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Big East picks, Week 7

10/13/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Is it hot in here or is it just my picks?

I went 4-0 for the second straight week and nearly picked the exact scores of both Pitt-UConn (I had 24-20; final score: 24-21) and Louisville-Southern Miss (I had 23-21; final score: 25-23). A couple more weeks like this, and I'm quitting the blog and moving to Vegas.

But for now, I've got to keep the day job. So here are your Week 7 picks:

Cincinnati 26, South Florida 20: It's dangerous to pick against the Bulls at home in what should be a supercharged atmosphere at Raymond James Stadium tonight. But I think the Bulls' biggest strength -- their defensive front -- will be neutralized by Cincinnati's quick throws and whatever game plan Brian Kelly has cooked up for the past 12 days. I see the Bearcats scoring a couple of early touchdowns to grab the lead, then holding on as things get tense during the second half.

Pittsburgh 23, Rutgers 19: I must have lost my mind picking the Panthers here, since Dave Wannstedt has never beaten Greg Schiano, and the game is in Piscataway. Still, I think the streak ends Friday night. Rutgers' passing game hasn't yet developed enough to where it can really take advantage of Pitt's weak secondary, and Tom Savage could get flustered by the pressure applied by Mick Williams, Greg Romeus and friends. On the flip side, the Panthers' offense has all kinds of options from Dion Lewis and the running game to Bill Stull and his many weapons at receiver.

Connecticut 30, Louisville 20: The Huskies will take out some frustration from last week's loss to Pitt on the Cardinals. They were able to run the ball well against the Panthers, and that should translate into big days for Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman against Louisville's much less imposing defense. Randy Edsall stays perfect against Steve Kragthorpe.

West Virginia 41, Marshall 17: The Mountaineers have won the last three "Friends of Coal Bowl" games by at least 24 points, so let's go with that baseline margin here. The Thundering Herd gave up 52 points to Virginia Tech earlier this season, so West Virginia has the chance to really have some fun Saturday on offense.

Last week: 4-0

Season results: 31-6 (83.8 percent)