Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Big East stock report, Week 9
By Brian Bennett
Pitt's Brandon Lindsey leads the Big East with eight sacks.
1. Brandon Lindsey: After a three-sack performance against Rutgers, the Pitt defensive end now leads the Big East with eight sacks. Not bad for Greg Romeus' fill-in.
2. Pitt's offense: The Panthers are averaging 43 points per game in conference play and have found good balance between the running and passing games to become very dangerous.
3. Scott Shafer: The Syracuse defensive coordinator has engineered terrific game plans against South Florida and West Virginia, and his blitz schemes have caused a lot of Big East teams trouble. Why did Michigan let this guy go?
4. B.J. Daniels: The South Florida quarterback got plenty of grief during his struggles, so it's only right that he earns praise for his four-touchdown, no-interception showing last week against Cincinnati in a big win. If he can approximate that performance in the future, the Bulls will be tough to beat.
5. Marcus Barnett: The Cincinnati receiver known as "Bones" had maybe his best game since his freshman year, catching nine balls for 174 yards and one touchdown. All three Bearcats receivers went over 135 yards against USF.
6. The Louisville defense: I had serious doubts about how this defense would compete this year, given its lack of size. The Cardinals have posted shutouts in two of their last three games, including a 26-0 whitewash of Connecticut on Saturday.
1. The West Virginia offense: The Mountaineers are averaging 17 points and fewer than 300 total yards in their two conference games and were shut down for the final 46 minutes against Syracuse.
2. UConn's special teams: The Huskies posted a terrible trifecta on special teams against Louisville. They missed a field goal, fumbled away a punt return and allowed a punt return for a touchdown (after having another punt return score called back on a Louisville holding call).
3. Fairness on Syracuse's schedule: As Doug Marrone pointed out this week, the Orange aren't getting as much rest as their opponents. They just played a West Virginia team that was coming off a Thursday game the week before. This week, they get Cincinnati, which played last Friday. In two weeks, they will face Rutgers after the Scarlet Knights have a Wednesday game the prior week. Then it's UConn on Nov. 20 after the Huskies play a Thursday game the week before. Plus, the Orange only have one bye week instead of two like most other Big East teams.
Marrone says he understands why the situation exists: Syracuse hasn't been good enough to be featured on weeknight prime-time games. But he's starting to change that.
4. Safety for Rutgers' quarterbacks: Chas Dodd was sacked six times against Pitt, one week after being taken down behind the line eight times by Army. Nothing will wreck a young quarterback's confidence like a lack of protection. (See: Savage, Tom.) Dodd is holding onto the ball a little too long at times, but the O-line has to do a better job or else Dodd and Savage could be battered and bruised the rest of the year.