Among my friends that are Canes fans, I am known as Mr. Optimistic. Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, I remain confident in Al Golden, Donna Shalala, Blake James, and the 2013 Hurricanes football team. Hopefully the news is positive and the program can return to a sense of normalcy, but I'm prepared for anything. If the NCAA comes down hard on Miami, despite all of the issues with the investigation, DO NOT panic. There is an appeals process and other options for the University if necessary. Rather than complain about the length of the investigation or complain about the NCAA's role, try to take comfort in the following fact. By tomorrow morning, the "cloud of uncertainty" surrounding Miami will finally be over. Any type of closure is better than having to wait for extended periods of time. The media coverage will be huge for the next few days, but come Saturday, all that matters is 60 minutes of ACC football.
Miami is 6-0, ranked 6th in the Coaches Poll and 7th in the AP Poll. The Canes are 7th in the BCS standings and have two huge games coming up in November. Earlier this season, I told a story about my friend approaching Al Golden at a fundraiser. He told Al the following: "If you win, people will come. If you win, South Florida will unite and support the Canes." This team has done everything a fan could ask for and more, showing maturity and dramatic improvement from a season ago.
Miami's game against Wake Forest will now get more attention as a result of the coverage of the NCAA release. Wake will be ready for the chance to shock the nation. QB Tanner Price is a senior and has a lot of ACC experience. Miami needs to get Stephen Morris back on track and limit turnovers. Please support the Canes on Saturday and come out to Sun Life Stadium. Coach Golden is doing everything he can to prevent his players from looking ahead to FSU on November 2nd. ABC will be broadcasting the UM FSU showdown in primetime and the hype will be massive. Avoiding a potential trap game will be much easier if Canes players see the stands full and excited on Saturday for the Wake game. Embrace noon kickoffs. One game at a time. Full Speed Ahead.
I went 7-6 last week in picks, with a 6-4 record on Saturday. UCF finally got me a weeknight win and exposed Louisville on Friday night. I apologize for losing my Golden Pick in embarrassing fashion. The Gators were dominated throughout by Missouri in a game that was nearly unwatchable. I underestimated the impact of Florida’s injuries on defense. Follow me @JPickens15 for better Golden Picks and stadium thoughts all season.
What I Learned
For future reference, I have moved Iowa State to my "banned teams" list. Coach Paul Rhoads was SO PROUD of his team in years past, but Saturday night's 71-7 loss at Baylor was a disgrace.
Florida State is a very scary football team. Winston looked even better than when I saw him live against Pitt. Clemson is going to struggle emotionally for several weeks.
Duke is becoming one of my favorite teams. I've won with the Blue Devils two straight weeks, thanks to a comeback victory over Mike London and struggling Virginia. If the Canes don't pound UVA this year, I give up.
UNLV made just enough plays to lose by only 24 on Saturday night. Nice job by the Rebels salvaging a winning week for Mr. Pickens.
Spend Your Tuesday With The Sun Belt
Bobby Petrino ruined my first Tuesday night pick so I need to bounce back. If you don't love Arkansas State football, tune into this game because the halftime show will lead with a discussion about Miami and the NCAA.
LOUISIANA LAFAYETTE -2.5 at Arkansas State 8pm – ESPN2 – TUESDAY
ULL soundly beat Western Kentucky last Tuesday. I was impressed with the poise and leadership of QB Terrance Broadway. Arkansas State has struggled this season without Gus Malzahn at the helm. QB Adam Kennedy played well in a recent win over Idaho, but the Ragin Cajuns’ defense will be able to force turnovers. ULL has won four consecutive games and confidence is building around the program. Don’t discount the advantage ULL has in playing back-to-back Tuesday night games. The atmosphere and situation will be familiar. I expect the Cajuns to win by 10 or more.