2010 Big East Fearless Predictions - Sept. 11
West Virginia WR Jock Sanders
West Virginia WR Jock Sanders
Posted Sep 9, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every Big East game, Sept. 11

2010 Big East Fearless Predictions

Week 2 ... Sept. 11 Games

Big East 
Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh | Rutgers
South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia

Fearless Predictions 
- Sept. 11, Part 2 
- Sept. 4 | Sept. 4, Part 2 

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South Florida (1-0) at Florida (1-0) Sept. 11, 12:00 ET, ESPN Gameplan

Here's The Deal … Florida and South Florida meet for the first time, with very different objectives. The Gators will be looking to elevate from a hideous opening day victory over Miami (OH) that raised unexpected questions about their ability to contend for an SEC and national title. After reaching a low point on offense in the Urban Meyer era and creating a season's worth of follies, Florida will be under the microscope to correct its problems before they turn into a trend. For the Bulls, this is another high-profile opportunity to steal some of the spotlight and the patronage away from the Big 3 in the Sunshine State. A year ago, they split with Florida State and Miami, stunning the ‘Noles and bowing to the ‘Canes. Although clearly playing with house money, this is a huge opportunity for first-year head coach Skip Holtz, who has a grand design for his program in the future.
Why South Florida Might Win: If Florida can only manufacture 212 total yards on the RedHawks, things don't bode well against the speed and quickness of the Bull defense. Sure, it's a rebuilt group, but there are gifted athletes at each level, with something to prove versus a coach who didn't recruit them. If the Gator line hasn't corrected its problems, South Florida linemen Terrell McClain, Craig Marshall, and David Bedford have the moves to make them pay for it. QB B.J. Daniels was sharp in his debut, accounting for three scores without a turnover and spreading the ball around. He's the kind of dual-threat that'll give any defense fits.
Why Florida Might Win: The Gators aren't just any defense. Daniels is a rising star, but he can't carry the team on his back, and his skill position talent is mediocre. The South Florida receivers versus the Florida defensive backs, which includes CB Janoris Jenkins and safeties Will Hill and Ahmad Black is a mismatch that favors the home team. The Gators will cut off passing lanes for Daniels, forcing him to try to fit the ball into tight windows. It was a rough start for QB John Brantley in his debut as Tim Tebow's successor. Naturally, it wasn't all his fault. He'll start getting back on track at the expense of a Bull secondary that's lost a lot to the NFL the last two years.
What To Watch Out For: A simple solution to Florida's offensive issues is to get the ball in the hands of RB Jeff Demps more frequently. One of the fastest players in America, he only got 12 touches, but showcased his explosiveness with a 72-yard burst that broke the game open in the fourth quarter. Figure him to be in space a little more often this weekend, allowing him to turn on the jets and explode into daylight.
What Will Happen: It's inconceivable that a Meyer-coached team can be so bad for two weeks in-a-row. Plus, G Carl Johnson returns from a suspension, T Xavier Nixon could be back from a knee injury, and many of the line's problems can be addressed with practice. Florida will be tighter on offense, even if it doesn't resemble the height of the Tebow era. The defense will take care of the rest, quieting one-trick South Florida and ruling the turnover battle.
CFN Prediction: Florida 34 … South Florida 16 … Line: Florida -15.5
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 3
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West Virginia (1-0) at Marshall (0-1) Sept. 10, 7:00 ET, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Welcome to the Friends of Coal Bowl, one of the most anticipated athletic events in the state of West Virginia each year. Although the Herd has never defeated the Mountaineers, this remains an intense rivalry that gets a rare national audience to foment more local hatred on Friday night. Marshall is obviously the hunter in this series, failing to come within two touchdowns since the game was renewed in 2006. New head coach Doc Holliday got off to a rocky start in his debut, getting schooled for 60 minutes by Ohio State, 45-7. West Virginia had few problems dispatching of Coastal Carolina, cruising to a ho-hum 31-0 victory. The Mountaineers were able to officially break the seal on sophomore Geno Smith, the quarterback representing the greatest unknown about this season's squad.
Why West Virginia Might Win: Marshall had problems with Ohio State's speed and big-play ability. Life won't get any easier against the Mountaineers this week. Noel Devine is one of the nation's most incendiary backs, and receivers Jock Sanders and Tavon Austin are explosive after the catch. If Smith can simply get the ball in the hands of his primary weapons, they'll take care of the rest. Last week's shutout was not simply a product of facing a team from the Big South. West Virginia has one of the Big East's stingiest defenses, which ought to concern a Herd attack that failed to score a point in Week 1.
Why Marshall Might Win: Intangibles will play a big part in the Herd's quest for the upset. It's home, it has more motivation than West Virginia, and the game is at night. That can energize a team for the first 15 or 20 minutes. QB Brian Anderson might have to carry Marshall the rest of the way. Although the Mountaineers are talented on the last line of defense, they also tend to jump routes and have lapses, which Anderson will have to exploit. He'll have help from a fine collection of receivers that includes Antavious Wilson, Chuck Walker, and TE Lee Smith.
What To Watch Out For: This game will be won—or lost—at the line of scrimmage. Advantage ‘Neers. West Virginia boasts an outstanding blend of big bodies, ranging from Don Barclay and Josh Jenkins on offense to Chris Neild and Scooter Berry on defense. Marshall doesn't have the size or talent to counter effectively, which will begin to wear it down at some point in the second half.
What Will Happen: Huntington will be rocking on Friday night. West Virginia is in town and it'll be the home debut of Holliday. It'll spark the Herd, but only for so long. Eventually, the Mountaineers' edge in talent will take over, pushing it to a fifth straight win in this series. They'll be especially strong at the point of attack, creating space for Devine and headaches for Anderson in the pocket.
CFN Prediction: West Virginia 30 … Marshall 17 … Line: West Virginia -13.5
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 2
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Texas Southern (0-1) at Connecticut (0-1) Sept. 11, 12:00 ET

Here's The Deal … So much was expected of Connecticut in Ann Arbor. So little was delivered. The Huskies, a trendy choice to upend Michigan, were flat and never competitive, losing 30-10. Still, it's not as if they were expected to get out of the Big House with a big win. A visit from Texas Southern affords them an opportunity to relocate their bearings and get back to even before navigating a manageable portion of the schedule. The Tigers are a mid-tier SWAC program coming off a painful 16-14 loss to rival Prairie View A&M on the opening weekend of the season. With two cracks at FBS opponents a year ago, they lost to Rutgers and Louisiana-Monroe by a combined score of 100-0.
Why Texas Southern Might Win: The Connecticut defense looked slow on Saturday, getting burned repeatedly by the speed of the Wolverines. QB Arvell Nelson, who has Big Ten ties of his own, will try to exploit the Huskies further. The one-time Iowa recruit gives Texas Southern a big, strong-armed passer, who can stretch a defense. He also has the luxury of being surrounded by a solid corps of skill position players, like backs Marcus Wright and Martin Gilbert and receivers William Osborne and Joseph Anderson.
Why Connecticut Might Win: While the Texas Southern defense has come a long way in a short period of time, it's still going to get beaten by more talented opponents. It'll struggle at the point of attack with a physical Husky line that'll give huge chunks of daylight to RB Jordan Todman. With time, this will also be an ideal opportunity for QB Zach Frazer to get back on track. Nelson can be dynamic, but can also be erratic, throwing four picks on Labor Day. He'll have to pay special attention to Scott Lutrus and Lawrence Wilson, two terrific pass defenders as linebackers.
What To Watch Out For: Frazer is one of the keys to the 2010 season for Connecticut, a concern considering his erratic start to the year. This week's home opener is a chance to build some rapport with his primary receivers, like Michael Smith, Kashif Moore, Isiah Moore, and TE Ryan Griffin. He better use his reps wisely because the Huskies need him to become one of the veteran leaders of this offense.
What Will Happen: Connecticut, like so many of its contemporaries, didn't get an opportunity for the equivalent of a scrimmage on the opening weekend of the 2010 season. It will now. The Huskies, with sights still fixed on surprising in the Big East, will use a visit from Texas Southern to recapture its confidence and solidify both lines, which were exposed in the first game of the new year.
CFN Prediction: Connecticut 45 … Texas Southern 3 … Line: No Line
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 1
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Indiana State (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1) Sept. 11, 12:00 ET

Here's The Deal … It's been just one game, but Brian Kelly is already missed in Cincinnati. The Bearcats, winners of every regular season game in 2010 and the two-time defending Big East champs, did a belly-flop in their Week 1 visit to Fresno State. Outplayed worse than the 28-14 score indicated, Cincy and new head coach Butch Jones will need to regroup in a hurry or else they'll be fighting an uphill battle all year. Indiana State is unbeaten, courtesy of a 50-point blowout. However, don't get too excited. The Sycamores whooped up on Division II St. Josephs of Indiana. This is still one of the worst of the FCS programs, going 2-54 since the beginning of 2005.
Why Indiana State Might Win: The Sycamores will be content to slow the game down and play keep-away from the Cincinnati offense. It'll help having the services of RB Darrius Gates and QB Ronnie Fouch, a transfer from Washington. Gates, who's shown flashes of brilliance in the past, opened this season with 160 yards rushing and three scores on 19 carries. The Bearcat defense, which is still adjusting to a bunch of new faces and struggling to stop the pass, figures to be cooperative.
Why Cincinnati Might Win: The Sycamore D is feeble on so many levels, but especially when it comes to stopping the run. The Bearcats will feed them a heavy dose of Isaiah Pead between the tackles, while mixing in some Zach Collaros outside the pocket as well. If Indiana State commits too much to stopping the ground game, Collaros will have all day to sit in the pocket and find one of his myriad targets, such as Armon Binns, DJ Woods, and TE Ben Guidugli. Forget about last week's results; it'll be a mismatch when Cincinnati has the ball.
What To Watch Out For: The Cincinnati offensive line was thoroughly abused by Fresno State a week ago, allowing eight sacks and keeping the up-tempo offense from operating properly. Although Indiana State won't provide an adequate test, it'll still be worth watching how this unit performs in the aftermath of the opening debacle. It could hold the key to how well the Bearcats rebound.
What Will Happen: Poor Indiana State. Cincinnati will play with something to prove and a chip on its shoulder after getting doubled up in Week 1. The Bearcats will take out all of their frustration on the lowly Sycamores, punting no more than once or twice and building an insurmountable cushion before halftime. Jones has to use this game as more than just a sparring session because dates with NC State and Oklahoma await in the coming weeks.
CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 51 … Indiana State 0 … Line: No Line
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 1
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- Sept. 11, Part 2