big days as the Orange win their third straight and fifth in their last six games. Syracuse 41 Temple 17

John Garcia Jr: Yes, Montel Harris is a fantastic running back that can do damage against anybody. No, it won't be enough to offset Syracuse's blazing hot offense. Temples' D has given up 30-plus in five straight weeks, so Ryan Nassib and company will most certainly make it six straight. The Orange cap a winning regular season with a comfortable win, 38-17.

South Florida at Cincinnati

Dan Tortora: This match-up pits two more than capable double-threat quarterbacks against one another. Both can spark their offenses at any time, but the Bearcats are fighting for the highest bowl placement, while the Bulls are just trying to end their season on a high note. Bearcats win, 24-17.

Mike McAllister: Cincinnati is coming off an abysmal offensive performance, but will bounce back against a South Florida squad that is injured and ready for the season to be over. The Bulls offense without B.J. Daniels struggles against the Bearcats defense, and George Winn has a big day on the ground. Cincinnati 38 South Florida 20

John Garcia Jr: Quarterback play should be solid on paper, but we've said that all year for two teams that lack consistency at the position. Whether it be health, production, or the combination of both - the Bulls and Bearcats often underachieved in 2012. This one, nearly by default, will come down to defense, and Cincy is far and away the better unit. UC wins an ugly one, 21-13.

Connecticut at Louisville

Dan Tortora: UConn is competing to stay out of last place, while Louisviile is looking to win and have Rutgers lose so they can gain the top spot in the Big East Conference and, thus, a BCS bowl bid…Say that three times fast.

The Huskies are coming off a respectable victory after taking down a Pittsburgh opponent that has hung with the upper echelon of college football. But, with the Cardinals not playing a game since their loss to the Orange, they will be looking to take it out on someone, and UConn does not have enough offense to compete. Louisville wins handily, 35-10.

Mike McAllister: This contest matches up the most talented team in the Big East with the least talented team in the Big East. Louisville comes out eager to make a statement that their blowout loss to Syracuse was a fluke. Teddy Bridgewater is fantastic yet again as the Cardinals win going away. Louisville 34 Connecticut 10

John Garcia Jr: Louisville was taken by surprise by Syracuse, but it won't happen again on senior day. Sophomore Teddy Bridgewater will light up the Kentucky sky in a game of unfortunate timing for the Huskies. UConn has some weapons on both sides of the ball, especially on defense, but it simply won't be enough to Bridgewater and Eli Rogers. Cardinals get back on track before their bowl game, 31-20.

Rutgers at Pittsburgh

Dan Tortora: This is an interesting match-up in that Rutgers is first in the conference and Pittsburgh is competing to stay out of last place, but yet, the Panthers play well against ranked teams and the Scarlet Knights are 18th in the BCS standings. Both squads are pretty evenly matched in the running game, but Pittsburgh has attained more yards on averaged through the air for a more balanced attack.

The true test will be if Rutgers can continue their strong defensive presence; they give up an average of 12.4 points per game, good for fourth in the nation.

When the smoke clears from this contest, Pittsburgh will have given Louisville an opportunity to win the Big East, with the Panthers doing just enough on a 13-10 win.

Mike McAllister: Rutgers comes in controlling its own destiny for a BCS bowl game and a conference championship. This game doesn't mean much towards that, however, as they get ready for their showdown with Louisville next week. Looking ahead, they slip as a desperate Pittsburgh team plays well needing to win its last two to become bowl eligible. Ray Graham has a nice day for the Panthers and Tino Sunseri doesn't make the big mistake. The Scarlet Knights again struggle to score, and fall in a classic trap game. Pittsburgh 20 Rutgers 16

John Garcia Jr: Rutgers, fresh off of their move to the Big Ten, has too much going for them to lose to the bipolar Pitt Panthers right? Wrong, Ray Graham will remind a tough defense why he is an NFL back with over 125 yards in leading Pitt to its final Big East win before departing - along with 'Cuse - for the ACC. Panthers 20, Rutgers 17.

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