Bouncing back with the resiliency of Rudy and the spirit of Lucas, we managed to post a perfect 5-0 record last weekend just one week removed from our now infamous multi-loss debacle. We're still one week away from really getting into the thick of conference play, but two games on Saturday should figure largely into how things will ultimately shake out in the middle of the standings.
Pitt (4-1, 1-0) at Syracuse (3-2)
Time/Tv: Noon/ESPN Regional
Favorite: Pitt by 7
With Syracuse's improbable three-game winning streak, the battle between two former conference titans looking to get back to the top has now become a battle between two teams both hoping to set themselves up for an outside run at a conference championship.
Despite a Devil Rayish preseason outlook, Syracuse has faltered just twice, playing a 5-0 Wake Forest team tough and dropping a double overtime contest which they probably should have won to #19 Iowa. Pitt has beaten the teams they were supposed to beat, exercised some road demons at Cincinnati, and been trounced by Michigan State before the Spartans went all Michigan State.
Tyler Palko leads the nation in passing efficiency with a 191.59 rating. He's completed 68 percent of his passes (83-for-122) and has thrown 14 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. Of course critics (us) might (do) say he hasn't been forced into a pressure situation late in a game where his team really needed him to perform (go crazy and screw up) yet this season.
Palko's favorite target has been Derek Kinder, who has made a serious early push for some postseason honors by catching 23 balls (hehe) for 485 yards and six scores.
Syracuse will look to get its first conference win under Paul Robinson by taking advantage of a young Panther offensive line playing without standout right guard John Simonitis who is out for the season with a broken ankle. When your running game is last in the conference and your quarterback is Perry Patterson, you'd better win with defense, and that's what the Orange have done, forcing 13 turnovers (tied for fifth nationally) and registering 25 sacks, tops in the nation.
Pitt's win at Nippert Stadium was its first away from home since 2004, but still it wasn't pretty. There are definitely still some road issues for the Panthers to work out, especially at the Carrier Dome where their all-time record is 3-9-1 and where they suffered a double overtime loss two years ago.
Still, Syracuse has been out gained in every contest but one and despite its splendid turnover margin, the Cuse's defense is susceptible to giving up some big yardage numbers. Pitt wins and continues their buzzardly circling, just waiting for either of the top dogs to screw up.
CC Prediction: Pitt 23, Syracuse 14
West Virginia (4-0) at Mississppi State (1-4)
Time/TV: 2:30/Pay-Per-View (WV only)
Favorite: West Virginia by 21
The Mountaineers will look to prove that their lackluster performance against East Carolina was a fluke by pounding an even shittier team.
Steve Slaton will also look to bounce back from a season-low 80 rushing yards (3.3 yards/carry) against the Pirates, by running wild against an even shittier team. Slaton still ranks seventh in the country with 583 total rush yards, and WVU still ranks second nationally in rushing at 299.8 yards per game, every game.
Mississippi State allowed 446 yards to LSU in a 31-point loss last week, and is now without the services of leading tackler Deljuan Robinson who is expected to miss three games with a knee injury.
After being torched by JaMarcus Russell, the Bulldog secondary might get a bit of a break with Pat White coming to town. The sophomore threw for a career high 216 yards against ECU, but was also picked off three times. White will throw a few times, but he won't have to.
CC Prediction: West Virginia 42, Missisippi State 13
Akron (2-3) at Cincinnati (2-3, 0-1)
Time/TV: 3:30/ESPN 360
Favorite: Cincinnati by 6 1/2
Cincinnati, apparently now a fixture on ESPN 360 (which by the way doesn't exist), tackles an in-state opponent for the second straight week, and looks to win back-to-back games for the first time since 2004.
Greg Moore was the star for UC against Miami of Ohio last weekend, rushing for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown to propel the Bearcats to their first win since defeating Eastern Kentucky (31-0) on Sept. 2. 253 of the Bearcats' 296 total yards came on the ground, as QB Dustin Grutza was largely ineffective for the third straight contest.
Akron took out the curent leader in the ACC a few weeks ago, but still can't manage to pick up a win in the MAC, falling to 0-2 in the league after a 37-15 loss to Kent State on Sept. 30. Zips' quarterback Luke Getsy has completed 92-of-177 passes for 1,212 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions this season. Running back Dennis Kennedy leads Akron in rushing with 300 yards and four scores.
If you read all that, or any of it for that matter, God bless you angel, God bless you. In fact, we're going to pull the Card Chronicle challenge out on this one. If you send us visual evidence of you actually watching any of this game, we'll send you a special prize.
That special prize will of course be a pair of light up LA Gear sneakers and a Skip-It because shame is already your co-pilot.
CC Prediction: Cincinnati 21, Akron 17
Connecticut (2-2) at South Florida (3-2)
Favorite: South Florida by 7
The only two teams with the nerve to wreck our perfect season will meet in a scene that we can only imagine will look something like if Mama Fratelli were to box Jeff (the asshole who broke up Zack and Kelly on Saved by the Bell). There are no winners here, friends.
In fact, we don't really feel like typing another word about this "football game," but we will because we're hella professional.
Matt "Gunner" Grothe's performance against Rutgers enabled him to keep his spunky freshman QB nickname for another week, but if he give us another Kansas performance then Matt "Herbert" Grothe will be right back on the table. G Squared is completing 60.5 percent of his passes and averaging 216 ypg through the air, and also doubles as the team's leading rusher, scampering for 340 yards and four scores so far this season. All told he accounts for over 75% of the Bulls total offense.
Uconn continued its valiant effort for conference's most disappointing team honors by getting shellacked at home last week against Navy. Senior QB Matt Bonislawski got the nod over sophomore DJ Hernandez, who'd started the previous three games, and fell short of everyone's expectations sans his female friends who don't know what 15-of-37 for 176 yards means.
This is one of those crucial games that could decide who goes 6-6 and gets to play a middle-of-the road MAC team on the second day of Capital One Bowl Week.
Gunner Grothe gets it done and Uconn remains on our shit list. Oh by the way, women's basketball...not cool. Will never be cool.
CC Prediction: South Florida 28, Uconn 14
Last Week: 5-0