2010 Big East Fearless Picks - Nov 13 Pitt-CT
Pitt RB Dion Lewis
Pitt RB Dion Lewis
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 10, 2010


Fearless Predictions for every Big East game, Nov. 13

2010 Big East Fearless Predictions

Week 11 ... Nov. 13 Games

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

Big East Fearless Predictions 
- Nov. 6 | Oct. 30 | 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: 40-12   ATS: 21-20-2 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Pittsburgh (5-3) at Connecticut (4-4) Nov. 11, 7:30 ET, ESPN

Here's The Deal … It's the home stretch of the 2010 season, and Pittsburgh is the last remaining Big East team without a conference loss. It's been an odd year for the Panthers, which began it as the favorite, stumbled to a 2-3 start, but have rallied to three straight comfortable wins. Anything less than a BCS bowl game will be seen as a disappointment, making each of the next four games crucial for Dave Wannstedt & Co. Connecticut's campaign hasn't exactly been smooth sailing either. The Huskies have been up-and-down, the product of on-field and off-field problems, yet were able to rally when it was least expected. Given up for dead after getting blanked by Louisville, they stunned ranked West Virginia, 16-13, in overtime two weeks ago. As recently as last fall, this program proved it could rally late and overcome adversity under Randy Edsall.
Why Pittsburgh Might Win: During the winning streak, the offense has executed far better than it did in September. The development of QB Tino Sunseri and the health of RB Dion Lewis have been key factors. The sophomore has thrown seven touchdown passes and just one pick, spreading the ball around to big receivers Jonathan Baldwin, Mike Shanahan, and Devin Street. Connecticut has had gaffes in run defense, which Lewis and Ray Graham will look to exploit. The Panthers, on the other hand, are ranked in the top 10 in run defense, a concern for a Husky team that doesn't have much of a backup plan from its low-voltage passing game.
Why Connecticut Might Win: Although it'll be a little tougher to navigate the Pitt defense, RB Jordan Todman will get his yards. He always seems to, averaging over 136 a game as the focal point of this attack. The Huskies will enjoy an edge at the point of attack when the Panthers have the ball. While Pitt's blocking has left a lot to be desired, Connecticut features one of the league's quickest and most active front sevens. Between Twyon Martin and Trevardo Williams up front and Sio Moore and Lawrence Wilson at linebacker, the Panthers will have a difficult time moving the ball beyond the first line of defense.
What To Watch Out For: There could be a No. 91 sighting in East Hartford Thursday night. Pittsburgh has been without its best defensive player, Greg Romeus, for all but the opener, but he's back in pads and hoping to play this week. A ferocious pass-rusher on the opposite side of Jabaal Sheard, he had back surgery in September and has been rehabbing ever since. If he can quickly get into shape, it'll provide a huge lift to a defense that's gotten accustomed to not having him around.
What Will Happen: Bank on a typical Big East game in November that's physical, low-scoring, and competitive right down to waning moments. The difference in this one will be the balance and superior weapons that Pittsburgh possesses on offense. The Huskies have Todman, but the Panthers have multiple quality backs and a quarterback who'll out play Zach Frazer. It'll be the difference in a game where points and big plays come at a premium.
CFN Prediction: Pittsburgh 26 … Connecticut 17 … Line: Pitt -5.5
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 3
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South Florida (5-3) at Louisville (5-4) Nov. 13, 12:00 ET, ESPNU

Here's The Deal … No, it's not going to resonate outside the Big East, but this week's game in Kentucky will hold significant relevance to South Florida and Louisville. In a rebuilding year when very little was expected, both have a chance to become bowl eligible on Saturday afternoon. The postseason is particularly tantalizing for the Cardinals, who haven't bowled since 2006 and are coming off a miserable 4-8 campaign. They just got done upsetting Syracuse for their first league road win in three years, and can really step up Charlie Strong's timetable for success by getting to 6-4. The Bulls have won back-to-back games for the second time this fall, beating Cincinnati and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knight win last Wednesday was particularly rewarding because they battled from a deficit on three separate occasions, pulling it out in the fourth quarter.
Why South Florida Might Win: The Bulls continue to play well defensively, getting outstanding play from the front seven. DE Craig Marshall and DT Terrell McClain are veterans and linebackers Jacquian Williams, Sam Barrington, and DeDe Lattimore have the speed and range to be disruptive all over the field. South Florida is No. 27 nationally in run defense, a concern for a Louisville team that is ground-oriented and had to play last week without top back Bilal Powell, who had swelling on his knee. The offense has shown some life lately, getting improved play from QB B.J. Daniels and RB Mo Plancher.
Why Louisville Might Win: Hey, the Cardinals just beat a hot Syracuse D without Powell or QB Adam Froman, and both are hoping to be available this weekend. While South Florida has a solid D-line, Louisville will counter with a physical, veteran line of its own opened holes for Victor Anderson and Jeremy Wright, and protected QB Justin Burke. The no-name defense is fundamentally sound, allowing 40 points over the last three games and ranking 19th nationally in total D. Daniels has been sporadic throughout the year, and will have to keep an eye out for LB Daniel Brown and DE Rodney Gnat.
What To Watch Out For: The health of Froman and particularly Powell will be a hot topic around the ‘Ville right up until kickoff. While both were scratches in the Carrier Dome, it's not as if either injury was so severe that a quick return had to be ruled out. In the meantime, Burke was efficient, throwing for two scores without a pick, and Wright earned Big East Offensive Player of the Week for his 98 yards and two scores on the ground. The Cards have proven they can with a backup-laden backfield, but would prefer having the regulars back in the fold.
What Will Happen: Strong has Louisville playing with confidence, especially along the two lines. Plus, when the temperature drops, South Florida tends to struggle outside of Tampa. The Cards will cause problems for the Bulls offense, forcing Daniels into turnovers. On offense, they'll lean on a suddenly deeper stable of backs to move the sticks and wear down the USF defense.
CFN Prediction: Louisville 24 … South Florida 19 … Line: Louisville -1.5
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 3
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Cincinnati (3-5) at West Virginia (5-3) Nov. 13, 12:00 ET, ESPN3.com

Here's The Deal … West Virginia has had a week off to process crushing defeats to Syracuse and Connecticut, and plot a strategy for success over the next month. Head coach Bill Stewart spent the bye week breaking down every aspect of the program, especially the offense, hoping to build it back up in November. While the 16-13 overtime loss in East Hartford knocked the Mountaineers clear out of Top 25 contention, there's still a glimmer of hope for a Big East title. Turning that hope into reality requires running the table and getting some help along the way. Cincinnati, too, heads into Week 11 looking to snap a two-game losing streak. It turns out that the Bearcats' brief resurgence had more to do with the level of the competition than anything else. A postseason game now in serious jeopardy, they've fallen to South Florida and Syracuse, getting thoroughly out classed by the Orange, 31-7.
Why Cincinnati Might Win: If QB Zach Collaros can make it back from a knee injury, great. If not, Chazz Anderson is an experienced player, with a nice collection of talent surrounding him. Between RB Isaiah Pead and receivers Armon Binns and D.J. Woods, the Bearcats remain capable of big plays and gaudy numbers. And the way West Virginia has been moving the ball, it's not as if an eruption will be needed. The Mountaineers have been sloppy with the ball, impotent in the red zone, and have failed to produce more than 20 points in four of the last five games.
Why West Virginia Might Win: Yes, the offense has been sputtering, but not because of a lack of talent. QB Geno Smith, RB Noel Devine, and WR Jock Sanders remain playmakers, who can change the tenor of a game in an instant. Success for the Mountaineers hinges on improved execution. In the meantime, the defense has been terrific, ranking in the top 5 nationally at 250 yards and 13 points allowed a game. It harbors all-star talent and speed at every level, ranging from Chris Neild at tackle, LB J.T. Thomas, and a collection of next-level players in the secondary. This is a rough spot for a Cincinnati team facing uncertainty behind center.
What To Watch Out For: It's about time for Devine to start taking over and carrying the offense. Up-and-down all year, he needs to inject some electricity into the attack, while taking pressure off Smith. With the Mountaineers staring at a crossroad in the season, he's the right player with the right collection of skills to put the offense on his back for the next month.
What Will Happen: The time away from the field will prove to be valuable for West Virginia, which will play its best game since UNLV visited almost a month ago. With the Bearcats on life support, the Mountaineers will take full advantage of the situation, shutting down their offense and moving the ball with greater efficiency and fewer mistakes than in recent weeks.
CFN Prediction: West Virginia 28 … Cincinnati 10 … Line: West Virginia -6.5
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 3
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Syracuse (6-3) at Rutgers (4-4) Nov. 13, 3:30 ET, ESPNU

Here's The Deal … Syracuse has waited six years for a bowl invitation, so what's another week? The Orange had the champagne on ice as Louisville limped into the Carrier Dome last weekend, but was unable to close the deal, falling 28-20. While there'll be two more chances to pick up that coveted seventh victory, the program knows that the noose is going to get much tighter with each passing week. Rutgers put a valiant fight in South Florida last Wednesday night, but came up short and has now lost two straight to sink back to the .500 mark. With no sure-things left on the schedule, the Scarlet Knights will need to split their final four games in order to qualify for their school-best six consecutive trip to a bowl game.
Why Syracuse Might Win: Although the defense was a bit of a letdown on Saturday, it remains the backbone of the Orange's successful season up to this point. And a major concern for a Rutgers offensive line that's allowed more sacks than any program in the FBS. Syracuse will flood the Scarlet Knights with standard pressure from ends Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich, and blitzes from linebackers Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith. The speed and attacking nature of this unit will be a tall order for true freshman QB Chas Dodd and a Scarlet Knight offense that ranks 113th in the country.
Why Rutgers Might Win: As the offense continues its quest for consistency, the defense will keep the Knights competitive in most games. The unit is yielding only 20 points a game, featuring a solid front seven that includes ends Alex Silvestro and Jonathan Freeny, and LB Antonio Lowery. Plus, Joe Lefeged is one of the toughest safeties in the country, and a physical run defender. If Rutgers can make RB Delone Carter earn his yards, Syracuse will struggle to convert on third-and-long. QB Ryan Nassib has been sub par since the FCS portion of the schedule ended.
What To Watch Out For: Provided Dodd continues to hold off Tom Savage, the Syracuse D won't have to worry much about the deep ball. For all of his success in terms of accuracy, the true freshman has limited arm strength, and has averaged just five yards an attempt over the last two games. The Orange has a quality collection of defensive backs, including CB Mike Holmes and S Phillip Thomas, who'll be able to creep up all afternoon in order to stop the running game and intermediate passes.
What Will Happen: Last week's loss to Louisville was merely a speed bump for Syracuse, which has been a road warrior all season. Having already won games in Tampa, Morgantown, and Cincinnati, the Orange will achieve bowl eligibility in Piscataway, living in the Rutgers backfield and creating short-field opportunities for Carter and the offense. The Knights will rally late, but fall short to drop a game below sea level for the first time all year.
CFN Prediction: Syracuse 23 … Rutgers 17 … Line: Syracuse -3
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 2.5
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