2010 Big East Fearless Picks - 10/30, UL-Pitt
Louisville WR Cameron Graham
Louisville WR Cameron Graham
Posted Oct 26, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every Big East game, Oct. 30

2010 Big East Fearless Predictions

Week 9 ... Oct. 30 Games

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

Big East Fearless Predictions 
- Oct. 23 | Oct. 16 | Oct. 9 | Oct. 2 | Sept. 25 | Sept. 18 | Sept. 11 | Sept. 4 

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CFN Big East Predictions: SU: 38-9   ATS: 19-17-2 


Louisville (4-3) at Pittsburgh (4-3) Oct. 30, 12:00 ET, ESPN3.com

Here's The Deal … In the mixed-up, watered-down Big East, only one team remains unbeaten in conference play, Pittsburgh. The Panthers have come full circle, beginning the year as the favorite, slipping off the radar, and then winning the last two easily to move to the head of the league pack. If they can get to a much-needed bye without stumbling this week, it's also going to give extra time for star DE Greg Romeus to return from back surgery. Louisville capped a successful three-game homestand with an impressive shutout of Connecticut, its second one this month. Now a game over .500 in Charlie Strong's first season as the head coach, the Cardinals have a chance to really raise the bar and move a giant step closer to the postseason. If they can beat the conference favorite in their building, it'll wash away many of the remnants and bad memories of the Steve Kragthorpe era.
Why Louisville Might Win: The Cardinals are running the ball and playing good defense, the ingredients of a winning program. Bilal Powell is now No. 4 nationally in rushing, providing a big-play threat and crossing the 1,000-yard threshold after only 142 carries. His play has helped take pressure off QB Adam Froman, who's managing games well and hasn't thrown a pick in almost a month. The D has shown flashes of late, improving versus the run and getting widespread support from young defensive backs Shenard Holton and Hakeem Smith.
Why Pittsburgh Might Win: The emergence of QB Tino Sunseri as a consistent distributor has been the biggest development of the month. In the two wins, he's thrown seven touchdown passes and just one interception, maximizing the myriad talents of WR Jonathan Baldwin and helping open up running lanes for Dion Lewis and Ray Graham. Finally balanced, the Panthers have now scored at least 41 points in three of the last four games. In the loss to Cincinnati two weeks ago, Louisville got carved up for 275 yards and five touchdown passes, and lacks the height to match Baldwin, Mike Shanahan ,and Devin Street.
What To Watch Out For: While it hasn't gotten as much attention as the play of Sunseri, the Pitt defense has really started to stiffen, despite enduring key injuries. It hasn't yielded more than 400 yards since the opener, and is now No. 9 nationally in sacks after collecting seven a week ago. Froman will need to sharpen his peripheral vision because Panther ends Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Lindsey have combined for 15 sacks, and can be hell on opposing tackles. What Will Happen: Pittsburgh has gotten hot at a most opportune time, clicking on offense and really clamping down on D. As resurgent as Louisville has become, it doesn't have quite enough talent to pull off this upset, especially on the road. The Panthers will continue to spread the ball around, taking advantage of their edge in size on the outside and getting close to 200 yards on the ground out of Lewis and Graham.
CFN Prediction: Pittsburgh 31 … Louisville 17 … Line: Pitt -9.5
Must See Rating: NBA Opening Night – 5 … Teen Mom -1 … 3
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West Virginia (5-2) at Connecticut (3-4) Oct. 29, 8:00 ET, ESPN2

Here's The Deal … So much for West Virginia running away and hiding in the eminently average Big East Conference. The Mountaineers opened the gate for four or five other league members with an improbable 19-14 loss to Syracuse that snapped a 12-game home winning streak and squandered the pole position. The program hasn't looked especially crisp all year, and needs to turn things around quickly before digging a deeper hole. There are still five games left, but it looks as if Connecticut has started to circle the drain. A few days after starting QB Cody Endres was booted from the program, the Huskies were unable to regroup, suffering a deflating loss to Louisville, 26-0. Unlike a year ago, when they closed with four straight wins, this group doesn't appear capable of a similar rally.
Why West Virginia Might Win: After putting up a goose egg at Louisville, Connecticut can't like its chances of moving the sticks on this Mountaineer defense. It started the game with freshman Michael Box at quarterback, but he suffered a concussion, forcing Zach Frazer off the bench. Neither played well, making life tougher on RB Jordan Todman. West Virginia has been stout all year, ranking fourth nationally in total defense and No. 6 in points allowed. It gives up very little ground, crowding the box with linebackers Anthony Leonard and JT Thomas, and safeties Terence Garvin and Robert Sands. If Todman doesn't have room, Connecticut won't have any luck extending drives.
Why Connecticut Might Win: Okay, so Connecticut is struggling to score, but it won't need many points to pull the upset. Syracuse sure didn't. West Virginia is having all kinds of problems on offense, scoring no more than 20 points in three of the last four games. The O-line has been getting whipped, a trend that'll continue in East Hartford. The Huskies have a quick front seven, led by LB Lawrence Wilson and ends Jesse Joseph and Trevardo Williams, that can get penetration and blow up plays before they develop. The Mountaineers are having problems springing Noel Devine consistently, testament to their overall problems on offense.
What To Watch Out For: West Virginia QB Geno Smith has already proven he can play at this level. Now he has to show he can rebound from the worst performance of his brief career. The sophomore was picked off three times and harassed repeatedly by the Syracuse defense, which was able to get in his face and into his head. He can make a strong statement on the road by recapturing the form he had prior to last weekend.
What Will Happen: West Virginia is coming off a bad week. Connecticut is having a bad year. The Mountaineers will recover from last Saturday's debacle against Syracuse, shutting down the feeble Husky attack and getting a bounce back, two-touchdown effort through the air from Smith. Once the visitors build a double-digit bulge, this one will already be out of reach.
CFN Prediction: West Virginia 28 … Connecticut 13 … Line: West Virginia -6.5
Must See Rating: NBA Opening Night – 5 … Teen Mom -1 … 3
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Syracuse (5-2) at Cincinnati (3-4)Oct. 30, 12:00 ET, ESPNU

Here's The Deal … It's official. Syracuse is the Big East's biggest surprise of the year, courtesy of last week's shocking upset in West Virginia and best start since 2001. While it hasn't always been a work of art, the Orange is finally playing with confidence and learning how to win close games. A breakthrough victory now in the vault, Doug Marrone has five chances to win a pair of games and land this maligned program an improbable bowl bid. In one miserable Friday night, the air went out of Cincinnati's quest for a resurgent second half of the year. Winners of two straight and back at break-even, the Bearcats got humbled at home by a mediocre South Florida team and lost QB Zach Collaros to a leg injury. With no gimmes left on the schedule, the two-time defending champs will need to rally just to become bowl eligible.
Why Syracuse Might Win: The Orange has gotten to this point with a physical style of play on both sides of the line of scrimmage. RB Delone Carter is a grinder between the tackles, who's rushed for 637 yards and can keep the Cincinnati offense off the field. The big story, though, has been a defense that's only given up more than 14 points on two occasions. The pass rush has set the tone with 19 sacks, including a season-high five in Morgantown last week. The front seven will be a handful for a creaky Bearcat O-line, attacking it with a combination of DE Chandler Jones, LB Doug Hogue, and S Shamarko Thomas.
Why Cincinnati Might Win: With or without Collaros, the Bearcats should be able to out gun a Syracuse team averaging only 15 points in three Big East games. Its win a week ago came despite generating just 246 yards and going 4-of-14 on third downs. Cincy, on the other hand, has been potent all year, leading the league in scoring and total offense. If QB Chazz Anderson gets the nod, he's an experienced junior, who'll be propped up by a spate of talented playmakers, such as RB Isaiah Pead and receivers Armon Binns and DJ Woods.
What To Watch Out For: Cincinnati has been very good against the run, yielding 106 yards a game, and very bad against the pass. Very bad. Can Ryan Nassib and dink-and-dunk Syracuse capitalize? B.J. Daniels was limping into last Friday's game, yet singed the Bearcats for 286 yards on only 13 completions. They better tighten up in a hurry, or else they're liable to make Van Chew look like the second-coming of Marvin Harrison.
What Will Happen: Syracuse has already proven it can go on the road and win as the underdog, but this is also the same team that got blitzed, 45-14, by Pitt two weeks ago. Consistency will still elude the Orange this fall. Obviously, Collaros' health is a major "X" factor that might not be addressed until the end of the week. Playing out of desperation, the Bearcats will slow down Carter and get just enough from the skill position players to deny Syracuse a third straight road win.
CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 24 … Syracuse 13 … Line: Cincinnati -5
Must See Rating: NBA Opening Night – 5 … Teen Mom -1 … 3
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