Week 3 AAC - Louisville at Kentucky & More

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Predictions - Louisville at Kentucky & More, Part 1

- Louisville at Kentucky & More, Part 1
- Maryland at Connecticut & More, Part 2

Louisville (2-0) at Kentucky (1-1) Sept. 14, 12:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: It's the annual battle for the Governor's Cup in the commonwealth, with a couple of twists. Louisville moved up a notch to No. 7 in the polls after disposing of Eastern Kentucky, 44-7. For the Cardinals, which are dealing with a lack of national respect, handling an SEC team, any SEC team, might earn them a mini-boost in Q rating. Louisville won't get many chances to turn heads, and this is one of them … kind of. Wildcat Mark Stoops will be coaching in his first one of these heated rivalries, meaning he has a chance to turn a few in-state fans over from red to blue. Kentucky posted a much-needed rout of Miami U. following an opening day loss to Western Kentucky, providing the program with something it can build upon as it begins a rugged stretch.
Why Louisville Might Win: Kentucky is light in ready-made secondary talent. This is the week that the unit gets exposed. You can't hide a weakness in pass defense when Teddy Bridgewater is in the huddle. The future first-round pick has already thrown for nine touchdowns and 752 yards, despite finishing neither game. The junior has all kinds of talent on the outside, including TE Gerald Christian and receivers DeVante Parker and Damian Copeland. Plus, focusing on the passing game will leave the ‘Cats vulnerable to Senorise Perry and Michael Dyer on the ground.
Why Kentucky Might Win: Was last week's offensive outburst a harbinger of things to come in Lexington? The new up-tempo attack scorched the RedHawks for 675 yards, 413 of which was through the air. QB Maxwell Smith was on target all day, milking 310 yards and three touchdowns out of just 15 completions. The Louisville cornerbacks are green, and the pass rush has had a penchant for disappearing at times under head coach Charlie Strong. Hotshot offensive coordinator Neal Brown believes he has the gameplan needed to hang with the high-efficiency Louisville offense.
Who To Watch Out For: If Kentucky is to have success with the ball, someone will need to get a consistent helmet on Louisville linebackers Preston Brown and James Burgess, who will make stops in all directions.

- Though still raw, Javess Blue has the ability to become the Wildcats' most explosive receiver. Strong might be inclined to slide one of his all-star safeties, Calvin Pryor or Hakeem Smith, over for support of the corners.

- The Cards have done a job of protecting Bridgewater so far, but Kentucky brings unique challenges, such as DE Za'Darius Smith. The East Mississippi Community College transfer already has four sacks, setting the stage for a key matchup with the Louisville tackles.
What Will Happen: The Commonwealth Stadium crowd will be revved up, and Kentucky is clearly headed in the right direction under Stoops, but beating Louisville is still a tall order. Bridgewater's shadow is long, and he'll cast it upon a Wildcat secondary ill-equipped to handle the quarterback's targets. Kentucky will compete, even delivering a few money plays on offense, but it won't be enough to offset the prolific and balanced Cards' attack.
Prediction: Louisville 37 … Kentucky 21
Line: Louisville -12.5 o/u:: 59
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 3

Eastern Michigan (1-1) at Rutgers (1-1) Sept. 14, 1:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Rutgers and Eastern Michigan share similar starts to the 2013 season, achieving a two-game split at the expense of an FCS opponent. The Scarlet Knights began to shake the memory of their opening night heartbreaking loss to Fresno State with a 38-0 whitewash of Norfolk State. The victory gave the team a chance to work on the small things, such as tackling and more physicality. The Eagles fell on Saturday to Penn State, 45-7, a week after slipping past Howard.
Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: The Rutgers D remains a work-in-progress, one that the Eagles will attempt to exploit on the ground. RB Bronson Hill has a proven track record of keeping the chains moving, while QB Tyler Benz is a senior and a returning starter.
Why Rutgers Might Win: Too much offensive firepower. The Scarlet Knights have really clicked in the first two games behind the passing of Gary Nova and the running of former walk-on Paul James. James has been a revelation so far in Piscataway, leading the American in rushing.
Who To Watch Out For: The Eagles will have their hands full with Rutgers receivers Brandon Coleman and Leonte Carroo. Eastern Michigan defensive backs struggled badly last week to contain Penn State's Allen Robinson.

- In the market for defensive playmakers, Rutgers has found one in sideline-to-sideline LB Steve Longa. The Knights' man in the middle has a team-high 17 tackles to go along with a couple of forced fumbles.
What Will Happen: The Knights made the necessary Week 2 adjustments, especially on defense, to continue surging ahead in 2013. Their offensive balance will overpower an Eastern Michigan visitor that lacks the weapons to keep pace in this type of a game.
Prediction: Rutgers 40 … Eastern Michigan 10
Line: Rutgers -27 – O/U: 49
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

Fordham (2-0) at Temple (0-2) Sept. 14, 1:00, ESPN3.com

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Hilarious play on words on why we should give a hoot, but the Temple Owls need to get a victory before the season is over. Matt Rhule spent time on the New York Giants coaching staff as an assistant offensive line coach last season, but that doesn't mean squat when you do not have the stars aligned. Notre Dame thumped Temple, and Houston handled business as well. The Owls have Idaho and Army coming up, but nobody else on the schedule jumps out. The wins will not be easy to come by, and Fordham isn't exactly chopped liver for a non-FBS squad.

Why Fordham Might Win: Fordham is a team to look out for when it goes up against Patriot League competition, and it could flex its muscles a bit in this matchup. Coming off 173 yards rushing against Villanova last week, don't think for a second that the Rams cannot do the same against an Owl defense that has been gashed through two games. In fact, Temple is 118th in the country in defense, allowing 533.5 yards per game. The Irish and Cougars do not have the most talented offenses, so the points should be flowing in this matchup, thanks to dual-threat QB Michael Nebrich. Outside Nebrich, Fordham has a star wide receiver in Mark Ross, a fine player who can cause havoc for a Temple secondary.

Why Temple Might Win: Temple is listed as a three-touchdown favorite because it is not lacking an abundance of talent, even after its recent loss to Houston. QB Connor Reilly beat out Chris Coyer and former Penn State hurler Kevin Newsome, so one has to hope improvement will be made in this offense. Coyer is playing H-back and is catching some passes in the flats for an offense that needs serious help moving the chains. The last two weeks should only help the Owls prepare for this week against Fordham.

Who To Watch Out For: Temple WR Ryan Alderman. Hauling in nine passes for 130 yards thus far is not bad, but he needs to carry this offense due to the Owls' inability to strike in a hurry. Any respectable offense can grind out a long, methodical drive as well as score within a few plays. The Owls are struggling to do either, but luckily they have a few pieces to help break that mold. Alderman is a little possession receiver that should give Fordham major fits. Looking at Fordham, keep a close eye on Ross since he is a stud as well.

What Will Happen: Temple is a program that just appeared in a bowl game two seasons ago, and yet it is far away from even dreaming of such a thing. The American Athletic Conference is a major upgrade in competition, so the inability to score points should be expected. However, the battle of the trenches will be owned by the Owls and the first victory of the season should finally occur. Despite the point spread, this one very well could be closer than what the experts think.
Prediction: Temple 38 … Fordham 21
Line: Temple -22 o/u: 47
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1

UCF (2-0) at Penn State (2-0) Sept. 14, 6:00, Big Ten Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: In a week flush with can't-miss matchups, UCF-Penn State is likely to get lost in the wash. Too bad, too, because it has the potential to be a sneaky-good game, with plenty of meaning to both programs. UCF has started its debut season in the American with lopsided wins over Akron and Florida International by a combined score of 76-7. A win in Happy Valley could potentially boost the stock of the Knights, who've struggled to gain much of a national foothold. The Nittany Lions have used the backs of Syracuse and Eastern Michigan to rise up to the 2-0 mark, and they're now looking for their first 3-0 start in four years. The quarterback battle between UCF's Blake Bortles and Penn State Christian Hackenberg features kids with NFL arms and NFL futures.
Why UCF Might Win: This is the best defense that Penn State has faced in 2013. The Knights have yielded just seven points over the first two games, while the Nittany Lions have been a little jittery and inconsistent offensively. The Lions have been atrocious on third downs, converting just 2-of-26, which has heaped pressure on the rookie Hackenberg. UCF has a habit of congregating to the ball, with LB Terrance Plummer often leading the charge.
Why Penn State Might Win: UCF is at its best when it achieves offensive balance, but it won't come easily at Beaver Stadium. This is by far the toughest test so far for Bortles and RB Storm Johnson. The Lions have allowed just two offensive touchdowns, including none last week. The Knights must solve a D that features All-Big Ten-caliber performers at each level, from DaQuan Jones and Deoin Barnes up front to LB Glenn Carson and S Adrian Amos in the back seven.
Who To Watch Out For: Who can slow down Penn State WR Allen Robinson, who leads the team with 14 catches for 262 yards and two scores? Corners Jordan Ozerities and Jacoby Glenn are going to need to safety help.

- An average UCF O-line figures to have its share of problems with the Penn State front. That inside-outside combo of Jones and Barnes, respectively, will force Bortles to use his underrated foot speed.

- Young Lion corners Jordan Lucas and Trevor Williams have played real well so far, but they'll have their hands full on Saturday. UCF is very deep on the outside, with veteran receivers Rannell Hall, J.J. Worton and Breshad Perriman.

- Penn State has allowed seven sacks, the product of a young quarterback and an iffy line. Fortunately, none of the UCF starters has a sack so far in 2013.
What Will Happen: Tight, low-scoring and up for grabs in the final quarter. This promises to be a nip-and-tuck game throughout that hinges on the little things, such as field position or an untimely turnover. Penn State will hold serve at home on the strength of its defense and a clutch kick from Sam Ficken.
Prediction: Penn State 23 … UCF 21
Line: Penn State -5 – O/U: 51
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 3

- Louisville at Kentucky & More, Part 1
- Maryland at Connecticut & More, Part 2