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August 31, 2004

While no true conference games are to be played this weekend, the teams remaining in the Big East Conference can make a statement beginning this weekend that their conference is still one to be reckoned with (and one that is BCS bid worthy) as they head into some critical out of conference matchups. These cross-conference matchups include opponents from the ACC, Big Ten, Conference USA, and the MAC. Games involving Big East teams begin on Thursday night and last through Sunday evening. That being said, here is a look at this week's ledger...and maybe a few prognostications as well.

RB Walter Reyes leads Syracuse to Purdue to start the season.
9/5 - Syracuse at Purdue - This is an important game for both Syracuse as a whole, and for 'Cuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni. A big win at a perennial Big Ten contender could go a long way to solidifying the New Big East, and could go a long way towards saving Pasqualoni's job. While Purdue's QB situation is solid with returning starter Kyle Orton, Syracuse returns little to no experience at that spot. With the Orange's (I'm still not used to that) offense so heavily reliant on quarterback play, this plays against Syracuse despite the return of Walter Reyes. Later in the season it may be a different story, but it's too early for a Syracuse win.
Prediction: Purdue 31 Syracuse 17


9/4 - Michigan State at Rutgers - For years we've heard about Rutgers "turning the corner", only to see them fall down before they get there. With stellar recruiting classes in the last two seasons, Rutgers seems to be poised to make some noise soon. Michigan State did well last season under first year head coach John L. Smith (formerly of Louisville), but lost a lot of playmakers including starting QB Jeff Smoker. The Rutgers faithful have waited a long time for a big season, and this could be the year. Rutgers needs a big win, and this is the right time and the right team.
Prediction: Rutgers 28 Michigan State 24

9/4 - Virginia at Temple - Temple's final Big East season was supposed to be 2003, but following the defections of Miami and Virginia Tech, and the delayed entrance of Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida, the Owls were retained for another season. They are led by QB Walter Washington but he seems to be one of the few playmakers on the team. Virginia has done very well under Al Groh, and this could be their best year under Groh yet. This game is at Temple, but that isn't much, if any, of a home field advantage.
Prediction: Virginia 34 Temple 17

9/2 - Boston College at Ball State - Like Temple, the 2004 season will be the last in the Big East for Boston College. The Eagles actually get a headstart on everyone else with this Thursday night game at Ball State of the MAC. BC hosted Ball State last season and scored a 53-29 victory that wasn't even as close as the score indicated. The Eagles are primed to make a BCS run, and that has to begin with games like these. It will.
Prediction: Boston College 45 Ball State 13

9/4 - East Carolina at West Virginia - The hills of West Virginia have been resounding with the sounds of Mountaineer Football for months, and the Gold and Blue faithful say this could be the best team since the days of Major Harris in the late 1980s. East Carolina is a polar opposite. The Pirates had a rough 1-11 start last year under first year head coach John Thompson. The Pirates have also brought in Noah Brindise, formerly a member of Steve Spurrier's staff with the Redskins, as the new offensive coordinator to run a variation of the famed Fun N' Gun. East Carolina is on their way back to the top of C-USA, but it won't get much of a start in this one.
Prediction: West Virginia 48 East Carolina 17

9/4 - Murray State at Connecticut - Connecticut is stacked on offense. Murray not. Come on.
Prediction: Connecticut 51 Murray State 9

9/4 - Pitt at South Florida - When the new teams for the Big East enter in 2005, South Florida will be one of them. Pitt was a charter member way back in 1991. These teams have met once before, in the 2001 season (South Florida's first in Division I-A) with South Florida shocking the Panthers at home, 35-26. This time the game is on the Bulls' turf, and USF is 33-4 at home in Raymond James Stadium. Pitt has been depleted both by injury, academics, and graduation. Those factors will be the difference against a hungry USF team.
Prediction: South Florida 28 Pitt 17

Stay tuned for all the Big East action all season long on If you have any questions or comments, regardless of who "your team" is, fire off an email to me using the Contact Brad link at the top of the page.

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