Posted on: October 24, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: October 24, 2010 11:43 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Eight teams still have a shot at BCS berth - As crazy as it sounds, the perfect storm of circumstance has brought about a wide open Big East conference race. The first major factor has been the scheduling. For the most part, each team backlogged their conference schedule. So while we are at the midpoint of the regular season, six of the eight teams in the conference are only two games into league play. Even the seemingly hapless Connecticut Huskies are a Pittsburgh upset from climbing back into the race. Knock the Big East as much as you want, but at the wide-open race will at least make each game interesting coming down the stretch.
2. Syracuse isn't flashy, but they are getting it done - After getting throttled by Pittsburgh at home, Syracuse bounced back to stun West Virginia in Morgantown. The Orange got right back to the same kind of tough football that helped them rattle off three straight wins, with aggressive defense and a solid running game. When Delone Carter left the game with a hip injury, backup running back Antwon Bailey stepped and delivered a season high 94 yards on the ground. The defense kept West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith guessing all day, disguising their coverages and blitzes to force a season high three interceptions. Syracuse hasn't put together impressive victories (particularly not scoring a point after halftime) but if they can continue to stack the W's, the Orange could find themselves bowling in 2010.
3. Tino Sunseri has arrived - After a somewhat shaky start, Sunseri has come into his own as the leader of the Panthers offense. The rushing attack has not been what it was a year ago in Dion Lewis' breakout season, but the sophomore signal caller has stepped it up through the air in conference play. After five touchdowns in the first five games, Sunseri has connected with his receivers for seven scores in the last two weeks. If he can continue to find playmaking wide receiver Jon Baldwin, like he did for 139 yards against Rutgers, Pittsburgh could be a difficult team to beat down the stretch.
4. There is some hope in Tampa for South Florida - To reiterate the earlier point, South Florida's 38-30 victory over Cincinnati on Friday kept the Bulls from falling all but out of the Big East hunt. Not only did first year head coach Skip Holtz avoid starting 0-3 in the conference, but he got the best performance of the season from quarterback B.J. Daniels. If Daniels' performance was more than just a flash in the pan, South Florida can do a lot to make up for the rough start.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 5:12 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
And just like that, the Big East has been blown wide open.
We figured that it could happen, just weren't all that positive that it would. But with Syracuse's 19-14 victory, West Virginia has been knocked off their post as the Big East front runner and the conference is now up for grabs. Syracuse forced West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith into three first half interceptions that the Orange turned into points, and the Mountaineers weren't able to climb back from the halftime deficit. In fact, after a very exciting back and forth first half of play, neither team scored scored a point after the break.
Syracuse dominated West Virginia on the ground, racking up 183 rushing yards on one of the best statistical defenses in the nation. Running back Delone Carter left the game in the second quarter with a hip injury after racking up 75 yards, but backup Antwon Bailey was just as effective for the Orange. Bailey carried 19 times for 94 yards, career high's in both categories, and Syracuse shed a new light on the Mountaineer squad that many had already penciled in for the conference title.
Pittsburgh has now jumped into the conference lead with their 41-21 dismantling of Rutgers. After the 2-0 Panthers stand Syracuse, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Connecticut and Louisville as teams with one loss. That list will be shortened after the completion of the Huskies-Cardinals game, but the argument will still be valid for 3/4 of the conference to be considered legitimate contenders.
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Posted on: October 23, 2010 1:55 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 1:58 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
After throwing only two interceptions in his first 196+ attempts, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has thrown three picks in the first half of Saturday's conference match up with Syracuse. The Orange have been able to capitalize on the mistakes, and lead 19-14 in Morgantown at the break. Syracuse has been unintimidated by the West Virginia defense, running right at the top ranked unit for 132 yards on the ground. The Mountaineers entered the game ranked third in scoring defense, but have not had an answer for Syracuse's rushing tandem of Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey.
Smith's interceptions have given Syracuse short fields for three scoring drives, but the Mountaineers have been able to hold them to field goals each time. If Smith can keep the ball out of the hands of the Orange, they should be able to pull back in this game. Until then though, we have an UPSET ALERT!
Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.
Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear
Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy
No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain
Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)
No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain
No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear
No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms
No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy
No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms
Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms
Late night kickoffs
Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy
Posted on: October 16, 2010 10:04 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 10:08 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
1.) West Virginia's defense is playing a big part in West Virginia's success - West Virginia has largely been thought of as an offensive threat, especially with Noel Devine and Geno Smith in the backfield, but West Virginia fans should be thanking their defense for the 5-1 start. West Virginia's defensive unit shut down B.J. Daniels and the South Florida Bulls, keeping them out of the end zone for the entirety of their 20-6 win. The Mountaineers are only giving up an average of 12.3 points per game, best in the conference and making them one of the best defenses nationally. When Smith or Devine have been inconsistent, the defense has been able to carry the Mountaineers.
2.) Syracuse is not ready to be considered a contender - Last week, I mistakenly suggested that Syracuse might be ready to climb out of the incredibly deep hole and make things interesting in the Big East. After a three game winning streak, including knocking off South Florida in Tampa, the Orange looked like they were ready to make a statement against Pittsburgh. The only statement made in Pittsburgh was that Syracuse's success mostly had to do with the caliber of their opponents, and they might not be ready to be considered a contender in the Big East. Syracuse's defense looked porous against a Pittsburgh squad that has been far from impressive.
3.) Chas Dodd is the man (for now) at Rutgers - When Tom Savage went down in the second quarter against Tulane, Chas Dodd saw an opportunity to repeat history at Rutgers. When Savage was a freshman, he earned the starting job early in the season and won over fans orchestrating memorable wins like the last-minute touchdown to defeat Connecticut. Two weeks later Dodd is 2-0 as a starter, after leading the Scarlet Knights to a close win over Connecticut and a 23-20 victory of Army in overtime. Dodd threw for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Rutgers, who had to overcome a 17-3 second quarter deficit before finally locking up the win in overtime. The starting job appears to be Dodd's, at least for now.
4.) Anyone could win the Big East (still)- West Virginia appears to be the best team in the conference, but with most teams backlogging their schedule with conference games, there is a lot of Big East football left to play. West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Rutgers all could be considered legitimate contenders, and with a few upsets Syracuse and Louisville could be added to that conversation as well. No one team looks supremely dominant, but all teams have shown flashes of greatness at some point. West Virginia is the favorite, but they will have to finish their season playing Pittsburgh and Rutgers back-to-back, so nothing is certain.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:51 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
Main Course - #13 Michigan State vs. Illinois - Noon - Big Ten Network
Yes, the morning menu is still incredibly light this week. You'd think I'd be beyond complaining about it at this point since it's been this way all season, but I assure you, I am not above complaining about anything . Though this Michigan State and Illinois game isn't as unfulfilling as it may seem at first glance.
Michigan State is 6-0, after all, and coming off of a very big win against Michigan. Illinois has also played well lately, with a win not many saw coming on the road against Penn State last week. Also, let's not forget that the Illini gave Ohio State a very tough time in Champaign a few weeks ago.
There's enough cause to believe that another upset may be in the works this weekend. First of all, Michigan State is coming off that Michigan win, and there could be a letdown this weekend. Second, it is Michigan State. Completely unexpected losses at home against teams they should beat after getting off to a good start to the season wouldn't exactly be a new phenomenon for the Spartans.
Side Orders: If you don't get the Big Ten Network, and don't have the choice of watching Michigan State and Illinois between Ro-Tel and Velveeta commercials, there are other options. Florida State and Boston College square off in Tallahassee, or you could tune in to what could be Tim Brewster's last game when Minnesota takes on Purdue. Of course, if you want to watch that game I'd suggest spending three hours talking to some sort of counselor instead. Maybe you should watch Syracuse and Pitt instead, just to see if you should actually take this Syracuse team seriously.
Main Course - #7 Auburn vs. #12 Arkansas - 3:30pn - CBS
Now that Alabama has lost, it leaves the door open to a couple of teams in the SEC West. Auburn is one of them. Arkansas, who has already lost to Alabama, has an outside chance, but to make the most of it, a win over Auburn is a must have.
Of course, even if there wasn't so much on the line for both teams in this game, I'd recommend tuning in just to watch Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett face off. In other words, expect a lot of points, and what could turn out to be a very exciting, back and forth affair.
Auburn's pass defense left a bit to be desired against Kentucky last week, and don't think that Bobby Petrino didn't pick up on a few things when watching the game tape. The Auburn defense is going to need to play very well if the Tigers want to leave this one with their perfect record still intact.
Side Orders: There are a couple of other dishes available in the afternoon, including the one that's often best-served cold, which Nebraska is hoping to give Texas tomorrow afternoon. There's also Michigan and Iowa in the Big House, which will be a defining game for the Wolverines. We find out if Michigan is either a good team that lost a tough game against a rival last week, or it's still the same old Michigan we've grown accustomed to the last few years.
Main Course - #18 Wisconsin vs. #1 Ohio State - 7pm - ESPN
It's been a while since the Buckeyes found themselves ranked as the best team in the country, but if they're not careful, it's not going to last long. The Buckeyes have gotten off to a 6-0 start this season, but this is the first real test they'll have faced. Yes, Miami was a tough game, but that was at home and Miami has proven to be pretty average this season.
This is the road, at night, at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State's defense hasn't faced a punishing ground game like it'll be seeing against Wisconsin with John Clay and company. Ohio State has only ventured outside of Columbus once this season, and that was what turned out to be their worst game of the season against Illinois.
And trust me, it's a lot easier to win in Champaign than it is in Madison.
Side Orders: Kentucky nearly knocked off Auburn at home last week, and it will try to do this same this week when it hosts South Carolina. The Gamecocks are coming off their biggest win ever, so a let down could be in order. There's also Florida looking to end its two-game losing streak taking on Mississippi State and old friend Dan Mullen, and the Crimson Tide look to take out their frustrations from last week against Ole Miss and its new mascot.
Late Night Snack
Oregon State may have had some troubles with non-conference foes like TCU and Boise State, but it's off to a nice start in conference play. They look to improve to 3-0 in the Pac-10 when they head to Washington to take on the Huskies Saturday night on ESPN.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Bobby Petrino, Boston College, Cam Newton, Dan Mullen, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, John Clay, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Ryan Mallett, Saturday Meal Plan, South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas, Tim Brewster, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:02 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:06 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. West Virginia...And Everyone Else - There were concerns regarding West Virginia's offensive capabilities with a banged-up Noel Devine in the lineup, but after the 445 yards of total offense amassed in the Mountaineers 49-10 victory over UNLV, many of those concerns have been laid to rest. Quarterback Geno Smith completed 12 of 16 passes for 220 yards and connected with wide receiver Brad Starks for three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers, and for the first time in eight games the offense did not commit a single turnover. While the Mountaineers have yet to play a conference game, the eye test would suggest that Bill Stewart's squad is running at a different speed than the rest of the conference at this point in the season.
2. Rutgers Might Have A QB Controversy On Their Hands - Rutgers' seemingly annual nail-biter with Connecticut revealed a new hero in Piscataway in the likes of true freshman quarterback Chas Dodd. With starting quarterback Tom Savage out with a hand injury, Dodd let if loose through the air for 322 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Savage led the offense for the most of his time at Rutgers, but has struggled so far in the 2010 season. His only touchdown came in the Scarlet Knights' 31-0 season opening victory against Norfolk State. Head coach Greg Schiano will have a difficult decision moving forward choosing between the two young signal callers.
3. (Hold Your Breath) Syracuse Is Leading The Big East - Granted, the Orange have yet to play much of anything that resembles a formidable opponent, but Syracuse is in first place nonetheless. The 4-1 Orange held strong against B.J. Daniels and the South Florida Bulls, not allowing a single offensive touchdown in their 13-9 victory. One of the reasons has been the success of the running game. Running back Delone Carter is among the league's leading rushers at 104.8 yards per game, and against South Florida he and backup junior Antwon Bailey combined for 186 yards on the ground. Syracuse may not be ready to start thinking Big East title, but they will have a very good shot to make their first postseason appearance since 1999.
Posted on: September 16, 2010 12:15 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 12:17 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Over the last decade, Syracuse has struggled mightily to bring Orange football back into the forefront. They have worked year-round to try and bring in talent to the program, including taking transfers to add experience to their roster. Last season the Orange brought in Duke transfer Greg Paulus to play quarterback and in January, the Orange welcomed wide receiver Aaron Weaver from Hofstra.
Unfortunately, Weaver's time on the field has been cut short. He will miss the rest of the season following required knee surgery, according to a release from the university.
Syracuse senior wide receiver Aaron Weaver will miss the remainder of the 2010 season due to a right knee injury sustained on September 14. An MRI taken on September 15 revealed an ACL tear that will require surgery. As a result of the surgery and rehabilitation process, Weaver will not return for the 2010 season.
Weaver left Hofstra after the school decided to discontinue the football program. He had made an impact on the field already, catching six passes for 88 yards and the first touchdown of the season for Syracuse. The Orange are coming from a 41-20 loss at Washington to a comfortable two-week home stand against Maine and Colgate. The Orange started well against the Huskers, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before Jake Locker and the Washington offense got in sync and ran away with the game.