Friday, September 18, 2009

Big East: Week Three Preview


If you can imagine the college football season as an academic year, then week three is like mid-term week in the first semester. This Saturday will tell us whole lot about where some Big East teams stack up against the rest of the country, and how good they could be in 2009. Let’s take a look at the syllabus and see which tests are slated for this weekend:

Philosophy: If a team plays well but doesn’t get a win, do they still get any love? After just two games there has been more optimism and attention around the Syracuse football program then there has been in the past two or three years. But the ‘Cuse are 0-2 and are not earning any bowl births with moral victories. This week they play their third straight Big Ten opponent hosting Northwestern at the Carrier Dome.

The Prediction: Syracuse 26, Northwestern 21 - Head coach Doug Marrone gets his first win. The star of the game will be senior defensive tackle Arthur Jones with his first breakout game of the season.

History: A Cincinnati football team has not played a road game against a Pac-10 opponent since 1976, a win over Arizona State. Playing a road game across the country can sometimes take a toll on a team and sway the game one way or another. This week the Bearcats play at Oregon State, and as well as the 'Cats' defense played in week one at Rutgers, they didn’t have to defend a dynamic player like Jacquizz Rodgers.

The Prediction: Cincinnati 41, Oregon State 30 – Expect to see Tony Pike early and often. The Bearcats will jump out to a fast start and never relinquish the lead. Oregon State has had some offensive line troubles, which could allow Cincinnati seniors Curtis Young and Ricardo Matthews to have big days pressuring the quarterback.

Geography: The Mountaineers have been on a groove against the SEC, representing the Big East against what is widely considered the top conference in the country. In the past four seasons they’ve gone 4-0 including a win over Auburn last year, 35-17. The game will be a test for the WVU offense playing against a very talented and athletic Tiger defense. Watch for the play quarterback Jarrett Brown, he’s athletic like Patrick White but can be the winner that White was?

The Prediction: Auburn 21, West Virginia 16 - Both of these teams are underrated and the speed alone is a reason to watch. In the end, the Tigers’ home crowed and better defensive play propels them to a win as WVU fails to capture the South.

Nautical Studies:
Pittsburgh has won comfortably in their first two games. However, the Navy triple-option can always throw a team off guard and translate into an upset. This will be the third straight year these two schools have squared-up, the road team has won each battle so far.

The Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Navy 20 - I just have a feeling that Navy will keep it close, I don’t know if it’s because the Panthers have a history of playing to their competition or the scare that the Midshipmen delivered in Columbus. For the second straight week I have high expectations for Pittsburgh receiver Jonathon Baldwin to have a big game, he will not disappoint.

Psychology: Talk about a Freudian slip-up. Last week Connecticut collapsed and lost on a safety by ways of a hold in the end zone. Can UConn recover from blowing a 10-point second-half lead to North Carolina? They’re going to have to bounce back at Baylor without their starting quarterback Zach Frazer. this is a good test for this blitz-burg defense against a star in the making—Baylor sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin III. The offense will need someone to lean on.

Prediction: Baylor 23, Connecticut 14 -
It’s another bad match-up for the Huskies. The offense has not shown that they can do anything consistently. A turnover or two lead to a couple of easy Baylor scores.

How can Louisville rebuild their program? For starters, not losing to Kentucky again. A loss would make it three wins in a row for the Wildcats, something that has not happened since the two schools starting playing regularly in 1994. How well Lexington native and Cardinal quarterback Justin Burke plays will be the key in this one. Keep this match-up on your radar: (CB) Trevard Lindley, Kentucky vs. (WR) Doug Beaumont, Louisville.

Prediction: Kentucky 27, Louisville 13 -
A real underrated rivalry game. I’m seeing big things for quarterback Mike Hartline.

Recess: It will be walk in the park for Rutgers and South Florida. Rutgers tries to make it two in row hosting Sun Belt foe Florida International, while the Bulls play Charleston-Southern. Remember them? They lost to Florida 62-3.

Prediction: South Florida 48, Charleston Southern 6 - Start planning for next week and the team’s trip to Tallahassee.

Prediction: Rutgers 33, Florida International 14 -
Next week at Maryland is a road game that could swing the Scarlet Knights’ season. This is will be just a tune-up for the Terps.

Last week: 7-0; Season: 14-0

Photo Courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics & University of Pittsburgh