Fun Friday – Big East Predictions

Fun Friday – Big East Predictions

The Big East is starting to take shape as a few teams are separating themselves from the pack. The CuseNation.com staff gives their predictions on this week's action.

Current Standings

Dan Tortora: 19-6

Mike McAllister: 18-7

John Garcia Jr: 14-11

Pittsburgh at Connecticut

Dan Tortora: Pittsburgh is coming off of a 3OT loss to the 3rd-ranked team in the nation, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Though the Panthers have been a Jekyll and Hyde-type team this season, they have a fire that has been burning since they failed to attain a victory over the Irish despite pushing them well into extra time. The Huskies will have to prepare for the Panthers to take that loss out on them and they simply do not have enough offense to contend and their defense, which was supposed to be their strongpoint, has already been exposed to have holes by teams like Syracuse. Pittsburgh wins, 38-10.

Mike McAllister: Connecticut's offense is very one dimensional, and their defense is not as good as their stats suggest. Pittsburgh's running game continues to be explosive as Ray Graham is close to 100%. The Huskies stay close early, but the Panthers pull away late. Pittsburgh 30 Connecticut 13

John Garcia Jr: The running back bowl will go to UConn after Pitt squandered all of its big lead to Notre Dame last weekend. The near upset of the year (maybe) had to take plenty out of Pitt, and Lyle McCombs and company will take advantage at home, 21-13.

Cincinnati at Temple

Dan Tortora: Temple will have to learn how to condense the run quickly in this game. They have allowed a 100-yard rusher in each of their last three games. Before than, they prevented a 100-yard rusher, but still allowed opposing rushing attacks to surpass the 100-yard mark. Cincinnati quarterbacks Munchie Legaux and Jordan Luallen along with rusher George Winn will not make it any easier. The Owls can run the ball, too, and try to match the Bearcats pound for pound, but ultimately, the Bearcats have more talent and will win, 27-21.

Mike McAllister: Cincinnati is coming off a much needed win and will continue to ride that momentum. They are better than Temple at nearly every position, and their defense will shut down a Temple offense that struggles throwing the ball. Cincinnati 27 Temple 14

John Garcia Jr: Montel Harris will keep Temple in it all the way, but George Winn is about as hot as it gets right now and he will win the running back duel. Cincy rides his momentum to a 28-27 thrill-ride finish despite subpar QB play.

Louisville at Syracuse

Dan Tortora: It will be Senior Day for the Orange where the likes of left tackle Justin Pugh, wide receiver Alec Lemon, and quarterback Ryan Nassib will be playing for their last time in the Carrier Dome wearing blue and orange. This coupled with the Cardinals coming in undefeated makes the Orange ripe for an upset.

But, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be the third of three straight dual-threat quarterbacks Syracuse has faced and on the deep ball, even Orange head coach Doug Marrone admitted that no one has been better that Syracuse has faced up to this point than Bridgewater at getting the ball downfield.

Though the stats do not always show it, Bridgewater can move. Add that to his arm strength and the fact that he has two running backs capable of carrying the load alone and the Orange upsetting the Cardinals just does not look promising. Louisville wins, 42-21.

Mike McAllister: Many have put Louisville on upset alert this week, and with good reason. While they are clearly the best team in the Big East, they are not a strong top-10 team. On senior day, the Orange play desperate. They correct the penalties and turnovers and put together a solid performance all around. Teddy Bridgewater gives Syracuse problems, but the Cardinals can't stop Ryan Nassib and company. Jerome Smith has another 100-yard day as he approaches 1,000 for the season. In the annual Doug Marrone upset, Syracuse wins. Syracuse 34 Louisville 24

John Garcia Jr: Syracuse had chance after chance against Cincy last week, but couldn't close the gap. Penalties and turnovers were the key reason why, so SU shows more discipline against the mighty Teddy Bridgewater - but it won't be enough. Eli Rogers has a big day against Ri'Shard Anderson, who has played well of late, to lead UofL to 10-0. Cards 31, Orange 28.

Army at Rutgers

Dan Tortora: Rutgers comes into this game off of a loss to an unranked team in Kent State that when you looked at the schedule did not appear to be a threat. This loss should humble the formerly undefeated Scarlet Knights when they take on a 2-7 Army squad this week. Playing in front of their home crowd for the second straight week, they will not want to disappoint them again and have little reason to with the Black Knights of Army giving up 30 or more points in seven of their nine games. Rutgers does sputter in their offense but they have the talent, most notably running back Jawan Jamison, to take advantage of what Army typically allows. However, this will be closer than Rutgers' fans will probably want it with the home team winning the "Battle of the Knight" in the daytime, 23-14. (Note: Jamison is on alert to meet and/or surpass 1,000 yards rushing for the season in this game).

Mike McAllister: Rutgers is much more talented than Army, and their strong defense will shut down Army's rushing attack. Gary Nova will make enough plays with his arm, and Jawan Jamison will have a huge performance. Rutgers 41 Army 10

John Garcia Jr: Army will challenge Rutgers' discipline with their complex running game, but the Scarlet Knights are way too physical to let this one get to the fourth quarter. Gary Nova has a big day in a 37-17 blowout.

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