Well this kinda sucks.
Every other Big East team is opening their season this week and we Bearcat fans are stuck on the couch. Luckily I’ve got you covered so you can partake in the festivities like the rest of our Big East brethren. Still, I’m a little peeved that we have to watch every other team play but us. Thanks a lot, San Diego State and TCU. Here’s my predictions for week 1.
UConn vs. UMass: The Huskies are trying to prove that 2011 was a fluke and Paul Pasqualoni was really the correct replacement for Randy Edsall. UMass is playing in their first year in the MAC and have a difficult non-conference schedule to boot. UConn will be improved this year despite having questions are quarterback and wide receiver (what else is new) but handle the Minutemen in week one. UConn 21, UMass 9
Temple vs. Villanova: A cross-city rivalry that will only heat up as Temple establishes itself in the Big East. The Wildcats are one of the premier teams at the FCS level and the Owls have seen one of the fastest rises of any program in the FBS. Games have been close over the years until 2011 when UT obliterated the Wildcats 42 – 7. With a returning coaching staff and multiple position players, I’m giving the nod to the Owls this year. Temple 34, Villanova 17
Syracuse vs. Northwestern: Possibly the most intriguing game of the weekend as the Big East can have a chance to earn some conference cred by knocking off an out-of-conference opponent early, all be it with a team heading to the ACC in a year. Still, this will be no easy task for the Orange who are coming off a disappointing season and aren’t expected to make waves this season. The Fightin’ Fitzgeralds win this game. Northwestern 31, Syracuse 17
Pitt vs. Youngstown State: Keep an eye on this game, boys and girls. The Panthers have been getting hit with the injury bug hard this Summer while at the same time adjusting to yet another new offensive system. For us Bearcat fans it will be interesting to see how this team plays in their first game under Paul Chryst as they will be traveling to Nippert the following Thursday. Pitt should take this one, though. Pitt 27, Youngstown State 6
South Florida vs. Chattanooga: With loads of talent returning on both sides of the ball, the Bulls should whitewash a team that won just 3 conference games last season in the FCS. USF is also famous for getting off to fast starts to begin their season despite faltering right around when Big East play begins. As such, the Bulls should win in a snoozer. South Florida 52, Chattanooga 10
Rutgers at Tulane: The Scarlet Knights return a pretty strong team in 2012 and especially so on defense. While they start the season on the road, Tulane isn’t exactly the most difficult Conference-USA opponent. And although I’m not 100% sold on Kyle Flood as the head coach, Rutgers should take care of business. Rutgers 42, Tulane 7
Louisville vs. Kentucky: Between these two teams, it seems only the Cardinals give a hoot about their football program. As such, Louisville is separating itself from a talent and coaching standpoint from their interstate rivals. Not only that but they return just about every starting player from last year’s team. The needle is pointing in the right direction for UL who open the season with a win. Louisville 31, Kentucky 14