Throughout my time at State of the U, the term "Golden Pick" has been used to describe my favorite picks of each week. The results nearly mirrored Miami's performance on the field. I had a strong start to 2013, but faded late. I struggled through a difficult 2014. In 2015, I finished with an 11-10 record. When I entered Sun Life Stadium to watch the Canes play Clemson, I had no idea the "Era of the Golden Pick" was about to end. To understand how I felt during the second half of the 58-0 loss, watch Ben Carson debate tonight: a slow and painful experience you just wish would end. It's time to start anew.
The moment you've been waiting for is finally here. Introducing: THE SCOTT PICK. Calling it the "COACH TBD PICK" was considered, but I decided to show some loyalty to new Canes head coach Larry Scott. The record has been reset to 0-0 and I'm anxious for the opportunity to build some new momentum. Coach Scott and I will start our own winning streaks from this weekend forward.
We've now entered the speculation season that always comes after a coaching change. With the state of social media in 2015, the absurdity that is a college football coaching search has now been amplified. You will have to endure ridiculous hot takes from trolls like Paul Finebaum about the quality of the position. We will all become body language experts with a masters in linguistics, Did you see the way Coach X looked when he denied being interested in the Miami job? You could tell in his voice that Coach Y really is considering coming down to Coral Gables, he's just saying what he has to right now. We're at a time when Ed Reed jokingly saying he'd "listen" if Miami was interested ends up as a front page story on every sports website in America. In the next few weeks, don't be surprised to see planes being tracked again. Every agent with a college football coaching client will make sure to tell just enough people that his guy would love the Miami job. I'll be consuming all of this with you, but for now, remember that UM still has five games remaining. Go Canes.
Miami vs Duke - 7pm - Saturday
On Halloween night, the Canes will try to rally around each other and beat the 6-1 Blue Devils. There still isn't a line listed for this matchup because of the uncertainty around Brad Kaaya's availability. If Kaaya is cleared and able to start, Miami's chances of winning increase dramatically. James Coley has said he expects a better outing from Malik Rosier on Saturday if needed, but the reality is Rosier looked lost against Clemson. He'd be making his first career start and doing it on the road against a statistically good defense. If Kaaya is ruled out, Miami's defense will have to step up and keep Saturday night's matchup low scoring. The Canes will need to establish a running game to prevent Rosier from being in obvious passing situations.
Duke's biggest question mark is their schedule. The Blue Devils have six wins, but all five FBS teams they defeated currently have a losing record - Tulane (2-5), Army (2-6), BC (3-5), Georgia Tech (3-5), Virginia Tech (3-5). Duke's QB Thomas Sirk has improved as the season has gone on. His mobility keeps plays alive and gives David Cutcliffe options in the running game. Sirk has at least 9 rushing attempts in every game and leads his team in rushing yards.
I will update the line later in the week once it's listed. This game will be a significant challenge for Miami both emotionally and physically. Larry Scott has said all the right things so far. I'm hoping the continuity of keeping the rest of the coaches in place will help the Canes in preparation. If Brad Kaaya is able to play, Miami will be the best offense Duke has seen this season.
My weeknight picks have been hideous. I should probably just stop picking games on Thursdays and Fridays, but I decided to give it another try. Here are six more in what might be my final attempt to turn things around.
PITTSBURGH +3 vs North Carolina - 7pm
WEST VIRGINIA +14 at Tcu - 730pm
BUFFALO -7.5 at Miami Ohio - 730pm
ARIZONA STATE -2.5 vs Oregon - 1030pm
LOUISVILLE -12 at Wake Forest - 7pm
WYOMING +28 at Utah State - 1015pm
I've done my best work on Saturdays this season. For this week, since there is so much information to read about the Hurricanes on State of the U, I won't be including commentary on each game. I want to keep my readers fresh for the stretch run in November. If you have any specific questions or strongly disagree with a pick, I'd be happy to address them individually in the comment section.
TEXAS A&M -16.5 vs South Carolina - 12pm
CENTRAL MICHIGAN -2 at Akron - 2pm
TULSA -3.5 at Smu - 4pm
HOUSTON -11.5 vs Vanderbilt - 7pm