The Big East Landmine Games
The traps to watch out for
Landmine Games For Every Team
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next to impossible for a team to get
up for every game over the course of
the long season. It's easy to be
jazzed for the big rival or the top
five team, but college kids can't
remain focused enough to play razor
sharp for one game and then
maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.
the very dangerous letdown games for
each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and
the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big
rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the
team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful
loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself
arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the
same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least,
these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might
think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might
be pushed very, very hard.
- Oct. 3 at Miami University
This is a landmine because ... It's always a good
in-state battle with many of the players knowing each other. While
Cincinnati will take the game seriously, MU takes it very seriously.
Coming off a tough battle against Fresno State, and with a week off
ahead, it's possible the Bearcats could struggle to not look ahead to
the Big East road date at South Florida.
- Sept. 5 at Ohio
This is a landmine because ... Always be wary of a
season opener on the road against a team with a good coach (Frank Solich)
and dangerous quarterback (Boo Jackson). The Bobcats pushed Ohio State
last year before they imploded, but they're just good enough defensively
to provide the offensively-challenged Huskies with a big test.
- Oct. 31 vs. Arkansas State
This is a landmine because ... Corey Leonard is one of the best
all-around quarterbacks among the non-BCS ranks with great running
skills, a decent arm, and enough experience to pull off the upset.
Reggie Arnold is a great runner who'll test the Cardinal defense that'll
be coming off road games at Connecticut and Cincinnati and with West
Virginia up next.
- Sept. 12 at Buffalo
This is a landmine because ... Dave Wannstedt's teams
are always good for one disastrous early performance a season (gacking
to Bowling Green and Navy over the last two seasons). Buffalo isn't as
good as it was last year, but it has enough dangerous playmakers to come
up with a win if Pitt is sleepwalking through the first three weeks.
Sept. 19 vs. FIU
This is a landmine because ...
Rutgers' 1-5 start of last year. It could take a
while for this year's Scarlet Knight team to find itself after losing QB
Mike Teel and the stars from the passing game. FIU isn't that great, but
Mario Cristobal has put together a decent enough group of athletes to
catch Rutgers looking ahead to a showdown at Maryland.
- Oct. 24 vs. Akron
This is a landmine because ...
The Zips have a dangerous enough offense to
get hot for a stretch and make this a bit of a shootout. With the quirky
Zip defense to deal with, new SU QB Greg Paulus will have to make plays
on the move. Coming off a game against West Virginia, and an off week,
SU will have to bring its full focus to get the win.
- Oct. 3 at Syracuse.
This is a landmine because ... South Florida has
destroyed Syracuse since joining the Big East, and the trip to the
Carrier Dome is the start of the conference season. However, the game at
Florida State means everything to a Bull program looking for
Sunshine State respect, and if the game in Tallahassee doesn't go well,
it could take the entire week to start thinking about the Orange.
Oct. 10 at Syracuse
This is a landmine because ...The Mountaineers were
pushed by Syracuse last year in a 17-9 win, but that was a total
aberration. They have dominated the Orange over the years, and even
though this might be the Big East opener, it's coming off games against
Auburn and Colorado and with the in-state battle against Marshall to
follow. With a new coaching staff and new playmakers in QB Greg Paulus and the return of WR Mike Williams, Syracuse is the Big East's wild card.