By CHRISTOPHER MOGOLLON
Week one in the Big East-on the slate are mostly pre-season games for the conference’s best, a new era begins for Syracuse, and two conference contenders face off on Monday in an early season battle.
Minnesota 31, Syracuse 21
Head Coach Doug Marrone and quarterback Greg Paulus make their Syracuse debuts. With the spotlight on the Carrier Dome for probably the only time this season, expect a strong effort from the Orange. Unfortunately their offensive line isn’t looking strong and if they get into a shoot-out versus Gopher quarterback Adam Weber, the ‘Cuse are in trouble. Player Spotlight: When Mike Holmes played cornerback he showed skills playing the ball as well athleticism, but he was pushed around by bigger receivers. The speedy junior makes his first start at free-safety for the Orange.
Connecticut 35, Ohio 14
Sure, opening the year on the road is always tough but there is no upset alert here. Ohio doesn’t have the athletes to win this game and aren’t exactly an intimidating MAC team. The Huskies are breaking in a new quarterback and running back, so count on a strong UConn defense to lead the way to victory. Head Coach Randy Edsall has yet to lose versus a MAC opponent (7-0).
South Florida 51, Wofford 10
The Bulls usually start of the season strong, lighting up the scoreboard against lower-level competition. It’s important that the USF receivers display ability and execution as they are a young group. Matt Grothe is likely to outscore Wofford and their wacky formations by himself—this game won’t be close.
Louisville 41, Indiana State 21
This is a good game for the quarterbacks to get in sync before the schedule gets tough for the Cardinals. Don't be surprised to see more than one quarterback, with Justin Burke getting the starting nod. Player Spotlight: Cards wide receiver Doug Beaumont is going to have a big opener—consider it the opening act for his break-out season.
Pittsburgh 28, Youngstown State 3
Anything but a blowout for Pittsburgh would be a disappointment. The Panthers are debuting two new top freshman tailbacks, Dion Lewis and Ray Graham, and both have been raved about all summer. But it’s their defense that gives this group of Penguins no chance in Pittsburgh.
West Virginia 32, Liberty 14
It might as well be the New York Liberty visiting Mountaineer Stadium—this is nothing more than a tune-up for the Mountaineers’ rematch versus East Carolina next week. Jarrett Brown begins his campaign as the new leader at WVU.
Cincinnati 26, Rutgers 23
Are you ready for some football? That’s right, some Monday Afternoon Football—Big East style. Cincinnati begins their quest to defend the conference crown but it won’t be an easy task, especially for a season opener. They’ll be relying on a completely new defense and there’s no telling how they’ll respond in a nasty environment. The Scarlet Knights offense is likely to start out slowly, breaking in a new quarterback, but the points will come—they have skill players. But in the end, it will be Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard leading the Bearcats’ late rally.
Photos Courtesy of WVU Sports Communication & UConn Athletic Communications
Friday, September 4, 2009
By CHRISTOPHER MOGOLLON