Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Catching Up With The Big East

If you've ever been to a class reunion or a college homecoming or just ran into some old friends you haven't seen in some time you'll fully understand this week's Big East Preview.

Like those scenarios above, we haven't seen the Big East here at Productive Sweatpants for a couple weeks. And quite frankly it didn't really affect us too much. We kind of just forgot about it. But, nonetheless we'll do some standard catching up since we last visited.

Well Cincinnati and the Big East championship broke up. Zach Collaros was lost in the divorce. West Virginia got its life together and seem to be back to Prom King stature. Rutgers and Louisville got out of bad relationships, are now, bowl, eligible and are sitting atop the conference. Pitt is still Pitt. UConn is trying to be Pitt. And Syracuse and USF are still searching for themselves and their second conference win.

Got it?


Now that we're all caught up, let's talk about this week.

Big East GOTW

Pittsburgh (5-5, 3-2) @ West Virginia (7-3, 3-2) Friday, 7:00 ET ESPN/ESPN3

It's the Backyard Brawl, yawl! And it's likely the last conference Backyard Brawl for a while with Pitt going ACC and WVU going Big 12. So we're going to cherish this year.

Well, all-time Pitt is dominating the rivalry 61-39-3. But in the last ten match-ups WVU has the edge 6-4. The biggest in recent memory was ol Rich Rod's last season before heading to Michigan, where Pitt crushed the National Championship dreams of the Mountaineers. Needless to say this is a pretty bitter rivalry.

Pitt hasn't been great on the road. But honestly who knows which team is going to show up. Is it the team that put up only 10 on Rutgers or 44 on USF? It's a mystery to me. If Pitt can get Graham going with some play action for Sunseri to throw off of, who knows.

What I do know is WVU is going to need to throw the ball well in order to win. Pitt is good against the run and pretty mediocre against the pass. So Gino Smith and the 6th ranked passing attack is going to have to carry the day. And honestly I don't see why they won't at home.

The Mountaineers are 7 point favorites. But the number started out at 10. I'm not sure I'm with the shift here. Pitt has only covered on the road once this season. And it's just their 4th road game and Morgantown is pretty hostile. I think you're safe with West Virginia here. WVU 33-24.

Let's look at the rest:

Louisville (6-5, 4-2) @ USF (5-5, 1-4) Friday, 7:00 ET ESPN2/ESPN3
So what the hell has happened to USF? I don't really know either. What I do know is Charlie Strong has his kids believing they can make a BCS game. USF is a 3 point favorite, but I don't see it. Louisville in the upset  24-17.

Rutgers (8-3, 4-2) @ UConn (4-6, 2-3) Saturday, 12:00 ET ESPN2/ESPN3
It's crazy to think that a 6-5 Louisville team can beat out a 8-3 team for a BCS game. But, hey it's the Big East. Rutgers is only a 3 point fav. I'm not sure that's enough. Rutgers 27-6.

Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2) @ Syracuse (5-5, 1-4) Saturday, 12:00 ET GamePlan/ESPN3
The Bearcats offense is lost without Collaros. Which is too bad because they were quietly having a nice season. I know that the Cuse is only 1-4, but they are tough at home. Cincy is a 2.5 point fav but I can't get behind them this week. Syracuse 35-28.

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