2010 Big East Fearless Picks - Oct. 2
Connecticut RB D.J. Shoemate
Connecticut RB D.J. Shoemate
Posted Sep 29, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every Big East game, Oct. 2

2010 Big East Fearless Predictions

Week 5 ... Oct. 2 Games

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

Big East Fearless Predictions 
- Sept. 25 | Sept. 18 | Sept. 11 | Sept. 4 

- More College Football Picks (and NFL, too)

CFN Big East Predictions: SU: 25-3   ATS: 12-6-1

- Oct. 2, Part 2 (FAU-USF) 


Vanderbilt (1-2) at Connecticut (2-2) Oct. 2, 12:00 ET, ESPN3.com

Here's The Deal … It took a halftime tirade and a change at quarterback from Randy Edsall for Connecticut to finally shake Buffalo and roll to a 45-21 victory. It came just in the nick of time, too, for a Husky team that was in danger of falling to 1-3 following ugly losses at Michigan and Temple. If it can use that second half as a rallying point, there's still more than enough time to turn this season into a positive one in East Hartford. Vanderbilt is coming out of its only bye week of the year on a high note, courtesy of its 28-14 upset at Ole Miss that snapped a 10-game losing streak in SEC play. While it's going to be an uphill climb for Robbie Caldwell in his first season on the job, the coach's upbeat, positive attitude has started to resonate with his commodores.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Historically, when the Commodores can run the ball, their odds of winning spike dramatically. So far, so good. Sacks aside, they're averaging well over five yards a carry, getting steady output from Warren Norman and Zac Stacy. On defense, the Casey Hayward-led secondary is capable of short-circuiting Connecticut's recent prosperity through the air. Vanderbilt has gone almost nine consecutive quarters without yielding a touchdown pass, and won't have much trouble containing the inconsistent Husky receivers. Against solid competition, Vandy is only allowing 21 points a game.
Why Connecticut Might Win: The new Husky backfield provided a spark that the offense was desperately seeking. Behind the passing of Cody Endres and running of Robbie Frey, Connecticut exploded for 31 points. Endres is now a lock to be behind center, and at worst, Frey will be the backup to Jordan Todman if he's able to return from an arm injury. The Huskies can be ornery on defense, especially when it's able to press up linebackers Lawrence Wilson and Sio Moore to stop the run. Vanderbilt QB Larry Smith has thrown just one touchdown pass this fall, as the leader of one of the nation's weakest passing attacks.
What To Watch Out For: Endres was terrific coming out of the bullpen, but how does he handle the starting role? It's a completely different assignment, with greater pressure and expectations. He'll also face a much tougher challenge against a Vanderbilt defensive backfield that's already shut out a pair of SEC quarterbacks, Jeremiah Masoli and Jordan Jefferson.
What Will Happen: Crisp execution, especially on offense, will come at a premium at Rentschler Field. Neither team will get the attacks rolling, making for a tight defensive struggle that hinges on the play of special teams. In other words, the kickers, Vandy's Ryan Fowler and Connecticut's Dave Teggart, will take center stage. The new attitude that Endres brings to the huddle will also help, sparking the Huskies to a hard-fought and pivotal second straight victory.
CFN Prediction: Connecticut 23 … Vanderbilt 16 … 5Dimes.com Line: Connecticut -7.5
Must See Rating: Katy Perry on Sesame Street - 5 … Eastbound & Down - 1 … 2
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Tulane (1-2) at Rutgers (2-1) Oct. 2, 2:00 ET

Here's The Deal … The shoddy play that didn't cost Rutgers versus Norfolk State and Florida International did it in against visiting North Carolina. Even facing a depleted Tar Heel team couldn't get the Scarlet Knights on track, adding to the growing feeling that this could be Greg Schiano's worst year in Piscataway in a long time. Adding insult to, well, injury, erratic QB Tom Savage is nursing sore ribs, which could force true freshman Chas Dodd into the lineup. Since opening with a win over Southeastern Louisiana, Tulane has lost back-to-back games to Ole Miss and Houston. The Green Wave showed no quit in last week's loss to the Cougars, but the parade of defeats has begun, much the way it has in every season since Bob Toledo arrived four years ago.
Why Tulane Might Win: The way Rutgers is performing on offense, ranking 112th nationally against poor competition, it won't take many points for the Green Wave to get out of New Jersey with a win this Saturday. Plus, the defense showed a little life a week ago, collecting a season-high 11 tackles for loss and five sacks. If they can pressure that leaky Scarlet Knight offensive line with a combination of DE Dezman Moses, DT Justin Adams, and LB Trent Mackey, it's going to be another long afternoon for the host's quarterbacks.
Why Rutgers Might Win: The Knights have been horrid on offense, but the Green Wave hasn't been much better. The line, in particular, has been abysmal and is going to get whipped up front by Scott Vallone, Alex Silvestro, and Jonathan Freeny. Rutgers has yet to allow more than 17 points in a game, and has been especially tough against the run. On offense, expect to see a heavy dose of Jordan Thomas and Joe Martinek, as the Knights attempt to leverage their size advantage in the trenches and take some of the heat away from the quarterbacks.
What To Watch Out For: Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu better get his rest on Friday nights because he'll continue to be the focal point of the offense going forward. He's the one playmaker the program has access to, which means Tulane is going to get a heavy dose of No. 6 running routes and taking direct snaps in the wildcat package. Especially if Savage can't go, Sanu will be behind center a lot this weekend.
What Will Happen: While there are no sure-things at Rutgers these days, a visit from Tulane will be an antidote for its recent struggles. The passing attack will continue to sputter, but the ground game will get a lift from Sanu, Thomas, and Martinek, if his ankle injury doesn't flare up. The Knights will keep the Green Wave offense in check, while giving their own offense a couple of short field chances with turnovers.
CFN Prediction: Rutgers 27 … Tulane 13 … 5Dimes.com Line: Rutgers -14.5
Must See Rating: Katy Perry on Sesame Street - 5 … Eastbound & Down - 1 … 2
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Florida International (0-3) at Pittsburgh (1-2) Oct. 2, 3:30 ET

Here's The Deal … The heavy favorite to win the Big East before the season began, Pitt is already on life support after just three games. In the Panthers' two nationally televised Thursday night games, they fell to Utah in overtime and were completely embarrassed by Miami a week ago. This time around, they get a visit from a Florida team that's closer to its speed, needing to right the ship before it sinks further into the deep end of the pool. One thing is certain about Florida International—it does not back down from a fight. For the fourth straight week, the Golden Panthers will be facing a team from an AQ conference, playing surprisingly well against Rutgers, Texas A&M, and Maryland. After three moral victories and close calls, Mario Cristobal would love to bag a breakthrough win before the start of Sun Belt play.
Why Florida International Might Win: The Golden Panthers showed a lot of fire on defense in September, peaking with six sacks and four interceptions two weeks ago in College Station. Out of the back seven, LB Toronto Smith, FS Jonathan Cyprien, and star Anthony Gaitor are extremely active, going from sideline-to-sideline in an effort to get their hands on the ball. Florida International's speed could cause problems for a Pittsburgh offense that's having all kinds of problems protecting the passer and moving the ball effectively.
Why Pittsburgh Might Win: For a change, the Panthers will face an opponent that they can manhandle at the point of attack. If the offensive line is looking for an opportunity to get on track, this is the time to do it. Bottled up throughout September, RB Dion Lewis ought to get the running room he needs to pick up his first 100-yard game of the year. On the other side of the ball, they'll get after error-prone QB Wesley Carroll with a steady push from linemen Jabaal Sheard, Chas Alecxih, and Brandon Lindsey. The Golden Panthers are getting nothing from the running game, which makes following Carroll's eyes substantially easier.
What To Watch Out For: Sure, the O-line deserves some of the blame for Lewis' slow start, but how do you explain Ray Graham? The sophomore has rushed for 100 yards in each of the last two games, displaying an ability to make something out of nothing and explode into the second level of the defense. Lewis is still the man, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and it's getting harder to keep No. 1 off the field.
What Will Happen: The Panthers are urgent. The Golden Panthers are exhausted. Pitt will take its frustration out on Florida International, getting the running game rolling behind Lewis and Graham, and flexing its muscles on defense. Carroll will air it out plenty, which means a lot of chances for safeties Dom DeCicco and Jarred Holley to pull down floaters.
CFN Prediction: Pittsburgh 31 … Florida International 13 … 5Dimes.com Line: Pitt -20
Must See Rating: Katy Perry on Sesame Street - 5 … Eastbound & Down - 1 … 2
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- Oct. 2, Part 2 (FAU-USF)