The Big East grabs the national spotlight tonight with two televised games on the ESPN channels.
Both games are big in the conference title race. Rutgers leads the Big East with a 2-0 record (the Scarlet Knights are 5-1 overall). The Scarlet Knights travel to Louisville (2-4, 0-1) for a key showdown (8 p.m., ESPN2).
The game we're going to focus on is No. 15 West Virginia traveling to Syracuse (8 p.m., ESPN). West Virginia is 1-0 in the Big East and 5-1 overall. Syracuse is 0-1 in the Big East and 4-2 overall.
No. 15 West Virginia at Syracuse, 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This is clearly a big game for both teams. West Virginia needs a win to keep pace with Rutgers and Cincinnati atop the conference standings, while Syracuse needs a victory to prove to itself and the country that it is on its way back. Syracuse upset the Mountaineers last year, this season the Orange gets them at the Carrier Dome. To pull off the upset, Syracuse needs quarterback Ryan Nassib to spread the ball and running back Antwon Bailey to move the sticks. Even with the home field advantage, Syracuse won’t be able to withstand the passing prowess of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. West Virginia 37, Syracuse 24
Rose’s pick: West Virginia’s offense, the best in the Big East, could have a big night against the Syracuse defense, which is last in the Big East. Here’s an even more revealing statistic: Syracuse is giving up 293 passing yard per game, last in the Big East and 112th nationally. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who has already thrown for over 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns, should have a monster game. The Mountaineers still have a tough road to the Big East title with road games against Rutgers, Cincinnati and South Florida and the annual showdown with Pittsburgh. But West Virginia should have no problem this week. West Virginia will win big. West Virginia 38, Syracuse 13