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Will Teddy Bridgewater lead Louisville to a Big East title?
With Louisville's loss to Syracuse, the battle to win the Big East title is a three-team race once again. The Cardinals, Rutgers and Cincinnati are in the mix to win the conference championship, with the Bearcats and Scarlet Knights matching up this Saturday.
Rutgers, Cincinnati or Louisville: Which Team Wins the Big East Title?
Mark Ennis, Manager of Big East Coast Bias (@Mengus22):
I think Louisville wins the title because I think Louisville will win its final two games. If you look at the teams that have really challenged Louisville, they've been teams that work from the spread, no-huddle offense. Offenses that work from pro sets, that run the ball with a fullback and try to pass from play-action, haven't been quite as difficult for Louisville to defend. Rutgers, almost all season, has gotten just enough offense and a ton of help from its defense and special teams to make up for what is lacking. Teams with a solid passing game (like Arkansas, and like Louisville) have moved the ball through the air on that defense. I suspect the game on the final Thursday of the regular season will be a low-scoring game that comes down to avoiding mistakes, and that Louisville will generate just enough offense to win the game and the conference.
David Fox (@DavidFox615):
Louisville remains the team to beat in the Big East, though the Cardinals were not impressive against Syracuse last week. I credit that loss to two things: First, Syracuse, a pretty good team on paper, played a perfect game for the first time all season. Second, Louisville had been flirting with an upset for several weeks now. The Cardinals finally got bit, but the Cardinals are good enough to turn around and finish out the season as Big East champions. The season-ending injury to Senorise Perry is concerning, but this is Teddy Bridgewater’s offense. And given Rutgers’ inability to score in the first half for the last six weeks, I can’t see the Scarlet Knights defeating Cincinnati this week, much less Louisville at the end of the season.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
Even though Louisville is coming off a loss to Syracuse, I still think the Cardinals win the Big East. With a matchup against Connecticut at home this Saturday, Louisville will have an opportunity to fix some of the problems in last week’s loss to the Orange. The Rutgers-Cincinnati game is a tossup this weekend, but the conference should be decided in the Louisville-Rutgers game on Nov. 29. The Bearcats’ chances of winning the conference have increased with Syracuse’s upset over the Cardinals, along with Brendon Kay’s insertion into the starting lineup at quarterback. However, even if Cincinnati knocks off Rutgers, I’ll take Louisville to knock off Rutgers in the season finale. The Scarlet Knights have won the last two matchups against Louisville, but I think the edge in that matchup still goes to the team (Cardinals) with a better coach (Charlie Strong) and quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater).
Louisville got its wake-up call last week as Syracuse handed the Cardinals their first loss of the season, dashing any dreams of a undefeated season in the process. However, all is certainly not lost for Charlie Strong's team as they still control their own destiny as it relates to the Big East title and a BCS bowl berth. Rutgers is leading the conference right now with an unblemished 4-0 mark, but the Scarlet Knights still have to go to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before finishing the regular season by hosting Louisville. While the Bearcats could hand the Knights their first conference defeat this Saturday, I'm looking at the Thursday night primetime season finale in Piscataway, N.J., on Nov. 29 as the deciding factor in the Big East race. Even if Rutgers enters this game 6-0 in the conference, Louisville, behind Big East Player of the Year Teddy Bridgewater, will defeat the Knights on their home field to win the Big East title, not to mention earn a trip to a BCS bowl, by virtue of the Cardinals' head-to-head wins against both Rutgers and Cincinnati. The Cardinals won't finish this season undefeated, but that doesn't mean their 2012 campaign won't be one for the history books.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
I’m going to take Khaseem Greene and the Rutgers defense to carry the Scarlet Knights to their first-ever Big East championship. There was the slip up against Kent State (the Golden Flashes are 9-1), but first-year coach Kyle Flood has Rutgers unbeaten in league play with three challenging games to go. The trip to Cincinnati this Saturday will be difficult, as RU’s fifth-rated scoring defense (13.4 ppg) tries to stop George Winn and the league’s leading rushing attack. The Bearcats looked great versus Temple with Brendon Kay replacing Munchie Legaux at quarterback, but the Scarlet Knights dominated this one last year. I’ll take Jawan Jamison and the offense to control the clock and win at UC, and then beat Pittsburgh and Louisville. The Cardinals have an excellent record, but Charlie Strong’s crew has played inconsistently this season. All three teams could take the crown, but Rutgers stingy defense should make the difference.
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