Big East predictions: Week 8

Temple tripped up both myself and Tuna last week, for the lone blemish of the weekend. Anybody out there going to trip us up again?

AA season: 29-10.

Friday night

UConn at Syracuse, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni returns to Syracuse for the first time since he was fired in 2004, but he has no time to reflect on the past. His chief concern is finding a way to get his offense going on a more consistent basis. The Huskies expect starting running back Lyle McCombs back after he missed last week with a wrist injury. But Syracuse has played really well on defense the past two weeks, limiting Pitt and Rutgers to a combined 112 yards on the ground. I think the Orange will finally get out of their own way and break a five-game losing streak to the Huskies. Syracuse 20, UConn 17.

Matt's pick: Syracuse 17, UConn 7.


No. 15 Rutgers at Temple, noon, Big East Network/ESPN3. This is a great matchup between the No. 2 run defense in the nation and the No. 2 rushing offense in the Big East. The Scarlet Knights have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, while Montel Harris has two straight 100-yard games for the Owls. The loser falls out of first place in the Big East standings. I think Rutgers will be able to take advantage of the Temple secondary, shut down the Owls' run game and win. But it will not be a blowout. Rutgers 24, Temple 13.

Matt's pick: Rutgers 20, Temple 13.

USF at No. 16 Louisville, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN3. The Bulls are tinkering with their roster all over the place in hopes of finding a spark that will end their four-game losing streak. Louisville probably is not the best team to play when you want to get your season turned around. USF ranks last in the Big East in rushing defense, and faces the huge challenge of trying to stop Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry -- who had four rushing touchdowns himself against Pitt last week. Simply put, Louisville will be able to score on this D. Louisville 31, USF 24.

Matt's pick: Louisville 34, USF 24.

Pitt at Buffalo, 3:30 p.m., Big East Network/ESPN3. We already have seen what the MAC can do to Big East teams this season. Buffalo played UConn to the wire earlier this season before losing and played Pitt tough last season as well. But the Buffaloes are struggling right now, with their only win over a Football Championship Subdivision opponent. That means they are struggling worse than the Panthers, trying to avoid their first 2-5 start since 2001. Pitt will be able to wear Buffalo down. Pitt 35, Buffalo 17.

Matt's pick: Pitt 27, Buffalo 10.

No. 21 Cincinnati at Toledo, 7 p.m., ESPN3. This is not going to be an easy game for the Bearcats, who cannot allow themselves to look ahead to their huge rivalry game against Louisville next week. Toledo has won six straight, and its only loss came on the road to Arizona in overtime. Cincinnati is going to have to slow down running back David Fluellen (113.1 yards per game) and receiver Bernard Reedy (7.4 receptions per game), and get continued stellar production from George Winn and its running backs. I know Butch Jones wants to see more out of his receivers as well. Cincinnati 30, Toledo 20.

Matt's pick: Cincinnati 31, Toledo 14.