Miami Hurricanes @ Florida State Seminoles (-9)
The Florida State Seminoles are actually a very good football team. If they win out, you heard it here first. I know Miami has some players, but they have some things going on in that program, and they won’t be full-go against their in-state rival. I remember when this used to be THE GAME. Miami up against FSU – but the programs have fallen off a bit. The Seminoles have a top-notch defense and are solid offensively with their QB healthy. Just better on all sides, Seminoles roll!
Texas A&M Aggies (-4.5) @ Kansas State Wildcats
I like Kansas State, I really do. They are tough, they play good football, they don’t rely on trick or treat plays to move the ball down the field – they are decent defensively – but Texas A&M is a better group. They have had terrible luck this season, but that has to turn around some time – why not this week in K State where the Wildcats have lost two in a row. It comes down to being a better football team, and the Aggies are that. Look no further than getting 4.5 points on the road against a ranked opponent when they are not ranked. I’m with Vegas – better team is A&M.
Auburn Tigers (+13) @ Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs have been playing pretty good football of late, but Auburn just stays in football games and they know how to win. It wouldn’t surprise me for a second if the Tigers some how pull this game out – but more important, to keep it close enough to have a chance – that’s all I’m looking for. I’d be happier with 14, but 13’s good enough for me to take them in this SEC battle of ranked teams.
Virginia Cavaliers @ Miami Hurricanes Free College Football Pick: There’s a lot to like about the Cavs even though I’m only getting the public going against me on this one. The “experts” are with me, which is just something I’ll have to live with, as apparently I can be considered one of the many donkeys that tend to the title of expert. Maybe the “smart guys” see what I see in Virginia, a team that comes to play and puts up pretty good numbers on some decent teams. They stick close to most teams they play (even though they got battered a big by a lowly NC State team last week). They usually out-rush their opponents (all but one game this year) and have gained more yardage than all but one opponent. They are just about what their record boasts, a 4-3 team with some toughness. They play close games.
Miami also plays close games, and while they have put up some good points at times this year and beaten some good teams, they probably aren’t as good as some of their numbers. First of all, they get out-rushed a lot, and they score more points and give up fewer points than their yardage totals insists. At some point those things will get closer, why not this week?
Miami scores more than Virginia (which, in sports, is important – I concur) but aside from that, the Cavaliers rule the numbers. They gain more yardage and give up fewer yards. They hold the ball longer and don’t kill themselves with stupid penalties. In other words, I’ll take them. 14 points seems like way too many.
Virginia Cavaliers (+14) @ Miami Hurricanes (Thu)
Oklahoma State Cowboys @ Missouri Tigers (+7)
The Missouri Tigers are pretty good, and I think they sneak up on Oklahoma State a little bit. Everybody is crazy about the Cowboys, but they can struggle defensively and I think Missouri will put some points on them. The Tigers play well at home, and with the undefeated Cowboys coming to town, a big upset could be right around the corner.
Auburn Tigers @ LSU Tigers (-21)
The Tigers are that good. Even with suspensions and injuries and all that business that normally disrupts a good football team, the Tigers are just that good. Defensively they should be able to shut down what Auburn does. Auburn isn’t special offensively, and even with the suspension of quite possibly their best player, the Tigers should keep Auburn in single digits. Auburn’s defense isn’t good enough to hold LSU, and because of this I expect a cover.
Air Force Falcons (+31) @ Boise State Broncos
I think Air Force runs the ball well enough to put some scoring drives together on Boise State, slow down the game just enough, to cover this spread. I have this eerie feeling that I’ll be covering this game by a field goal – but I’ll take it!
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Miami Hurricanes (-3)
The Yellow Jackets took a step back last week, losing a game the just flat out shouldn’t have. Miami has been up and down this year, really struggling at times and putting some good games together here and there. I had the line wrong in my newsletter, but I meant to take the Canes as a 3-point favorite. They fit well in my lesser rated favorite schema – always take the lesser rated favorite!!
College Football Free Picks
Florida Gators @ LSU Tigers (-3)
I don’t believe the Gators have much of a chance. Florida is good, sure, but against a team as physical as the Tigers, I’m not sure they have much of a chance. Florida is still learning how to get that old physicality back, and they aren’t quite there yet. The Tigers are as “smash mouth” as any team in college football, and I think Saturday’s going to make a long day for the Gators.
Miami Hurricanes (+7.5) @ Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies didn’t do much against Clemson last week, but they are still a very good football team. Still, offensively, I don’t think they are talented enough to make them a value-pick against a solid team like Miami. The Hurricanes make lots of mistakes, and Virginia Tech will certainly take advantage of those – but the Canes will also make big plays, and I think that keeps this game within a touchdown.
Arizona State Sun Devils (-3) @ Utah Utes
The Sun Devils might just be the pride of the Pac 10 South. They’ve played pretty well against top opponents, and Utah will certainly get them ready to go. The Utes have been off and on, or on and then off I guess. They worry me a little bit, but not enough to go against the Devils with just a field goal. A close game, this should be a cover anyway.
Maryland Terrapins (+14.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Terps started off the season well then faded a little bit, but they have some big plays in them and hopefully can keep this within two touchdowns for me.
Kansas State Wildcats @ Miami Hurricanes (-12.5)
The Miami Hurricanes didn’t even play that well last week, at least not offensively, and they still dropped the hammer down on the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Sure, the Buckeyes aren’t the dominant team they’ve had in the past, but they aren’t a bunch of slouches either. This could be a bit of a let down game for the Hurricanes, or they could just come out and play pretty well. If they get anywhere close to their talent potential on Saturday, it’s going to be a very long day for the Wildcats down in Miami.
I think it will be Miami’s defense that really shuts down the Wildcats. Offensively, look for a heavy rushing attack from Miami – that’s their group to lean on.
Florida State Seminoles @ Clemson Tigers (-1.5)
Clemson is coming off a pretty big win, and that’s pretty scary – especially when they’re facing a more talented team that just lost to Oklahoma in a pretty good game. Yes, this is my least favorite pick of the week – but I have to say, it’s Clemson’s ability to put points on the board that has me on board with them.
Florida State still hasn’t done anything too impressive, except for playing tight with an elite Oklahoma team. Clemson’s defense is decent, however, and if it’s a shootout, I think the Tigers have the advantage. But I’m scared of this one, heck, I wouldn’t put much of the live savings down on this one.
I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Ohio State, and they’re still missing key contributors that should make them a touchdown dog at least against Miami. The Hurricanes get their quarterback back this week, and Harris definitely has some bad decisions he made (both in last years game and in the off season) to make up for in his first game back. He’s a really good college quarterback, and I think he’ll show that all season. This game also fits my “take the lower rated favorite” criteria.
Ohio State Buckeyes @ Miami Hurricanes (-2.5)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Miami Hurricanes Hyundai Sun Bowl Pick: I like what Notre Dame did down the stretch a lot more than I like what Miami did to end their season. Neither team met expectations as Miami stumbled from a solid pre-season ranking to finish 7-5 and unranked in the Top 25. Notre Dame finished strong, but losses to Tulsa and Navy (they got killed by Navy) weren’t very impressive. They also finished out of the Top 25.
But both teams have plenty of talent, that’s for sure. And both teams are in the midst of a culture change. Sure, Notre Dame has been working with a new coach all season long, but they’re still learning their way with the new HC. Miami’s head coach got the axe and it all starts new in Miami.
The Hurricanes didn’t really end the season terribly, but two straight losses didn’t help their coach’s cause, as Virginia Tech and South Florida both came into Miami and beat the ‘Canes. Miami really had disappointments all season long, losing a game to Virginia and never really beating a “good” team. Jacory Harris had some pre-season Heisman hype, but he really had a disappointing season as he nearly matched his touchdowns (14) with interceptions (12). He was injured a bit, but his inconsistency was obvious. He’s expected to be healthy enough to play in this game, which should give the Canes a boost, but I don’t think it will be enough.
Notre Dame played the Michigan State Spartans really tough, losing by a field goal in overtime in mid-September. But it wasn’t until November 11th, against Utah, that the Irish got a good win. They easily out-played the Utes, winning 28-3, and they haven’t looked back since. They beat Army 27-3 then went to USC to oust the Trojans 20-16 to end their season on a high note. They have some key injuries (RB, Armando Allen – QB, Dayne Crist – TE, Kyle Rudolph among others) but it’s nothing like Miami’s long list of health problems.
I just see the Irish building on their solid end to the season while Miami continues to struggle with consistency.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+3) @ Miami Hurricanes
Week 12 NCAA Football Virginia Tech Hokies @ Miami Hurricanes Pick: The Hurricanes are an obscure team, to say the least. They can get killed by Florida State, meander past Duke at a medium pace, lost to Virginia, barely skip by Maryland, and slam Georgia Tech. They turned the ball over a ton against a good Ohio State team – and they only lost by 12. They could really play well in this game, or turn the ball over a lot and struggle with consistency.
Stephen Morris, not pre-season Heisman hopeful Jacory Harris, led the Hurricanes in their drubbing of Georgia Tech last week. I’m not sure if Harris is the better option for the Canes or not, he’s got big play ability, but his interceptions almost match his touchdown tosses this year. But it’s doubtful that he’ll be playing on Saturday. And the Hokies defense is a different beast than Morris faced last weekend. A big key to this game will be Morris’s performance against that D. If the Canes can’t run well, they’ll have to rely on Morris to move the ball – I guess that’s a big reason why I’m taking the Hokies.
I know the Hurricanes have a long list of injury woes and that could hurt them down the stretch run of the season. That’s yet another things factoring into my decision here. Virginia Tech has played very well since their early season struggles, and Tyrod Taylor has become a very good college quarterback. I like what I’ve seen, and I’m sticking with the Hokies.
#16 Virginia Tech Hokies (-2.5) @ #24 Miami Hurricanes
North Carolina Tar Heels @ Miami Hurricanes Point Spread Pick: The Tar Heels, underdogs in each of their last three meetings with Miami, have won each of their last three games against the Canes. That guarantees very little, but the Tar Heels get a little boost when playing the Canes, and despite all the allegations and suspensions, the Heels are putting together a pretty solid season. They have won 4 straight, and played well against both ranked opponents they’ve played thus far, losing by 6 to LSU and Georgia Tech to start the season They haven’t played anybody tough in the last four weeks, their best win maybe being Clemson or Rutgers, but they’re figuring out ways to win.
T.J. Yates has been super efficient, completing 67% of his passes for 1495 yards and 11 touchdowns to just 1 interception. He seems to understand the team is relying on him to both make big plays and make sure he doesn’t put his defense in bad spots. The Heels don’t rank out in the Top 20 in any single category, but they are pretty solid against the pass, allowing just 177.5 yards per game.
The Hurricanes can put up points quickly when they are going well, and when they’re off, they give the ball up like it’s their job. Honestly, that’s the only reason the Buckeyes beat the Canes earlier in the year. They aren’t discipline with the ball. Jacory Harris is a big time playmaker at the QB position for the Hurricanes, but his 11 touchdowns to 9 interceptions show that he doesn’t protect the ball well enough. North Carolina’s secondary is good enough to take advantage when Harris makes a mistake.
With these things combined, I am Captain Planet, wait, I mean I am picking the Tar Heels.
North Carolina Tar Heels (+7) @ #25 Miami Hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes @ Clemson Tigers Week 5 NCAA Football Pick: The Clemson Tigers are better than I thought they’d be, which sits in consistent mis-judging trough of most Clemson teams I’ve ever dealt with. Yes, one way or another, the Tigers have surprised me. Sometimes I think they are going to be good, fight for an ACC crown, and sure enough they tumble to the wayside without so much as challenge. Other times I think they are going to struggle all season, but they come out and stun a couple teams early and get me that way. They are out to get me, that much I know.
But Miami is good enough to get them either way. The Hurricanes played terrible three weeks ago at Ohio State, but lost to one of the Nation’s best teams by just 12 points… on the road. They walked into a tough place to play, home of the Pitt Panthers, and spanked them at home on Thursday Night – shutting down their Heisman hopeful running back and putting up 31 points to their field goal. If Miami is on, they can beat anyone in college football. I don’t think the sportsbooks give them that kind of credit.
Kyle Parker has been decent for the Tigers, and the rushing game has been okay (though they only outrushed Presbyterian and North Texas by 120 combined yards) –but this Clemson team does not have an attack like Miami’s. Defensively, the Tigers gave up 424 yards of offense to Auburn, but they also put up 400+ of their own. Running back Andre Ellington busted 22 carries for 140 yards, and Parker threw for 220 and a couple touchdowns. They are no walk in the park, and maybe good value at home in this ACC match-up, but I just see Miami as one of the best teams around, and games like this is where they’ll show it.
Miami Hurricanes (-3) @ Clemson Tigers