Georgia Tech was driving early in the second quarter following a Stephen Morris interception. The Yellow Jackets led 17-7 and Miami had turned the ball over on two of their last three plays. I kept telling myself that this team is different and kept out the doubt that would've been justified in years past. Sure enough, someone made a play to change the momentum. Justin Renfrow forced a fumble and Miami drove down the field in just over 2 minutes to cut the lead to 17-14.
The Canes showed maturity in the second half, especially on defense. Miami defended the option well when it mattered the most and a lot of credit should go to DC Mark D'Onofrio. UM's offense averaged more than ten yards a play and showed explosiveness throughout the game. The offensive line dominated in the 4th quarter and Duke Johnson showed some toughness, carrying the ball 22 times. This is a game that Miami would've lost last season. Turning the ball over four times is unacceptable, but Al Golden can take pride in his team's ability to win in spite of those mistakes. Miami has earned a bye week and Stephen Morris can rest his ailing ankle. I would like to caution Canes fans already focusing on the showdown in Tallahassee on November 2nd. Dates with North Carolina and Wake Forest still await and Miami will get every team's best shot. One week at a time, one game at a time, Full Speed Ahead.
"When adversity strikes, that's when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on." - LL Cool J
After a terrific record on picks in August and September, mean reversion hit me hard to begin October. My confidence was riding high, but I flew too close to the sun on the wings of pastrami. My jinxing power was in full effect on Thursday and Friday night. I touted the talents of Utah QB Travis Wilson and was rewarded with a six interception performance. I predicted Utah State QB Chuckie Keaton would dominate BYU, but he injured his knee early and is now out for the season. On Saturday, I led all three of the early games at the half. After Iowa collapsed and Rutgers blew a 35-14 4th quarter lead, I was left with a 1-2 start. Miami's big win over Georgia Tech improved my mood significantly as I headed home to watch the night games.
Oklahoma led 13-0 at half and the Golden Pick seemed destined to succeed once again. Unfortunately, TCU recovered an onside kick that changed momentum and kept the game close in the second half. My night would only get worse after what I am calling "The botched lateral heard round the world." By now, most of you have seen the epic disaster that was Northwestern's last play on Saturday night, which resulted in an extremely frustrating Ohio State touchdown as time expired. I sat in stunned silence and could only laugh as my phone continuously vibrated for more than ten minutes. My record on Saturday was a disappointing 3-7, but I'm taking it in stride. Bad luck was bound to find me at some point. I'm operating under the assumption that the mean reversion week is now out of my system. Keeping things in perspective, Miami is 5-0 and ranked in the top 15, which is all that really matters.
One interesting part of my statistics is the success in ACC games. My record in the conference is 15-4, which bodes well for my prediction that the Canes will win the Coastal Division. My weakness this season has been on weeknight picks, with an inexplicable 4-9 record to show for it. Maybe the shorter week of preparation is too much for me to overcome. Worlds will collide on Thursday October 17th when I am going to pick Miami over North Carolina. Hopefully my ACC success is more powerful than the perils of Thursday nights in college football. I'll try my hand at another weeknight game this week and expect Rutgers to keep things close at Louisville.
RUTGERS +17 at Louisville THURSDAY – 730pm – ESPN
I understand all the reasons why people expect a Louisville blowout. Rutgers might be tired after a triple-overtime win over SMU. Rutgers has one of the worst pass defenses in the nation and now must face QB Teddy Bridgewater. It’s not that simple. I think Coach Kyle Flood will have his team ready for the opportunity to face a top-10 team. In my opinion, Louisville isn’t nearly as good as their #8 ranking. Bridgewater may be without his leading WR DeVante Parker due to injury. Louisville runs a more traditional offense than Fresno State and SMU, the two teams Rutgers struggled to defend the pass against. This is a conference game and these teams know each other well, having played close games in recent years. Louisville hasn’t faced any adversity this season, while Rutgers has played competitive games that have come down to the wire. Rutgers will pull out all the stops to gain an edge, especially on special teams. Louisville eventually wins, but the margin will only be 7-14 points.