(5-3, 4-2-2 ATS)
(4-4, 4-4 ATS)
NCAA football betting action in the Big East highlights Thursday night, as the Pitt Panthers try to make a case to become the first team in this conference ranked in almost a month, as they take on the UConn Huskies.
It has been an awfully weird season for the Panthers this year. They really thought that they were going to be able to rely on RB Dion Lewis to carry the load towards a Big East title, and if all else failed, the defensive line was supposed to get the job done. DL Greg Romeus, who many think is the best lineman in the country, has been out of the lineup for two months now and just might finally be ready to go on Thursday. Lewis though, has been the major question mark. A year after running for almost 1,800 yards and coming up with almost 2,000 total yards of offense, Lewis has tailed off dramatically, accounting for just 479 yards on the ground and five total TDs. Instead, fellow sophomore RB Ray Graham has really stepped into the fold well and rumbled all over the place on foes. Graham has 685 yards and a total of eight TDs on the year, and he is starting to really get as many carries as Lewis on a regular basis. QB Tino Sunseri was supposed to struggle this year, but he has been a rock in the backfield. The first year starter has completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 1,672 yards and 12 scores against just four picks. Three wins in the next four weeks will wrap up a spot in the BCS for the Panthers, but even then, they might not be ranked in the Top 25.
UConn hasn’t exactly been “normal” this year either. RB Jordan Todman was considered a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate, but he has gotten absolutely no help on the year. Todman does have 954 yards and is like to reach the 1,000 yard rushing barrier this week, but he only has nine of the team’s 21 TDs this season. We’ve also seen three different men take snaps this year for HC Randy Edsall. QB Cody Endres was suspended for the rest of the season, and with QB Zach Frazer proving ineffective, QB Michael Box took over. However, after going 6-for-17, Box was knocked out with a concussion, and now it seems as though Frazer is really the only option to turn to. There are no guarantee wins left on the schedule but no guaranteed losses either. This could be the team that wins the Big East, and it might be one of the few that doesn’t end up going bowling. A defense that has only allowed 21.4 points per game this year is going to be crucial at home on Thursday night.
This is the wacky Big East, where anything can, and frequently does happen. Last week, the Huskies took down the West Virginia Mountaineers in overtime, and this looks like an awfully familiar situation. This will be a smash mouth game that could get really, really ugly at times. In these situations, we love taking the points, and we’ll hop on the UConn bandwagon once again.
College Football Free Pick: Connecticut Huskies +5