- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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We already went over how bad my picks were last week. But Pitt finally came through for me, so Week 9 is off to a good start. I now sit at 36-13 with two games on tap Saturday.
Syracuse (5-2, 1-1) at Louisville (3-4, 1-1), noon, Big East Network. All right, Orange fans -- can Syracuse avoid the big "L" as in letdown after a huge win over West Virginia last week? The way in which they won was certainly unexpected after so many close calls this season. But if last week is any indication, Syracuse has gotten its act together. But so has Louisville. The Cardinals finally got a solid performance from their offensive line last week, opening up the run game and giving Teddy Bridgewater time to pass. I think they have a much tougher time this week against a physical defensive front that frustrated Geno Smith and the Mountaineers. They also do not have the deep passing game to take advantage of a secondary that has given up its share of big plays this season. One more bonus note: The Orange were a perfect 4-0 on the road in conference play last season; Louisville has not won consecutive league games under Charlie Strong. Syracuse 24, Louisville 17.
No. 25 West Virginia (5-2, 1-1) at Rutgers (5-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC. This game lost a bit of luster after both teams lost last week, but it is important nonetheless for conference championship hopes. The Mountaineers have beaten Rutgers 16 straight times, and are going to be looking for a measure of redemption after their poor performance against Syracuse last week. Luckily for the West Virginia defense, it is facing an offense that does not have an experienced quarterback, established running game or a solid tight end. True freshman Gary Nova is going to have to rebound from a poor performance against Louisville, in which he threw three interceptions. The one big key for the West Virginia defense is to contain Mohamed Sanu. The last time the two played at Rutgers, Sanu had 158 all-purpose yards, including a career-long 62-yard touchdown. West Virginia won 24-21. But what everyone will be watching is how West Virginia handles the pressure Rutgers will bring. The Scarlet Knights do lead the league with 24 sacks, but had none last week against a shaky offensive line and true freshman quarterback. I think West Virginia has learned its lesson. West Virginia 35, Rutgers 24.