Big East Picks: Pittsburgh's Scarlet Letter
Oh and three. That was my record picking Big East games last week against the spread -- losing two games on last-second field goals if you care (and, no, you don't). No wins, three losses.
But hey, it could be worse. I could have South Florida coach Jim Leavitt's record in Thursday night nationally televised games (0-4) or I could have Dave Wannstedt's record against Rutgers.
The Pittsburgh coach has gone oh-fer against the Scarlet Knights. Four games, four losses.
Tonight, the Panthers visit Rutgers with Pittsburgh a 5-1/2 point favorite.
All week long at Pitt's practice center, TV monitors have been running continuous highlights (lowlights?) of the Panthers' past four losses to the Scarlet Knights. And you thought watching Jay Leno's new show was painful?
In its season-opening 47-15 seal-clubbing to Cincinnati, Rutgers looked Lost. Since then the Biggest Loser has fattened up on a variety of cupcakes by the names of Howard, Florida International, Maryland and Texas Southern. Freshman QB Tom Savage makes his first Big East start tonight.
Wannstedt admitted that Rutgers has "had our number the last four years."
Steely Dan couldn't have said it better. "Rutgers, Don't Lose That Number." Scarlet Knights in an upset.
Marshall at West Virginia: This is "The Friends of Coal Bowl." And who says there are too many bowl games in college football? These teams may like their coal -- I like mine black, no sugar -- but they really don't care much about each other. The schools are located a little more than 200 miles apart and they first played in 1911. I would call this a rivalry except when one team dominates, I'm not sure how much of a rivalry you can have. WVU has won the last eight meetings, including the past three years by 32, 25 and 24 points. WVU is among only three schools this season that has scored at least 30 points in every game. Against Marshall's porous defense, WVU may reach 30 by halftime. Still, I'm a sucker for an underdog in a so-called rivalry game. WVU wins, but the Herd somehow, someway keeps it within three TDs.
Louisville at UConn: Last week, an internet site reported Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe would be fired after last week's game against Southern Miss. A few days later, another report said Jon Gruden was the No. 1 candidate to replace Kragthorpe at season's end. At this rate, the next report will indicate Kragthorpe is resigning during Saturday's game with UConn. Oh wait, that's already happened at Louisville with John L. Smith during the 2002 GMAC Bowl? Why is everyone so down on Krags, anyway? Can't we just all get along, like The Friends of Coal Bowl? The Huskies are still thinking about blowing last week's game at Pitt. UConn wins, but UL covers the 13.
About Last Night: On my Twitter page Thursday, I correctly predicted Cincinnati would defeat USF (no oh-fer for me this week!).
Last Week: 3-1 (straight up); 0-3 (against the spread)
Season: 31-6 (83.8 percent) (straight up); 10-17 (37.0 percent) (against the spread)