What a performance. Players and coaches ignored the noise and stepped up. The Canes controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Miami's offensive line paved the way for a huge night for both Duke Johnson and Gus Edwards. On defense, the intensity and energy was obvious. The Canes forced three fumbles and pressured the quarterback all night. Al Golden even channeled Les Miles with some questionable clock management that somehow turned into an incredible touchdown to finish the first half. The Canes had it all working on Thursday night.
"If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges." - Pat Riley
All season long, I've been urging everyone to stay positive and focus on the games ahead. I picked Miami to win by two scores and was quickly mocked across Al Gore's Internet. Being "Mr. Glass Half Full" isn't easy after three straight road losses, but after a blowout win in Blacksburg, I feel somewhat vindicated. The Coastal is still very winnable for the Hurricanes. Let's take this one game at a time. Buy your tickets for next Saturday afternoon against UNC. Miami has a few extra days to "study, prepare, and write papers" for the Tar Heels. Go Canes.
My picks started off well this past weekend. I was dreaming big dreams sitting at 8-4 with six night games left on Saturday. In classic John Pickens fashion, I lost all six and finished the week 8-10. My house sounded like the Bears postgame locker room. The frustration kept building throughout the night, as I was left searching for answers once again. That being said, I won my "Spend your Tuesdays with the Sun Belt" pick on ULL, and won big by picking Miami in last night's contest. Those two wins have me right back where I belong. #PreciseMediocrity - 59-59-1 on the season. I'm picking an odd number of games this weekend to try to make a move in either direction, but that likely means I'll have one, three, or five ties instead. It's time to build off the momentum and excitement from Miami's big win.
BOISE STATE -7 vs Byu 9pm - ESPN - FRIDAY
BYU has struggled without their leader, injured star QB Taysom Hill. The Cougars have lost three straight and things won't get easier for BYU on the blue turf. Boise State is down a bit this season, but RB Jay Ajayi and QB Grant Hedrick will do just enough to pull away in the second half. BYU's slide continues.
CINCINNATI -10 vs South Florida 7pm - ESPN2 - FRIDAY
Gunner Kiel and the Bearcats should have a huge night in the passing game. USF will fall behind early and won't be able to mount a comeback two weeks in a row.
OREGON -17.5 at California 10pm - FS1 - FRIDAY
I love Cal's uniforms tonight, but they won't get the Bears any defensive stops. Oregon has it rolling right now and RB Royce Freeman has emerged as a star to complement QB Marcus Mariota. The Ducks win big despite a decent outing from Cal QB Jared Goff.
KANSAS STATE -10 vs Texas 12pm - ESPN
Kansas State is nearly unbeatable at home. I've been to a noon game in Manhattan and Texas will be in trouble. QB Jake Waters stays hot and the Wildcats continue to be a dark horse in the Playoff race.
MARYLAND +10.5 at Wisconsin 12pm - BTN
Maryland is underrated this season. The Terps will put up points against Wisconsin and I expect this game to be a shootout. The team with the ball last wins. I still don't trust the QB situation for the Badgers and think Maryland has a chance to pull the upset.
MINNESOTA -5.5 at Illinois 12pm - ESPNU
Illinois is 0-3 in the Big Ten and can't stop anyone. The Gophers will run the ball effectively and control this game up front. Jerry Kill's team moves to 7-1 and becomes the favorite in the Big Ten West. GOPHER the jugular.
NORTH CAROLINA +7 at Virginia 1230pm - ACC Network
UNC can score on anyone. Virginia hasn't been efficient on offense and doesn't have enough firepower to beat the Tar Heels by two scores. The final margin will be 4 points or less and I won't be surprised if UNC wins outright.
MICHIGAN +17 at Michigan State 330pm - ABC
No one is giving Michigan a chance in this rivalry game. I expect the Wolverines to rise to the occasion and at least keep it competitive. Brady Hoke might even throw on a headset in the second half if a victory is still within reach.
STANFORD -13 vs Oregon State 330pm - ESPN2
At some point this season, Stanford will put it all together. I will continue to pick David Shaw's team and lose until that happens. Oregon State won't be able to move the ball consistently against a stout Stanford defense. The Cardinal dominate this game from start to finish and stay alive in the Pac 12 North.
TEXAS TECH +23 at Tcu 330pm - FOX
TCU is due for a bit of a letdown after the thriller against Baylor and the blowout win over OKST. Texas Tech and QB Davis Webb will put up just enough points to keep this final score within three touchdowns.
WEST VIRGINIA +1 at Oklahoma State 330pm - ESPN
West Virginia is better on both sides of the ball. Even after being blown out at TCU, OKST is still overrated. QB Daxx Garman isn't good enough to keep pace with Clint Trickett and the Mountaineers offense. WVU's stud WR's make big plays all afternoon.
PITTSBURGH -3 vs Georgia Tech 330pm - ESPNU
Pittsburgh got back on track last week and RB James Conner will have another big game. Georgia Tech has lost two straight games and is vulnerable on defense.
OLE MISS -3.5 at Lsu 715pm - ESPN
The Rebels have been the most impressive team this season in my opinion. LSU is improving, but the Ole Miss defense will make things difficult for Les Miles and his young quarterbacks. Bo Wallace continues to play well and Ole Miss stays perfect.
AUBURN -19 vs South Carolina 730pm - SECN
According to ESPN's announcers, Duke Williams had a lot of carries last night. If he isn't too tired on Saturday night, the Tigers blow out South Carolina.
OHIO STATE -14 at Penn State 8pm - ABC
J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes are the hottest team in the country. Penn State's offense will struggle all night and Urban Meyer's team will stay on a collision course with Michigan State.
UTAH pk vs Southern California 10pm - FS1
Utah is quietly 5-1 and gaining confidence each week. The Utes pull out a close game thanks to a better defense and a few plays on special teams.
WASHINGTON +3.5 vs Arizona State 1045pm - ESPN
I expect Cyler Miles to start at QB for the Huskies, despite being questionable at the moment. This will be a close game throughout so I'm going with UW playing at home.