October 30, 2010 Leave a comment
I was out of the loop last week due to technical difficulties on my side since I was out at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. One of the downsides of parenthood is that your kid will at times get sick at the worst possible time. Unfortunately, I spent most of my weekend in either a hotel room or a hospital. On a positive note, my picks came up mostly flat. Who would have thought that Notre Dame would come up impotent against Navy in what was in effect a home away from home game? Who could have imagined Syracuse coming up huge defensively against a ranked West Virginia?
I hope things will come out brighter this week. We have 6 games on the slate between the Big East and the Indies. The Big East is simply one big mess where no one team can assert its dominance. One week you think Syracuse is on its way back and they get shelled by Pitt. Rutgers just catches its own bad luck.
West Virginia @ Connecticut (Friday)
West Virginia goes into Connecticut after being one of the lower profile victims of last week’s round of upsets.
Expect running back Noel Devine to pound away on the Connecticut defense to set up the pass for Geno Smith. This should be a recovery game for the Mountaineers as the Huskies were blanked last week by Louisville 26-0. Connecticut remains in flux as they are awaiting someone to step up with the departure of QB
Syracuse @ Cincinnati
Syracuse plays the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Big East. Much of that persona depends on the performance of linebacker Doug Hogue and defensive end Mikhail Marinovich. Hogue racked up his second national defensive player of the week award with his masterful performance against West Virginia. Hogue ended the game with 10 tackles, two interceptions, and 1.5 tackles for loss in the win. Marinovich had quarterback Geno Smith running for his life throughout the game. Marinovich is the son of the strength and conditioning guru, Marv, and brother to former NFL flameout Todd. He shows the aggressive nature that will serve him well at the next level. His problem is that he’s been known to get into trouble and last week during a 4th quarter drive picked up 2 facemask penalties. He dodged a bullet when a 3rd late hit penalty flag was picked up.
Cincinnati looks to recover from a 38-30 loss against South Florida. Zach Collaros put up 463 yards in passing but the Bearcats were catch-up most of the game. Three receivers put up 100 yards in receiving each, including main target, Armon Binns with 158. The Bearcat defense gave up points as soon as they could find them.
This week I expect Marinovich to push himself to the national spotlight by not giving Collaros enough time to beat the Syracuse zone defense. Expect Syracuse to win a close one here and solidify its 2nd place position in the Big East.
Louisville @ Pittsburgh
Louisville comes into Pittsburgh this week after blanking UCONN 26-0. Pitt comes into the game at 4-3, but 2-0 in the conference with big wins against Rutgers and Syracuse.
Bilal Powell has already reached the 1,000 yard mark for the season for the Cardinals. This may not be enough as inconsistency has plagued Louisville all this season.
Look for Pitt to retain sole possession of 1st place in the Big East behind the accurate passing of Tino Sunseri. At this point in the season, he has completed 67% of his passes with an average of 8 yards per attempt. Expect to see him at the next level with a team that runs a version of the West Coast offense. If Pitt can win out including games with WVU and South Florida, that buzz may become a roar. Don’t be surprised to see him in black and gold as an understudy to Big Ben within the next two years. Sunseri is a graduate of Pittsburgh Central Catholic HS, a school entrenched in yearly Top 100 HS Football rankings.
I don’t expect Pitt to have trouble this week and push closer to the Top 25…and sad to say a BCS bid.
VMI @ Army
Army is home this week. I expect an easy time with VMI, but this is the very definition of a trap game because the Air Force Academy looms next week. Trent Steelman remains “the best quarterback in the country you’ve never heard of”. The running attack should be on all cylinders and Army remains 2 wins away from its first bowl berth in over a decade. A win here does not count towards the mandatory 6.
Tulsa @ Notre Dame
Notre Dame is having difficulty becoming an elite team. After getting shelled by Navy in what was in essence a home game at the new Giants Stadium, they come back to South Bend to play a Tulsa team that has not been tested beyond a trouncing from #20 Oklahoma State. Expect Notre Dame to continue to beat teams that aren’t at the level of their personnel. Utah, Army, and USC loom ahead and Notre Dame is looking down the barrel of a 5 game losing streak if they cannot put it together here. They should, but, this may be the end of the highlights for Brian Kelly’s first season as coach.
Duke @ Navy
Ricky Dobbs leads the triple-option at home in Annapolis this week against a Duke team well on its way to becoming the doormat of the ACC once again.
Sean Renfree of Duke has put up a respectable 1700 yards of passing. His poor TD-INT ratio is a result of Duke continuing to play a less than stellar line giving up 10 sacks and -59 total yards of rushing for the QB.
Navy has the blueprint given by Army to continue the pressure on the young quarterback and run the ball into the ground.
Expect a 3 TD win for Navy this week.
Today’s preview was fueled by the pork shaped goodness of the McRib.
For those who like questions:
Do we need to put a watch on Regis Philbin after watching his beloved Fighting Irish blow another game to Navy? Will I make it to the end of the World Series without shaving my beard? Should the Big East lose its automatic BCS bid after losing BC and Miami? Let me know what you think on Twitter @prttimesouthpaw.