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Thursday, October 8, 2009
Big East picks, Week 6



Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett


I went 4-0 last week to continue my hot start to the season. No cooling me off now. I'm shooting for another 4-for-4 performance.

Pittsburgh 24, UConn 20: Both teams' strengths line up almost perfectly (UConn's running game vs. Pitt's defensive front, Pitt's vertical passing game vs. UConn's secondary) and so do their weaknesses (UConn's passing game vs. Pitt's passing defense). The Huskies had an extra week to prepare and won the last time they came to Heinz Field. This should be a hard-hitting, physical game between two teams that like to run the ball and play defense. I just think Pitt has a few more playmakers on offense and will squeak by at home.

West Virginia 35, Syracuse 24: The Orange defense is much better, but it also gave up big plays in the passing game to South Florida last week. That's not a good sign with a much more explosive Mountaineers offense coming to sprint on the Carrier Dome turf. Greg Paulus and Mike Williams will hook up for some major gains against the leaky West Virginia back line, but Syracuse can't win a track meet against Jarrett Brown, Noel Devine and Co. -- proving that those guys hang on to the ball this time.

Louisville 23, Southern Miss 21: The Cardinals desperately need a victory, while Southern Miss just lost its starting quarterback for the year. Louisville has given much reason for optimism, but I think the team will rally around Steve Kragthorpe and get this win, because there might not be many more opportunities the rest of the season.

Rutgers 66, Texas Southern 3: The Tigers have lost their last two games against FBS opponents by a combined margin of 141-10. And those were Sun Belt teams (Arkansas State in '08, Louisiana-Monroe last month.) If Rutgers can't blast this one wide open in school-record fashion, something is wrong.

Last week: 4-0

Season results: 27-6 (81.8 percent).