Pitt will look to move to 3-0 in the Big East with a home win against Louisville. The Cardinals, like Syracuse, are another upstart team that is much improved from last year.
And like Pitt, Louisville will try to run the ball. Bilal Powell is arguably the best running back in the Big East, and maybe the conference's MVP. With five games still left to play, he's already broken the 1,000 yard mark and is having a year similar to Dion Lewis' 2009. The formula for the Cardinals' success doesn't just rest with Powell having a good game, however, as evidenced by his 153-yard effort against Kentucky and his 209 yards against Cincinnati - both of which ended in losses.
Louisville can't simply rely on the running game, and quarterback Adam Froman is having a good season as well. The Panthers are facing another quarterback who is playing mistake-free football. He's gone three games without throwing an interception, and over the past four, he's thrown nine touchdowns and only one interception. But unless they fall behind, the Cardinals likely won't be throwing the ball all over the field, as they've only thrown for 250 yards or more in three of their seven games.
The Panthers have been on a roll since entering Big East play and could be the favorite in the conference. Dion Lewis is getting back on track and could receive the bulk of the carries today. Jon Baldwin, too, is looking like the NFL first-round draft pick that he has been projected to be.
Pitt DE Greg Romeus is listed as 'out' for this game, according to the weekly Big East injury report. It was hoped that Romeus might be back before this week, but the coaches decided to give him some extra rest. With a bye week next week, I wrote over at Cardiac Hill that I thought sitting Romeus was the right move. Brandon Lindsey has given the team plenty of production this season and is doing fine since starting at defensive end for Romeus.
According to the report, RB Victor Anderson, who shares duties with Powell, is listed as questionable. Anderson is not the talent that Powell is, but averages more than five yards per carry and had a 1,000-yard season as a freshman before suffering some injuries the following season. I expect Anderson to play, but if he can't, that would be a blow for Louisville.
The bottom line is that Louisville is looking like a good team, but I don't expect it to win this game. It's on the road and Pitt is looking like the team to beat in the Big East. I've got to expect that seeing West Virginia lose again last night is fueling them a bit ,and as long as they don't let their foot off the pedal, they should win.
Prediction: Pitt 34 - Louisville 20