Saturday, September 26, 2009

Big East: Week 4 Predictions

We’re still a week away from conference play, so it’ll be another weekend to earn respect and make an impression around the nation. Three games versus the ACC should give a little extra juice and incentive for Big East fans rooting interest.

Florida State 26, South Florida 14

I wish they could play this game with Matt Grothe under center for USF–it would have been the perfect opportunity for him and the program. But he’s not, and freshman B.J, Daniels is the starter. Even though Daniels is athletic and has shown potential in practice–it just that, potential in practice. Florida State’s defense is a daunting unit with speed all around. What will keep South Florida in the game is their defensive line, led by two-time All-American George Selvie. They’ll put pressure on Seminole quarterback Christian Ponder and will be able to contain the run. But in the end, South Florida won’t have enough in the passing game to pull off the upset.

Pittsburgh 21, NC State 17

Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson is real good and is coming off back-to-back four touchdown performances. Don’t expect a third. Pittsburgh will be physical with NC State and win the battle up front. Look for a big game from senior defensive end Mick Williams. Pittsburgh linebacker freshman Dan Mason is another player to watch–the Wolfpack has had trouble blocking blitzes this season and Mason has shown glimpses of being a strong pass rusher. Freshman Dion Lewis will be the difference maker, as he has been thus far this season for the Panthers. In case you haven’t noticed, he leads the Big East in rushing with 389 yards and five touchdowns.

Louisville 32, Utah 28

I’m calling for the upset here. Utah has had trouble against the run, and if Louisville can run the ball well at Kentucky, why against the Utes? Sophomore Victor Anderson has rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns in two games for a 5.8 yards per a carry average.

Rutgers 25, Maryland 20

The Maryland Terrapins are in a tailspin. So far this season they’ve been spanked by California, needed overtime to beat James Madison and then last week they lost to Middle Tennessee State. Now, in comes Rutgers, who were blown out themselves in their season opener. The Knights have bounced back with two straight wins over cream puffs. Freshman quarterback Tom Savage is questionable for the game, but I can’t imagine the Knights not being able to move the ball against a Terps defense, that has been awful to this point. If Savage is out, Dom Natale will start.

Cincinnati 44, Fresno State 28

The scoreboard will be lighting up in this match-up. Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews is the real deal. The senior is explosive and he displayed his big play ability last week against Boise State when he rushed for 234 yards, including three long touchdown runs. Quarterback Ryan Colburn is a gunslinger, but has had trouble keeping his interceptions to a minimum. This will be a good test for the Bearcat defense, but for the offense, not so much. Tony Pike won’t have any problems picking apart the Bulldog defense. Somewhat quietly, he’s been putting up Heisman numbers.

Connecticut 37, Rhode Island 13

This is a chance for Connecticut to get their passing game going, as there’s no doubt the Huskies come out on top. It’s a special game for head coach Randy Edsall. This will be the 122nd game atop the helm at UConn, making him the longest-tenured coach in school history.

Syracuse 28, Maine 10

That’s right, the Orange will be on a winning streak–only two games but their first since 2006 nevertheless. Expect the running game to be on point, as senior Delone Carter has been strong on the ground for the 'Cuse.

Last week: 7-1; Season: 21-1

Photos Courtesy of USF Athletics Communications & Tom Ciszak Rutgers Athletics