Miami Pitt Pick - Shopping for Friday's Winners

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Friday should be a great day of college football. The Canes have a chance to finish the regular season at 9-3. I pick and preview five games, including Miami's trip to Pittsburgh. I expect my first Apple Cup to be a success and hope Woo Pig Sooie can hang around in Baton Rouge.

In yesterday’s article, I talked about my dilemma on Friday afternoon. I’ll be inside Husky Stadium watching the Apple Cup while Miami is playing Pittsburgh. Thanks to some help from the UW ticket office, I figured out a way to grab some seats in Club Husky, where I’ll be able to watch both games at once. My orange Miami shirt will be on under my coat and sweatshirt. Go Canes.

Here are my five picks for Friday’s action. Get your shopping done at 6am so you can settle down on the couch for some college football. I’ll be posting my picks for Saturday at some point tomorrow. Plan on taking a break from your turkey and stuffing preparation to check out who the Golden Pick is. Enjoy Thanksgiving and watch Texas and Ole Miss start my week off with two wins tomorrow night. Follow me @JPickens15 for winners, analysis, and venting after one of my picks loses.


MIAMI -2.5 at Pittsburgh   330pm - ABC

I need to pick the Canes this week. I stayed away from picking Miami against Virginia and was credited with the victory by some friends. I’m hoping that my jinxing powers aren’t as strong in cold weather.

A lot is being made about Miami’s limited depth chart at corner for Friday’s game. This isn’t a big deal in my opinion. Tracy Howard has been our best corner all year and Antonio Crawford has played well at times. Corn Elder and Nate Dortch are out and won’t be able to replace injured starter Ladarius Gunter. This shouldn’t be an excuse. Dortch and Elder barely played all season and aren’t dependable yet. Miami has struggled on defense the past few months, but corner has probably been the most stable position. The Canes haven’t been beaten deep much this year. Pitt QB Tom Savage has two talented WR, but I’ll take my chances against his vertical passing game in 25-degree weather. Pitt has one of the worst running games in the nation and won’t be able to take advantage of Miami’s porous run defense.

This game will be won up front by Miami’s offensive line. Pitt DT Aaron Donald is a star, but he doesn’t have much help. The Canes have experience and NFL talent on the O-Line and the unit has been reliable all season. I expect a dominating performance from Miami’s running game, led by RB Dallas Crawford. WR Stacy Coley will make a big play in the screen game again and Stephen Morris will find his reliable third-down target WR Allen Hurns in key situations. Al Golden won’t tolerate any excuses about the weather and will lead his team to a nice road victory. Miami still has a shot at the Coastal and players will be motivated to keep that dream alive.

Enjoy Miami’s win on Friday, then sit back on Saturday and root for North Carolina and Virginia.

Iowa at NEBRASKA -3 12pm - ABC

Bo Pelini has some magic working this season. His team has been able to pull out every close game. Nebraska beat Northwestern on a hail-mary, beat Michigan by four late, and beat Penn State on the road in overtime. Huskers RB Ameer Abdullah is a terrific player and his playmaking ability might be the difference. Iowa has a good defense, but struggles to score. Expect this to be a close game throughout. The edge goes to Nebraska playing at home. Bo’s team will find a way once again.

ARKANSAS +24.5 at Lsu   230pm - CBS

In the minutes following Arizona State’s controversial win over Wisconsin, Bret Bielema’s wife Jen decided to tweet "#karma," directed at Bret’s former employer. The aftermath of that tweet is one of my favorite stories of the 2013 college football season. Wisconsin has gone 7-1 since and Arkansas has lost eight consecutive games. Life in the SEC West is absolutely brutal for a first-year HC, unless you are Gus Malzahn. Despite their record, Arkansas always plays LSU tough and this game has produced some exciting finishes in recent years. Arkansas will have success running the ball and try to keep the ball away from Zach Mettenberger. LSU is due for a letdown following a big win over Texas A&M, especially with a few weeks off upcoming before bowl season. LSU gets the win after pulling away in the second half, but the margin of victory will only be 14-20.

Washington State at WASHINGTON -14 330pm - FOX

My first Apple Cup. We probably won’t know who will start at QB for Washington until kickoff. Keith Price is still nursing a shoulder injury, but his backup Cyler Miles has played well in his absence the past two weeks. Both the Huskies and the Cougars are bowl-eligible and this game should be an exciting high-scoring matchup. UW RB Bishop Sankey should be the best player on the field Friday afternoon. The Huskies’s offensive line is playing with confidence after an absolutely dominating performance against Oregon State. WSU QB Connor Halliday has played well for most of the season, but has thrown 19 interceptions. UW’s defense will be opportunistic and capitalize on Halliday’s mistakes. I can’t wait to see Husky Stadium and I’m excited to watch Washington win by three touchdowns. I am a little biased though, because if Washington State is able to pull the upset, I’ll probably not be invited back to Seattle by my family members. The Pickens jinx is real.

Oregon State at OREGON -21 7pm - FS1

The Civil War is a strange game this season, with no big prize on the line for Oregon. Two road losses have ruined this year for the Ducks, but playing Oregon State will be enough motivation for the players. QB Marcus Mariota should have a field day against a dreadful Oregon State defense. The Beavers nearly gave up 600 yards rushing last Saturday against Washington and have lost four straight games. Oregon State can’t run the ball at all and won’t be able to threaten the Oregon defense like Arizona and RB Ka’Deem Carey did. Autzen Stadium will be rocking on Saturday night as Oregon bounces back for a dominating blowout win.

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