Sep 24

Big East: Overcome A Dismal First Month

Posted By:Wes Mewbourne  Tags:

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Photo: Kim Klement, USPresswire.com

That is the desire of the Big East.  The perennial flagship school WVU has been humbled by two nonconference foes, and only two schools begin conference play without blemish.  There is a sense of urgency in the conference right now.  With only one team being ranked, this is anybody's race to win.  Here are the teams with the best chance:

1.        South Florida:  The Bulls are the only team with a quality win against a ranked opponent, and expect to be the Big East's team in a BCS bowl this year.  A tall order for such a young team, but not out of the question.  What they need to do:  Stay focused and keep their strong defense.   The UCONN and WVU games to close out the season will likely be their toughest two games.

2.        UCONN:  The other 4-0 team doesn't have the status of a national ranking, but they are 2-0 against BCS foes.  The WVU game has now become winnable, and the USF game looks to be a possible Conference Championship game.  What they need to do:  Just like the Bulls, the Huskies need to keep their focus.  With all the uncertainty, there's no guarantees.  Control the ball, stay with the balanced attack, and don't beat yourself (i.e. – turnovers and penalties).

3.        West Virginia:  Although the last two weeks have proven difficult, but they were nonconference losses.  The good news is their conference recod has yet to be set in stone, which gives the Mountaineers plenty of time to regroup.  What they need to do:  Get back to doing what they do best – let Pat White Make plays.  When he's good, they're good.  And with him and Noel Divine still in the backfield, there's no reason they can't circle the wagons and take the Big East again.

4.         Cincinnati:  The only team to take them to the woodshed was a team that was supposed to, and it took awhile before the Sooners could break away.  What they need to do:  Settle down on defense and get the ball back.  The Bearcats let their opponents hold the ball an average of about two minutes per game.  If they can get those necessary stops on D, they can get the ball back into the hands of their offense, which is averaging 22 first downs a game and converts nearly half of it's third down conversions.

5.        Pittsburgh:  There's a bit of a drop-off by the time we get down to the Panthers, but it's not out of the question.  A couple early close games show that they can stay in until the end.  What they need to do:  Keep games close.  As long as they can go in the 4th quarter down by no more than one score (preferably up a score or two, though) they have a shot to finish.

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