After three weeks of losing to the likes of Utah and Washington while beating bottom feeders like Akron and New Hampshire the Big East has a major chance to prove it’s collective worth as a BCS conference. Three Big East teams play ranked foes, while another plays a team with bowl hopes (albeit slim hopes).
Should the conference win a few of those games it’s perception of being a tomato can nationally will change instantly. Conversely, should the conference further face plant it may be time to contact the powers that be in the FCS front offices about potential openings.
Either way, what could be a banner weekend (or a dumpster fire) for the conference will surely be a tough test for Big East owners as their guys take on the big boys.
– #8 Oklahoma @ Cincinnati – I know what you’re thinking, ‘Oklahoma is going to play at Nippert Stadium? Really?’ Well, they’re not. OU is taking on Cincinnati at the Bengals Paul Brown Stadium which probably eliminates any chance of an upset here. Although, the Sooners have given up 24 points at home against Utah State and Air Force, plus, this is Oklahoma’s first ‘road’ game of the year. I still have little faith that the Bearcats can win this game, but I do think they can put up points and make it a fairly close contest. The fantasy play in this game is Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros. The Junior has passed for over 650 yards this season and has rushed the ball 51 times as well. OU let Utah State’s Diondre Borel throw for two scores and 341 yards while Air Force rushed for 351 yards as a team. In other words, the Sooners seem to play down to their competition and Collaros is talented enough to overcome a turnstile Oline to put up big numbers. This even without tight end Ben Guidugli (ankle) and wide receiver Vidal Hazelton (out for year with torn ACL) – focus now is on WR DJ Woods even moreso than Armon Binns.
22 West Virginia @ 15 LSU – This joke literally never gets old – couches are officially on notice in the land of Morgantown. West Virginia head coach The lovable Mr. Magoo Bill Stewart has seemingly figured out how to use running back Noel Devine and quarterback Geno Smith. Smith leads the Big East in passer rating and the Sophomore is completing over 70 percent of his passes! Smith’s favorite target is wide out Tavon Austin (21 catches for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns). For his part, Devine has 354 yards on the ground and is averaging 24 carries a game. Those three, along with Senior wide out Jock Sanders, give West Virginia, and the Big East Conference, the best chance for an upset this weekend. Yes, LSU is ranked 5th in points allowed this season with a nasty front line, but the Tigers haven’t faced a team with the talent on offense like the ‘Neers. In fact, even the Mountaineer defense is in play in this match up. LSU comes in as the 109th ranked passing team in the country (had North Carolina not gone all 1980s/90s Miami that wouldn’t be the story), running back Junior Stevan Ridley (55 carries – 318 yards – 2 touchdowns) seems to be the only offense. An untested Tigers team with Les ‘What’s a Game Clock?’ Miles leading the way should be ripe for the picking.
North Carolina @ Rutgers – In theory this game sounds like it should interesting. North Carolina loaded with talent taking on an undefeated Rutgers team looking for respect. Then, as I linked up early, the wheels came off of the Tar Heel (Tar Hell?) program. UNC will be without defensive back Kendric Burney and safety Deunta Williams for this game, to go along with 12 of the 13 players that were suspended for the season opener against LSU. The bright spot for North Carolina has to be Senior quarterback T.J. Yates. Yates has thrown for over 600 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in just two games this season. Yates will test a Rutgers defense that is allowing just seven points per game (against Norfolk State and Florida International). This game could be where the Scarlet Knight offense finally gets untracked, at home against an extremely depleted Tar Heel defense. Therefore, Rutgers’ Tom Savage, Joe Martinek, and Mohamed Sanu all seem like obvious plays, but the fact is the entire Scarlet Knight offense has done nothing in the first two games against horrible competition (although it is worth noting tight end D.C. Jefferson has two catches with both going for over 20 yards, one being a score). I wouldn’t fee comfortable starting any of them against the Washington Generals right now. Even with the Rutgers defense playing well this year, Yates is in a scary zone right now. Until further notice the Scarlet Knights are unplayable.
South Florida/Connecticut/Syracuse v. Cupcakes –
- USF plays FCS Western Kentucky in the heat of Tampa after a frustrating loss at Florida last time out. The Bulls put up 59 against their last FCS opponent. Expect more of the same offensively with Sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels and that USF defense.
- Connecticut is fresh off a bad loss at Temple. Huskies Junior running back Jordan Todman has been the catalyst to the team’s offense, rushing for 448 yards and five touchdowns (not to mention an average per carry of 7.3). Toddman is out with an injury however, but Connecticut will rebound nicely back at home in Rentschler Stadium.
- The Orange take on their second straight FCS team in Colgate in the Dome. That should be a lay up line with quarterback Ryan Nassib gunning to break his record of five touchdown passes in one game. He of course set this mark last weekend. Watch to see if Senior running back Delone Carter finally breaks out of a season long slump.