Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Outside Alabama: Big East GOTW

I know. I know. Who cares about anything outside the SEC this week? Well my friends there is other college football action outside the world of SEC Guy. Now I'm sure he will eloquently lay out why the rest of the college football world ceases to exist this week as the Over-Signing Bowl plays out for SEC West supremacy, but I'm here to assure you that there is life outside Tuscaloosa this week. Beside, if you show up to watch the game there's a good chance halfway through the first quarter you'll end up at St. Saben Hospital or Miles General and the game will be blacked out (you see that was a bad over-signing joke).

And one of those games is for the top spot in the Big East. Let's take a look:
Cincinnati (6-1, 2-0) @ Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-1) 7:00 ET ESPNU

So neither team is ranked (well to be fair Cincy is ranked in the Blog Poll). And one of them is .500. And, neither is West Virginia. But I think Cincy is the top team in the league and besides, WVU is a double digit favorite at home.

Pitt can really be a good team at times. Although, losing Graham was a huge for this Pitt team. I can't see them having much success on the ground against this stout Cincy run D. And Pitt will be searching for Grahams replacement but won't find him in this game. So, with Cincy's porous pass defense Sunseri's going to have to be Pitt's offense and not turn the ball over. Sunseri is a settling in to his Junior year and completing 62% of his passes. So there is always a chance.

Defensively Pitt has a tough job on it's hands: stop the run. Because with Cincy's spread offense and Collaros' ability to run they can't just focus on Pead. If Pitt has any chance in this game the defense is going to have to step up.

The Bearcats on the other hand need to remain balanced in this game. If they can keep Pitt's defense guessing the Panthers shouldn't be able to zero in on anything. Collaros is having a  pretty good season posting 257 yds per game. More impressively though is he's lowered is TD/Int ratio almost 10 percentage points. If he doesn't turn the ball over, Cincy shouldn't have a problem.

Defensively Cincy just needs to focus on Sunseri. Pitt has lost their run game. They'll look at SR RB Zach Brown, but up until last week has seen 5 carries per game. I don't see him as a huge threat. Past that it's FR RB Corey Davis who on the season has 3 rushing attempts. If I'm Cincy I pressure the hell out of Sunseri and force him into mistakes to take pressure off the secondary.

The loss of Graham is huge for Pitt on a week they needed him the most. I just think Cincy is going to be too much for the Panther's even at home. The only way I see Cincy losing this game is if they are looking ahead to WVU next week. That will truly be the game for the Big East title right there. But that's a topic for next week.

This week the line is Cincy -3 and I get that Pitt's at home but without Graham I can't see this on being that close. That said, take a look at the under 54. Cincy 35-10.

Let's look at the rest of the action:

Syracuse (5-3, 1-2) @ UConn (3-5, 1-2) 12:00 ET ESPNU
Syracuse is not good on the road. They are 1-2 straight up and 0-3 ATS. Not that UConn is doing things any better with 2-2 and 1-3 ATS home record. The line is UConn -2, but I don't know, Syracuse can throw the ball a little. I think they squeak out a road victory here. Syracuse 24-21

Louisville (4-4, 2-1) @ West Virginia (6-2, 2-1) 12:00 ET Gameplan/ESPN3
Is West Virginia vulnerable? Yes. I just don't think Louisville has enough offense to pull off the full on upset. But what I do like is a good defense that is 3-0 ATS on the road. The line is WVU -13.5 and I think the hook is going to get some folks this week. WVU 27-14.

South Florida (4-3, 0-3) @ Rutgers (5-3, 2-2) 7:00 ET ESPN3
Oh the Bulls are back on the road and the favorite. Which they have been in all their Big East games. And in all those games not only have they not covered, but they have lost out right. The line is USF -2.5 and man I just can't get behind that. Someone is breaking a ATS losing streak in this game and I'm going with the home team in an ugly game. Rutgers 24-20.

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