Big East and Indy Report: Week 7


This week the Big East moves into Week 2 of conference play. West Virginia is solidifying its status as the conference favorite. Will Syracuse and Rutgers have anything to say about it later in the season?

West Virginia 20 – South Florida 6 (Thursday)

South Florida loses its second straight game in Big East play after losing to Syracuse for the first time last week.

Sophomore Geno Smith led WVU with 219 yards on 24 of 31 passing and 2 TDs.

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Geno Smith  of the West Virginia Mountaineers looks to throw a pass against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

South Florida just could not get it together offensively with only 202 total yards of offense. Dontavia Bogan put in the lone outstanding performance with 11 receptions for 98 yards.

Louisville @ Cincinnati

Cincinnati is a slight favorite away at Louisville this Friday.

Louisville had a confidence building game last week after shelling Memphis 56-0. Reality sets in with a Cincinnati team looking to salvage its slow 2-3 start.

Adam Froman is looking to win his first conference game of the year. After 4 TD passes against Memphis in the first half and an impressive performance against Oregon State, he should continue to pressure the Cincy defense.

Cincinnati is well prepared this week as running back Isaiah Pead rushed for all of his 197 yards against Miami (OH). All of those yards came in the first half.

Cincy and QB Zach Collaros have chips burning on the shoulders after being spurned by their coach. The win against Louisville will push the Bearcats back to .500.

Army @ Rutgers (@ East Rutherford, NJ)

Army is only 2 more wins away from securing its first bowl game in over a decade when it faces 3-2 Rutgers at the new Giants Stadium.

Greg Schiano continues to lie in wait for the Penn State job when Joe Paterno finally retires. He’ll be ready for this surprisingly big game against the Black Knights.

Army continues to have the 9th ranked rushing offense and continues to rack up the points with 32 points a game. Trent Steelman continues to impress and statistically ranks among the top quarterbacks in the NCAA. For backup, I implore you to read the well-written “Positive Impact Factors” articles found on our sister site inthebleachers.net.

Army may want you to “bet on black”, but the Rutgers defense should be enough to pull off the win.

Pitt at Syracuse

Syracuse comes home this week to face Pitt after a huge upset against South Florida.

Fans in upstate New York have a reason to believe in the poise of QB Mike Nassib after completing a 98 yard scoring drive in the middle of the 4th quarter.

Quarterback Tino Sunseri led a 2nd half comeback against Notre Dame last week with a rushing and passing TD. He finished 27 of 39 for 272 yards.

Syracuse only gives up 160 yards a game passing but had a weak outing against Jake Locker and Washington in Week 2.

The Carrier Dome should be as loud as it has been for a football game in years. That crowd edge should make the difference and give Syracuse the win.

SMU at Navy

The Midshipmen are at home this week against Southern Methodist.

The running game continues to impress, but one must worry about special teams due to 6’8” 270 pound DE Margus Hunt. In his second year of playing football, he has set the SMU record for 9 blocked kicks. Opponents are only 2 of 9 in FG attempts this year. Impressive more so as SMU has kept it competitive in its two losses against Texas Tech and #4 TCU.

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 05:  Quarterback Ricky Dobbs #4 of the Navy Midshipmen calls out signals to his teammates in a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Navy is at home this week and should keep squeak out a close win in what is expected to muddy fields galore along the entire eastern seaboard. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs should be able to take advantage of the conditions and lead the rushing attack for another 200 yards on the ground.

Expect a Navy win in this one.

Western Michigan @ Notre Dame
Western Michigan comes into South Bend after a big win against Ball State.

Let’s be honest. The momentum screams Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are on a 2 game winning streak after tough wins at Boston College and at home against Pitt.

Notre Dame hits the softer part of its schedule in 4 of the next 5 games, barring an upset at home against Top-10 Utah. QB Dayne Crist is coming along as a leader with a rushing and passing TD each last week against the Panthers.

Expect an easy 2 TD victory with starters pulled in the 4th Quarter to take away any risk of injury.

Will we finally see an Army-Navy game with teams that have double digit combined wins? Will Mike Nassib prove to be the best Syracuse QB since Donovan McNabb? Is Michael Bisping underrated or just way too confident in his abilities? Let me know on Twitter @prttimesouthpaw

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

Big 10


Overview:
The first weekend of College Football is in the books and it yielded decent results for the Big 10. Most of the teams did as expected and handled lesser opponents while one team had a very impressive win. Michigan was the big winner this weekend handing Connecticut a 30-10 loss while launching Denard Robinson onto the national scene. Many experts were expecting a win for Connecticut but Michigan showed their offensive fire power and came up with the win. While Michigan impressed another Big 10 team continued what seems to be long run of disappointments. Illinois went into half time with a 13-3 lead over the favorite Missouri. Things looked good as the offense was able to move the ball under new quarterback Nate Scheelhaase but things fell apart in the second half and Scheelhaase ended the game with 3 interceptions.
Stand out Players:
This week had a few unexpected players come up big and a few that we knew were going to be solid. Terrelle Pryor had an excellent game against Marshall and looked like he was very comfortable in the pocket as he continues to develop as a complete quarterback. Jon Clay rumbled for 123 yards on 17 carries and punching in 2 touchdowns. Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan had a major impact on the game against Notre Dame, compiling 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and contributing on the recorded safety.
Then there were the surprise breakout performances by Denard Robinson, Rob Bolden, and Le’Veon Bell. Robinson probably had the best weekend of any Big 10 player filling up the stats sheet with 385 total yards in Michigan’s impressive victory against Connecticut. Nearly 200 of the yards came on the ground as he looked like an unstoppable force. He truly has Michigan and College Football buzzing about what could be a bounce back year for the Wolverines. Penn State did the unthinkable and started true Freshman Rob Bolden and he didn’t disappoint. He looked calm and collected as he went 20-29 for 229 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. The fans in Happy Valley are very excited about this youngster and are expecting big things from him this year. Le’Veon Bell filled in for the injured Larry Caper and had an impressive debut. He rushed for 144 yards on 10 carries and 2 touchdowns. He looks like he will be the big play threat out of the Michigan State backfield.
Looking Ahead:
Next weekend is going to be statement weekend for the Big 10 as #1 Alabama, #13 Miami, and Notre Dame all come knocking. The top game has to be the Alabama vs. Penn State game as the Lions travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the defending National Champs. Alabama is going to be a heavy favorite but maybe the Freshman Bolden can pull off the unthinkable. Either way it should be an interesting game as two of the most storied schools battle it out. A very close second is the match-up of two very talented quarterbacks in Terrelle Pryor and Jacory Harris. Miami has to travel to Ohio to take on the #2 ranked team in the nation but this team has a ton of talent and if Harris can avoid turnovers they could easily upset the Buckeyes. Another good match-up pins two more storied schools in Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Both teams are coming off of opening day wins and are hoping to rebound from a few disappointing season.
This was a quick oven heater for our upcoming podcast. Stop by Friday morning to listen to our indepth analysis on most of these topics. What are Penn State’s chances to pull off the upset? Can Michigan’s secondary handle the Notre Dame offensive attack? Who’s the better quarterback, Terrelle Pryor or Jacory Harris?
Written by Jon Dove @NFLMocks on Twitter

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