Pittsburgh Panthers at Utah Utes
Thursday 9/2/10 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: Versus
Opening Point Spread Utah -1
Current Betting Line Utah -3
Opening Total 51
Current Total 49
Current Moneyline Utah -155, Pittsburgh +135
All betting odds courtesy of Bookmaker
The Panthers are lead by Heisman trophy candidate running back Dion Lewis as they travel to Salt Lake City to play the Utes. The teams have met only once before in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, with the Utes winning 35-7. Both teams are ranked in the top 25 so it should be an excellent game. The Utes are led by senior Quarterback Terrance Cain. Both the Panthers and Utes have explosive offenses, but the Panthers are better on defense as Utah only returns 4 starters on defense. Points should be plentiful in this match-up. The Panthers are lead on defense by pass rushing specialist Greg Romeus. The Panthers defense is expected to be one of the best in the country.
Pittsburgh might be at a disadvantage having to travel across country and playing in the altitude of Salt Lake City. The coaching match-up features Dave Wannstedt for the Panthers and Kyle Whittingham for the Utes. The quarterback match-up favors the Utes as Terrance Cain is back for his senior year after having some success last year. The Panthers have to break in a new quarterback Tino Sunseri. He is making his first career start on the road, and is expected to lean heavily on superstar Dion Lewis. But the Panthers can’t just run the ball constantly as they risk becoming one-dimensional, no matter how talented Lewis is. Utah is usually a tough place to play as they sell out and their fans are usually boisterous in their support of the Utes. Weather is not expected to be a factor as game time temperature will be in the mid 60’s with no rain and very little wind.
The current line on this game is a little surprising as Utah is a 3 point favorite with a total of 49. It started off with the Utes -1 and a total of 51. It goes to the respect the Mountain West is garnering as a conference, and the fact that Utah is at home. I expect a close game between two nationally ranked teams that hope to be among of the elite teams in the country at the end of the season. I also expect a shootout with tons of points scored, despite Pitt’s strong defense. It wasn’t that long ago that a team from the mighty Big East would have been embarrassed losing at a team from a smaller conference such as Utah. those days are long past, and both these teams have a shot at going to BCS bowls this season. Utah needs this game more to bolster their cause for an at large bid. Even if Pitt loses they can still win the Big East and go to a major bowl. Utah has to win this game and the rest of their games just to be considered for an at large bid to a BCS game. Next year Utah leaves the MWC for the Pac-10 and want to prove that they belong in a major conference. A victory against Pitt would go along way to proving their legitimacy.
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