By: Eric Finelli
Cincinnati @ #16 Louisville, Friday 8pm on ESPN
A great Big East matchup to kick off the weekend, the Cincinnati Bearcats travel to Kentucky to take on 16th ranked Louisville. The Bearcats are coming into this game after losing their first of the season against Toledo, 23-29. Cincinnati performed poorly last week, after entering the rankings for the first time all season, and paid the price, dropping out of the Top 25. Louisville squeaked out a victory with a late-game touchdown last week against USF. They played poorly for stretches in the game, and it almost cost them their first loss of the season. Teddy Bridgewater played another great game, showing solid decision-making and tremendous accuracy. These teams stack up well against each other, both scoring over 30 points a game while giving up around 20, but I give the edge to Louisville. I’ve yet to see Cincinnati’s quarterback Munchie Legaux have a great game against a quality opponent and I have more faith in Louisville’s offense than I do in Cincinnati’s defense. I think this one will be close, but Louisville will pull out the victory in the end.
Prediction: Louisville 31-24 Cincinnati
Temple @ Pittsburgh, Saturday 12pm
This game should be interesting. When Pitt has played well this season, they’ve played really well, and when they’ve won it’s been in dominant fashion. Consistency has been the biggest issue for the Panthers, and it’s a mystery to which team we see out there on Saturday. Temple has shown flashes of greatness this season, but I haven’t seen enough out of them to believe they can pull off the win against Pitt here. Unless they play like they did in the first half against Rutgers, I see Pitt taking this one.
Prediction: Pitt 28-13 Temple
Kent State @ Rutgers, Saturday 3:30pm
Kent State is 6-1 so far this season, scoring almost 34 points a game courtesy of their outstanding running back Dri Archer. Archer is a dual threat, taking handoffs and catching passes out of the backfield. He’s averaging over 10 yards per carry this season and has reached the end zone 11 times. He’s a dynamic, undersized speedster out of Florida, and will test the Rutgers defense on every play. Outside of Archer, Kent State doesn’t have another weapon. I expect the Knight’s defense to key in on Archer, but keep the pressure on the quarterback. Kent State uses two quarterbacks to get the job done, although I don’t believe either one of them will be able to figure out the Rutgers’ defense, especially if they have large men in their faces all afternoon. I think Rutgers wins this one in typical fashion.
Prediction: Rutgers 28-0 Kent State
Syracuse @ South Florida, 7pm
Syracuse travels to Florida this weekend to take on the red hot Bulls. USF is in the midst of a five game losing streak and I’m not sure that this is the week they break it. Syracuse is coming off a dominant performance against UConn last weekend, and will look to continue their success against a team giving up nearly 30 points a game. This game looks to me like a shootout, and its anyone’s guess to who will get the last laugh. If I were a betting man, my money would be on Syracuse. Their offense has looked most consistent against quality opponents this year, although it’s possible that B.J. Daniels could go off against the suspect Syracuse D. I guess if I were a betting man I would probably still stay away from this matchup.
Prediction: Syracuse 38-34 USF