Big East Fearless Predictions - Week 9
Posted Oct 28, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week nine Big East games

Big East 
Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pittsburgh | Rutgers
South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia
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Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Get Tickets for These Games

How'd we do so far? SU 39-4  ATS 22-15-1

Big East Game of the Week

Syracuse (3-5) at Cincinnati (4-4), 12:00 EST, ESPN Plus, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: Enough with the moral victories.  After a couple of strong showings against ranked teams, Cincinnati finally broke through with a quality win over South Florida Sunday night bringing the program to within a pair of victories of bowl eligibility.  A post-season game and the 15 extra practices that come with it would be huge accomplishments for Mark Dantonio, however, all bets are off if the Bearcats can’t handle Syracuse at home this week.  The Orange just completed its toughest stretch of the year, losing three straight to bowl-bound Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Louisville, but never embarrassing itself in the face of superior competition.  To regain some of the momentum it enjoyed at the end of September, Syracuse needs a win this weekend.
Why Syracuse might win: The Orange D finally gets to face an offense that’s not loaded with track speed, Heisman contenders or future NFL quarterbacks.  Syracuse creates pocket pressure with linemen Jameel McClain and Tony Jenkins as well as any Big East team, which will cause problems for mistake-prone Cincy QB Dustin Grutza.  The Orange doesn’t have the offense to win high-scoring games, but won’t have to against a Bearcat offense that’s last in the league in scoring.
Why Cincinnati might win:  Dantonio’s Ohio State roots are beginning to spring up in the Queen City.  The Bearcats have begun succeeding with the same formula that’s won the Buckeyes so many games, a physical running game, solid special teams and sound defensive play.  The ground game has been superb the last month, but it’s that air-tight defense, which will give Syracuse the most fits.  Cincy has allowed just 13 points and 68 rushing yards a game over that stretch, a trend that’ll continue versus the impotent Orange.
Who to watch: Sophomore DT Trevor Anderson continues to be the catalyst of an undersized Cincinnati defensive line that’s growing up fast this year.  Anderson leads the Bearcats with 6½ tackles for loss and had a key strip Sunday night that led to a defensive touchdown.
What will happen: The Big East spotlight isn’t bright enough to reach Cincinnati, but the Bearcats are quietly weaving a better-than-expected season.  They’ll get at least 50 yards and a score from backs Greg Moore and Butler Benton and another sound defensive effort to nudge above .500.

CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 21 ... Syracuse 13 ... Line: Cincinnati -6
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...

Connecticut (3-4) at Rutgers (7-0), 8:00 EST, ESPN, Sunday, October 29
Why to watch: This just in…Rutgers is a really, really good.  The group of doubters surrounding the program dwindled dramatically shortly after the Scarlet Knights stuffed Pitt 20-10 at Heinz Field with a brutal pass rush and a great running game.  With Ray Rice growing into a legitimate Heisman contender, Rutgers has risen to No. 14 in the latest BCS rankings to become one the biggest stories of 2006.  A visit with unbeaten Louisville looms on Nov. 9, but first the Knights must dispatch of Connecticut Sunday night.  The Huskies hung with West Virginia for about 20 minutes Friday night before succumbing to the big-play ability of the Mountaineer offense.  Not long ago, the Connecticut program had caught up with Rutgers, but that now seems like a distant memory.                               
Why Connecticut might win: For Rutgers, this is a sandwich between last week’s huge road win and that Thursday night clash with the Cardinals. UConn isn’t a program that stirs emotion these days, but it could catch the Knights dead-flat.  Not much is going wrong these days for Rutgers, however, QB Mike Teel continues to be a non-factor on an offense that’s relying almost exclusively on the running game.
Why Rutgers might win: There’s a chance the Knights will suffer from a post-Pitt hangover, but don’t count on it.  The program, which is reveling in its new-found success, will use the Worldwide Leader to make a statement to the nation.  The defense has been otherworldly this fall, rising to No. 2 nationally in total defense after holding Pitt to just 236 yards and sacking Tyler Palko a season-high five times.  After Rutgers hog-ties RB Terry Caulley, it’ll be up to QB Matt Bonislawski to move the chains, which is a bad sign for the road team.
Who to watch: DT Eric Foster has become an inside force for a Rutgers defense that’s allowed just one team—Navy—to rush for than 100 yards since the opener.  In his first season as a starter, the junior has blown up opposing lines for a league-high 9½ tackles for loss and 4½ sacks.  With a strong final month of the season, Foster could get some All-America attention.
What will happen: Don’t expect Rutgers to letdown one bit.  Rice will race for 150 yards, but the defense will be the headliner shutting out the Husky attack until the fourth quarter.

CFN Prediction
: Rutgers 31 ... Connecticut 10 ... Line: Rutgers -19.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...

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