Posted by Walter
OK well in lieu of what has seemingly become a weekly custom of picking games involving secondary programs from major conferences (doesn't it seem like we've picked every Washington State and Oregon game this year), we are going to give the Big East some love and pick all the games in what promises to be a huge weekend for the conference.
Also, since I am headed out of town in a couple of hours to watch my cousin play high school football this weekend, my picks are noticably less verbose than usual. I am sure all you readers will find some way to console yourselves.
Rutgers +6.5 over @ Pittsburgh
I would feel more comfortable about this pick if the line hadn't fallen below afull touchdown, but I still like the Scarlet Knights to cover this one. Rutgers has come too far, too fast to get blown out by a Dave Wannstedt coached team. This is arguably the biggest game in the history of Rutgers football and my guess is Greg Schiano has his team ready to go. Look for Rutgers to get pressure on Tyler Palko, because if the ultra efficient Pitt QB has time to throw it could spell doom for what has been a dream season for the Knights. Rutgers keeps it close and has a chance to win late, but the home field advantage and the experience of Palko boosts Pitt. Call it 23-20.
@ UConn +23 over West Virginia
This one is simple. So far this season, the Mountaineers have been a different team on the road. They haven't really shown the same offensive explosion until the second half of road games, and their defense has been somewhat shakier (see East Carolina). UConn, is a solid if not spectacular team, and, sadly, provides WVU with their stiffest challenge to date. Playing at home look for UConn to rely on its own running game (which ranks in the top 10 nationally) and shorten the game againt the WVU offense. The Mountaineers win handily, but not by 23. Let's say 35-20.
@ Syracuse +17.5 over Louisville
This isn't a pick based solely on the Cardinals lackluster effort againt Cinci last week. As I said in our power rankings, this is the time of the season when good defensive coaches have enough information to really put together some complex gameplans. As such, this is the time when great teams need their star players the most. Looking at Louisville's two best offensive players, I see one sitting on the sideline for the season (Mike Bush) and one still shaking the rust off from missing several weeks with a throwing hand injury (Brian Brohm). The Carrier Dome is one of the toughest places to play in the nation and this spread looks too tempting especially given the way the Orange offense played in the first half last week against West Virginia. I say Louisville still wins (the Big East desperately needs them to, so that the matchup with the Mountaineers isn't mooted), but Greg Robinson makes it hard on them. Call it 31-21.
Boston College +4 over @ Florida State
Homer pick!! Homer pick!! Homer pick!!
@ Michigan -13 over Iowa
Michigan's defense is just way too big, way too mean, and way too talented for the Hawkeyes to contend with. The big knock on Iowa this season has been how soft they have played against big time competition. That won't fly against this Michigan team that has been absolutely mauling opponents all season. Chad Henne and Drew Tate look like quarterbacks going in opposite directions, and even without Mario Manningham the Wolverines passing game has enough in the tank to disect a suddenly suspect Iowa defensive backfield. Call it Michigan 27-10.
Alabama +11 over @ Tennessee
On paper, the Vols should win this game handily. That said, the Volunteer defense has been underachieving all season, and the suddenly potent Bama passing game might just have enough to keep this one closer than most people think. Crazy as it seems, John Parker Wilson to DJ Hall has been one of the three most potent passing combos in the entire SEC, and Ken Darby seemed to woken up with his 160+ yard rushing effort last week. Expect the Bama offense to put some points on the board early, but Tennessee to win going away. If this game was 5 quarters long I would never take the points. Call it Tennessee 30-21.
Georgia Tech +7 over @ Clemson
With Clemson clearly being the better team in this one, the real question becomes just how many points is Calvin Johnson worth? Well, I'm betting that his presence is worth at least a touchdown. We know that on offense Clemson will run the ball behing what has turned into a dominant offensive line. We also know that on defense they will be keyed on stopping Johnson. Clemson has some talent in the secondary, but those players lack experience. Look for Johnson to get his catches and yards, but with Clemson shutting down the rest of the Tech offense. Clemson wins it, but Johnson makes it a lot closer that it technically should be. Call it Clemson 27-24.
**Bonus Pick** @ Rosyln High School over Westbury High
Roslyn's only win is over Jericho. Westbury's only wins are over Jericho and Great Neck. I feel some magic in the air for Roslyn two weeks after getting the monkey off their back with the win over Jericho. Call it Roslyn 20-Westbury 19.
Last Week: 6-2