Big East and Indy Report: Week 6


This week, we have shifted responsibilities, but we are ready to continue to bring you the most comprehensive independent review of all the Division I games.

As for me, my newest responsibilities seem to make sense due to my own background.  I will be covering the Big East and the Independents going forward.

I actually have slight connections to both conferences.  The Holy Cross fathers from Notre Dame founded my undergraduate school in Pennsylvania.  My graduate school was originally a satellite campus for Syracuse University before it became part of the State University of New York system.

Enough about my background for one week, let’s get to the games:

 

Connecticut at Rutgers

Connecticut brings its 3-2 record to 2-2 Rutgers.

Rutgers is ranked 4th in nation in points scoring defense and has the 7th ranked rush defense.  Rutgers played tough in losses to Temple and North Carolina while Connecticut has beaten up on Buffalo, Vandy, and Texas Southern.

Connecticut is led by Junior RB Jordan Todman.  He comes into the game averaging 150 yards rushing per game in 4 appearances this year.  For his career, he has accumulated over 2,000 total yards.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Tom Savage  of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights drops back against the Norfolk State Spartans at Rutgers Stadium on September 2, 2010 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Rutgers is a +5 underdog at home, most likely due to starting QB Tom Savage being knocked out of last week’s game against Tulane.  I believe Rutgers’ bend but don’t break defense should keep things competitive enough to cover if not win outright.

Syracuse at South Florida

Syracuse comes into South Florida with matching 3-1 records.

Syracuse has a ray of hope after many years of being the doormat of the division.  After the Greg Paulus experiment, the quarterback situation has been solidified by Junior Ryan Nassib who comes into this game with a 151 QB rating.  Granted, the 3 wins have come against weak competition. 

South Florida comes into the game with an air of confidence, knowing that they have handled Syracuse in all 5 previous meetings.  Quarterback B.J. Daniels will have to deal with pressure all game long after showing a susceptibility towards mistakes after throwing 4 INT’s against Florida in Week 2.

Syracuse is playing away from home and facing its first conference test of the season.  South Florida should hold its home field and come away with a hard fought victory.

Memphis at Louisville

Louisville is a heavy favorite against 1-3 Memphis.

Memphis ranks towards the bottom in both points for and points against.

Expect an easy win for Louisville this weekend.

Army @ Tulane

Army continues its surprising run at 3-2 when it travels to Tulane this weekend.  Trent Steelman leads a rushing attack ranked 9th in the country.

This game is basically a pick ‘em, but Army will likely continue its march towards its first bowl game since 1996.

Pitt at Notre Dame

Notre Dame comes back home after getting back on track against Boston college.

Notre Dame looks better than its 2-3 record.  Both Michigan and Michigan State are ranked.  Stanford will still be in the Top 25 at the end of this year.

Pitt is led by Quarterback Tino Sunseri.  He’s completed 63% of passes this year, but looked more human against Miami and Utah.

Notre Dame should continue that positive momentum with a win this week.

 

Navy at Wake Forest

 

After a defeat last week at the hands of Air Force, Navy needs a great deal of help in order to keep the Commander-In-Chief  Trophy for this year.

Wake Forest comes into this game ranked 111th in the country in scoring defense, giving up close to 37 points a game.  Uncertainty at quarterback for Wake Forest combined with Navy’s 11th ranked rushing attack should mark a recovery for the service academy.

 

Miami (OH) at Cincinnati

Cincinnati is continuing its first season with coach Brian Kelly now coaching Notre Dame.

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 25: Zach Collaros  of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws a pass during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Quarterback Zach Collaros continues the rebuilding effort and should get back on track against Miami of Ohio.  Cincy gave Oklahoma all it could handle while Miami took a 51-3 trouncing from Mizzou.

Expect at least a 2 TD victory from Cincinnati.

West Virginia over UNLV

This game will likely get out of hand.  UNLV is without the services Phillip Payne as a result of a suspension for remarks made on Twitter.

Do you miss Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Miami as a part of the Big East?  Should Villanova and Georgetown finally step up and bring their football programs to a D-1 level?  Have you wrapped your heads around the possibility that the Army-Navy game will have legitimate bowl implications this year?  Let me know @prttimesouthpaw on Twitter

Big East Week 4 Preview


Overview: West Virginia had an impressive win against Maryland this weekend as they continue to tune up for their big game this weekend against LSU.  Maryland is coming off of a terrible season but looked decent so far this year so it was a nice win for the Mountaineers.

Connecticut and Cincinnati both looked terrible and have really hurt the credibility of the Big East.  This conference needs solid performances from all their members in order to remain relevant on a national stage.  Both teams really need to step it up for the remainder of the season!

Last but not least we have to give a big hand to Louisville for putting on a good performance against Oregon State.  As far as preseason expectations go Oregon State was suppose to contend for a Pac 10 crown as Louisville was going to be a bottom feeder.  They gave the Beavers a tough fight this weekend and Louisville fans should feel good about the direction Charlie Strong is taking that team.

Standout Players: Geno Smith of West Virginia had the best day of any Big East performer.  He lead his team to a nice victory while going 19-29 for 268 yards and a touchdown.  Smith has proven to be a good passing quarterback and looks to lead the Mountaineers against a tough LSU secondary next week.

Jordan Todman of UConn was the lone bright spot for that team as he rushed for 192 yards and 1 touchdown.  Todman is going to get lost in the shuffle if his team continues to struggle.

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 07:  Jordan Todman #23 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates with Mike Ryan #71 after running for a touchdownl against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Big East Conference game at Nippert Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Looking Ahead: The conference has two marquee match-ups this week and the outcomes will go along in determining how people perceive this conference.  The top game is #22 West Virginia @ #15 LSU in what is sure to be a great game.  I truly believe that LSU is ripe for the plucking as they shown limited abilities on offense.  Geno Smith is going to have to have a big game against a tough LSU defense that boasts NFL Mocks top rated pro prospect in Patrick Peterson.  I am predicting the upset here for the Mountaineers. The other top game will air Thursday night on ESPN as #19 Miami takes on Pitt.  Pitt desperately needs to pull off the victory here and get a quality out of conference win.  They will be counting on Dion Lewis to return to form and lead them to victory.  Miami is a very talented team and is coming off a disappoint loss to Ohio State so Pitt should expect them to be fully focused and ready to go.

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Another game that means a lot to the conference is North Carolina @ Rutgers.  UNC is still without the majority of their starting defense as they await word from the NCAA regarding their eligibility.  Rutgers has chance to pull off the win and gain some respect for the Big East.

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 12:  Tom Savage #7 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights throws a pass against the South Florida Bulls at Rutgers Stadium on November 12, 2009 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

If I was a Cincinnati fan I would hide my eyes this weekend as they take on #7 Oklahoma.  This game will not be pretty.

Written by Jon Dove @NFLMocks on Twitter

Big East


Overview:
I am sure most will agree with me when I say this was a disastrous weekend for the Big East. Three of what were considered the top teams in the conference was beaten by out of conference foes and each didn’t look at all impressive in those losses. All most all hope is lost for a national champion out of the conference as Pitt failed to pull out a victory against Utah. Connecticut looked unprepared and terrible against Michigan and there are real issues on that defense. Cincinnati looked equally as horrible as they were handled by Fresno State. All three teams have some major issues that need to be corrected in a hurry, both Cincinnati and Pitt need to stabilize their offensive lines and Connecticut needs to plug some holes on defense.
While those teams were disappointing West Virginia, South Florida, and Syracuse looked pretty good. Both West Virginia and South Florida started slow against weaker opponents but ended strong. Syracuse had a nice win against Akron and while they are a while away from contending it was nice to see them working their way back. Also don’t discount the young Rutgers team that could be a year or two away from national contention.
Stand out Players:
The best performance was that of South Florida’s quarterback BJ Daniels who threw for an accurate 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. Daniels looked in complete control all game and didn’t need to make any major plays on the run. Noel Devine had a nice game with 111 yards but he could have did more damage but it’s likely the Mountaineers are trying to save Devine for the games later down the road.
Looking Ahead:
The biggest game on the schedule is South Florida against #4 Florida. The Bulls need to travel to the Swamp and take on the perennial powerhouse Florida but there are questions surrounding the Gators. While Florida has superior talent things didn’t seem to click for them last week with new quarterback John Brantley under center. Can the young but talented Bulls pull off the upset? The rest of the conference is playing lesser opponents that they should easily handle.
This was a quick oven heater for our upcoming podcast. Stop by Friday morning to listen to our in-depth analysis on most of these topics. Can Pitt rebound from it’s opening day loss and get back into the National Title picture? How much trouble is Cincy in? Can South Florida pull off the major upset?
Written by Jon Dove @NFLMocks on Twitter

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