What to watch in the Big East: Week 11

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
10:15
AM ET
Here's what to keep an eye on this weekend in the conference.

1) Can Pitt bounce back? The Panthers have been erratic this season, to say the least. They blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in losing a triple-overtime contest to the then-No. 3 team in the country. Logic says UConn should be a cakewalk for Pitt, but things are never that easy for the Panthers. Another good rushing defense awaits, but Ray Graham had a field day last week at Notre Dame, which has been tougher against the run than UConn.

[+] EnlargeTeddy Bridgewater
Jamie Rhodes/US PresswireLouisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has become a fringe Heisman candidate.
2) UConn's ground game. Speaking of ground attacks, what about the Huskies'? Lyle McCombs has not rushed for more than 47 yards in a game since September and the rushing game currently ranks 116th nationally. Can UConn finally break through, snap a four-game losing streak and win a Big East game?

3) Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville's QB has been a great flag-carrier for the Big East, giving many a reason to watch on Saturdays. Syracuse coach Doug Marrone this week called the fringe Heisman candidate the best quarterback his team will face this season -- and they faced USC's Matt Barkley in Week 2. Can Bridgewater do enough in these final few weeks to steal an invite to the Big Apple?

4) Does Jerome Smith keep it up? The Syracuse running back has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three straight games and is making a late push for a 1,000-yard season. The Orange have a chance to knock off the unbeaten Cardinals, and Smith, at 731 yards, is looking to give his school a 1,000-yard back for the fifth straight season.

5) How does Gary Nova bounce back? Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has not wavered in support of his starting quarterback after a six-pick showing two weeks ago left the Scarlet Knights with their first defeat of the season. A bye week gave Nova extra time to recover and he is looking to get back on track against an Army team coming off a big win over Air Force.

6) Cincinnati's QB … whoever it is. Coach Butch Jones said his signal caller will be a game-time decision. Munchie Legaux was pulled last weekend for Brendon Kay, who put up modest numbers but led the Bearcats on consecutive scoring drives in their win over Syracuse.

7) Does Kevin Newsome see more action for Temple? The highly touted prep prospect and PSU transfer got in the action late last week in a loss to Louisville and has been seeing some first-team reps this week in place of Juice Granger (ankle). Chris Coyer has been relieved in each of the past three games.

Matt Fortuna | email

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