2011 CFN Big East Week 3 Roundup & Picks

Posted Sep 20, 2011

2011 CFN Big East Week 3 Staff Picks, Roundup, & More

2011 Big East Week 3

- Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh
- Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia
Big East Roundups Week 1 | Week 2


Player of the Week

West Virginia QB Geno Smith completed 36-of-49 passes for 388 yards and a score with a pick in the win over Maryland.

Three Best Games of the Week

1. at Iowa 31 … Pitt 27
2. Iowa State 24 … Connecticut 20  
3. West Virginia 37 … at Maryland 31

Big East Standings
  Conf. Overall
USF 0 0 3 0
W. Virginia 0 0 3 0
Cincinnati 0 0 2 1
Pitt 0 0 2 1
Syracuse 0 0 2 1
Conn. 0 0 1 2
Rutgers 0 0 1 1
Louisville 0 0 2 1
Players of the Week
9/3 S Jerrell Young, USF
9/10 QB B.J. Daniels, USF
9/17 QB Geno Smith, WV

Games of the Week
9/3 at Syracuse 36 … Wake Forest 29 OT 
9/10 at Vanderbilt 24 … Connecticut 21
9/17 at Iowa 31 … Pitt 27
Cincinnati ... at Cincinnati 59 … Akron 14 ... The defense was the story with three first half touchdowns, but the key was the offense going back to being the Cincinnati offense with Zach Collaros in full control. Akron's defense isn't Tennessee's but that's fine for a Bearcat attack that keeps tuning up and keeps looking impressive against the mediocre. The defense did its part with six takeaways to make the game a laugher, and the offense took advantage of every shot to make the game a brutal blowout in the first half. Up 49-0 in halftime, thanks to a pick six from Camerron Cheatham to put an exclamation point on the ugliness, this was total and complete domination for the second time in three games. Next week against NC State will be a better test, and if the offensive line can continue to play as well as it did against the Zips, there won't be any problems.

Connecticut ... Iowa State 24 … Connecticut 20 … The Huskies can't throw the ball a lick. Inefficient over the first two games, the passing attack got even worse against Iowa State with Johnny McEntee completing only 13-of-30 passes, but they went for 188 yards helped by Isiah Moore and his tremendous day, catching eight passes for 143 yards. Turnovers were a problem with three killers, and the inability to run effectively against a mediocre Iowa State defense was a big issue going forward. UConn won under Randy Edsall by running the ball on everyone, and 112 yards isn't going to cut it in a few weeks after facing Buffalo and Western Michigan.

Louisville ... Louisville 24 ... at Kentucky 17 … Will Stein did a nice job over the first few games considering he didn't get much help, but if Louisville is going to take a big leap forward, it might have to take a minor step back with Teddy Bridgewater. Stein went out with a shoulder injury, and Bridgewater stepped in and came up with a good enough game to beat the rival. He didn't push the ball down the field and he didn't take off, but he didn't make any mistakes and he came through like a veteran with two big touchdown passes. Defensively, Dexter Heyman came up with a whale of a game with 12 tackles and a big forced fumble, but the defense as a whole was good enough late to close things out. Now it's time to build off the momentum and take another step forward in two week against Marshall. 3-1 to start the season would be tremendous for a team with so many areas to improve.

... at Iowa 31 … Pitt 27 … Pitt has to put this one in the rear-view mirror in a big hurry. After struggling and sputtering against Buffalo and Maine, the offense worked in the first three quarters even though Ray Graham was being bottled up. The nation's leading rusher came up with 97 yards, and Tino Sunseri threw well, completing 23-of-33 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns, but he threw two picks and Pitt ended up losing the ball three times. The pass rush was non-existent in the final quarter and the secondary didn't have any answers, but just as bad was the offense that didn't go on any marches to help stop the momentum. With Notre Dame up next, the Panthers have to show more mental toughness than they displayed in the final ten minutes in Iowa City.

Rutgers ... Didn't Play This Week

South Florida ... at South Florida 70 ... Florida A&M 17 … This was nothing more than a scrimmage for the Bulls, but it was still good to get all the pieces rolling on the way to a 3-0 start. UTEP isn't miserable, but consider it a total shock if USF isn't 4-0 before kicking off Big East play against Pitt. B.J. Daniels too target practice, completing 21-of-31 passes for 382 yards and four scores, while Darrell Scott looked like the mega-recruit he once was for Colorado with 146 yards and three scores on 12 carries. The nine penalties were a bit much, but that's nitpicking for a game like this; the Bulls emptied the bench and didn't have any problems walking away with the breather. Now it's about being consistent. Daniels has to be a playmaker week in and week out.

Syracuse ... at USC 38 ... Syracuse 17 … Syracuse wasn't ready to win a game like this. It was there for the taking, but the offense couldn't do enough in the second half and the defense couldn't figure out how to slow down all the good Trojan receives. The pass defense is giving up yards in chunks, and considering Wake Forest and Rhode Island were the first two opponents, the secondary needs far more work. The running game hasn't shown up yet, with 73 yards against a team like USC not enough to make a dent. Ryan Nassib is having a decent year, and the passing game is efficient, but he can't do it alone. Against Toledo, Rutgers and Tulane, the Orange has a shot at a three game winning streak and a 5-1 record before facing West Virginia, but only if the offense can balance out a bit more.

West Virginia... West Virginia 37 … at Maryland 31 ... If West Virginia could ever put together a full sixty minutes, it would be deadly. The offense worked well with Geno Smith bombing away for 388 yards and a touchdown, and Tavon Austin was terrific with 11 catches for 122 yards, but things started to fizzle in the second half after getting up 34-10. The offense needed to be able to run the ball, and it didn't, and when Maryland started to make it a game again, Smith and the passing game couldn't turn it back on. The Mountaineers won't do anything against LSU's run defense, and if Smith isn't flawless, they'll have big problems. However, they'll keep pressing the ball and they'll fearlessly push the ball down the field. Consistency, though, will be the key to the upset bid.

Friday, Sept. 9

FIU 24 ... at Louisville 17
- Game Story & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Louisville 22-19 
Line: Louisville -4.5   O/U: 49

Saturday, Sept. 10

at West Virginia 55 ... Norfolk State 12
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction: West Virginia 62-10 

at Pitt 35 ... Maine 29
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction: Pittsburgh 48-10 
at South Florida 37 ... Ball State 7
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction: South Florida 37-13
Line: USF -20   O/U: 50.5  

at North Carolina 24 ... Rutgers 22
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction: North Carolina 31-13  
Line: UNC -11   O/U: 48

at Tennessee 45 ... Cincinnati 23
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction:  Tennessee 35-27
Line: Tennessee -6.5   O/U: 53
at Syracuse 21 ... Rhode Island 14
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction: Syracuse 42-13
at Vanderbilt 24 .. Connecticut 21
- Game Story, CFN Analysis, & Recap
CFN Prediction: Connecticut 27-13  
Line: Vanderbilt -2   O/U: 44