Big East Football: Week 10's Game by Game Predictions and Picks
This is a massive weekend for college football around the country with mammoth matchups in the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12. It would be easy to overlook the Big East this weekend with Alabama visiting LSU, Oregon visiting USC and Kansas State hosting Oklahoma State in Top 25 matchups, but the Big East is developing some interesting stories as well.
Undefeated Louisville is ranked 10th in the BCS standings and has yet to suffer a loss. If they can win-out they could create some interesting debates despite not having played a Top 25 team this season.
Syracuse has started to create a buzz in the Big East standings and could generate some more momentum this weekend with a road win.
Pittsburgh may have dug too deep a hole to dig out of, but when they can play a complete game they could make things difficult for anyone standing in their way. Even Notre Dame?
Let's take a look around the Big East this weekend and see how things might shape up for the conference overall.
No. 10 Louisville vs. Temple
(Note: BCS Standings are used for this slideshow)
No. 10 Louisville (8-0, 3-0 Big East) vs. Temple (3-4, 2-2 Big East)
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ABC
It may be another year or two before Temple is at full strength to compete in the Big East at the level Louisville is equipped to right now, and that could be the story of the afternoon on Saturday in Louisville. The undefeated Cardinals will look to remain undefeated when they host the Owls this weekend for an early kickoff.
Teddy Bridgewater should have an efficient day against a Temple defense that struggled to keep up with Pittsburgh last week on the road. Temple gave up 313 passing yards and three passing touchdowns to Pittsburgh's Tino Sunseri and Ray Graham rushed for 109 yards an two touchdowns against the Owls. Look for the Cardinals quarterback to be able to find the holes in Temple's defense just as well this week at home.
Look for Louisville to jump out to an early lead on Temple, making it difficult for the nation's 120th ranked passing offense to battle back. Louisville has had a number of close calls this season, but Temple looks like they will have trouble keeping things too close this weekend for Charlie Strong and company to sweat too much.
Cincinnati vs. Syracuse
Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1 Big East) vs. Syracuse (4-4, 3-1 Big East)
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. Big East Network
Cincinnati will look to snap a two-game losing skid following a pair of road losses to Toledo and Louisville. Doing so will be no easy task with Syracuse coming to town looking to stay near the top of the Big East standings.
Syracuse is just two wins shy of bowl eligibility, but with a 3-1 Big East record the Orange are starting to develop a winning attitude and may be able to pull off some bigger plans if they can sneak out of Cincinnati with a victory this weekend.
This particular game should be a decent quarterback showdown with Munchie Legaux hopefully being able to play at full strength this weekend and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib showing an ability to be an efficient passer in conference play in recent weeks.
Syracuse gives Cincinnati a good fight, but the Bearcats will find enough cracks in Syracuse's defense when needed to find a way to win this weekend at home.
South Florida vs. Connecticut
South Florida (2-6, 0-4 Big East) vs. Connecticut (3-5, 0-3 Big East)
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ESPNU
This much we know about South Florida and Connecticut: Somebody will win their first Big East game of the season. The Bulls and Huskies enter this weekend with a combined 0-7 record in conference play. A win will move Connecticut one step closer to a possible bowl berth, and also officially eliminate South Florida from postseason eligibility.
South Florida enters this game having lost six straight games. Some have come with a dose of bad luck. A four-point loss at Ball State, a blocked field goal attempt at Temple, a two-point loss at Louisville and last week's final second loss to Syracuse. South Florida is close but unable to find whatever it is that is holding them back that last little bit.
Fortunately this weekend the Bulls take on a Connecticut team that struggles to score many points. Connecticut also comes off a bye week in which they hope to have put together a solid game plan and find any possible way to get the running game going.
Look for South Florida to play well against the run this weekend and keep UConn's offense from having too many threats in the red zone. Finally, South Florida will find a way to win a game and it may not come down to the final seconds.
Pick: South Florida
No. 3 Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh
No. 3 Notre Dame (8-0) vs. Pittsburgh (4-4, 1-3 Big East)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. NBC
Can the Pittsburgh Panthers shock the world, or at least shock South Bend?
One thing that plays in Pittsburgh's favor is how Notre Dame has struggled to score points at home. In four games in Notre Dame Stadium the Fighting Irish have not yet scored more than 20 points in a game. Of course, this also means Notre Dame does not give up a lot of points at home either. No Notre Dame opponent this season has scored more than 17 points in a game in South Bend.
If the right Pittsburgh team manages to show up this weekend, one that includes a safe and secure Tino Sunseri and a Ray Graham that can do all he can to wear down Notre Dame's defense, then Pittsburgh has a decent chance to at least keep things close this weekend.
We know that Pitt is capable of scoring some points, having scored 35 points against Louisville, 47 against Temple and 35 against Virginia Tech this season. It is unfathomable to see Pittsburgh keep this game close, but if it comes down to one drive, do you trust Sunseri more than you trust Manti T'eo?
Pick: Notre Dame
Follow Kevin McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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