“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” - John F. Kennedy
The loss to Florida State was incredibly disappointing. There are no moral victories to take from it. Miami was expected to win and was in complete control in the first half yet again. Brad Kaaya’s interception seemed to happen in slow motion in the stadium as I watched in disbelief, trying to comprehend what he was seeing when he threw it. Watching Mark Walton’s touchdown get called back was tough to handle, but paled in comparison to the emotional rollercoaster of Miami’s final drive.
Braxton Berrios stepped up with a huge punt return and the Canes took advantage with a beautiful 4th-down throw from Kaaya to Coley to cut the lead to 20-19. Thirty seconds of pure jubilation suddenly came to a halt as Florida State blocked the extra point. I thought about Brian Monroe dropping the snap on a 27-yard FG that would’ve tied the game in 2005 in Tallahassee. I had flashbacks to Miami’s 2011 loss to Kansas State, when Jacory Harris scored a 4th-down touchdown that won the game, before having it overturned by replay just moments later.
Unfortunately in college football, losses like this can happen. The Canes will have to wait another year to end Florida State’s winning streak in the rivalry. Miami’s players and fans need to move on and focus on North Carolina and the rest of the season. The energy inside Hard Rock Stadium was incredible on Saturday night. Let’s try to bring something close to that each and every week. And by the way, to the small group of fans throwing bottles on the field after a bad call, please stop making the rest of us look terrible.
“Forget the past - the future will give you plenty to worry about.” - George Allen Sr.
The loss to Florida State needs to immediately be forgotten, especially with so much left to play for. Miami’s path to the ACC Championship game is simple. If the Canes win the six remaining conference games, they’ll earn a trip to Orlando, likely to play Clemson. Miami is a 7-point favorite this week and will be favored against NCST, Virginia, Duke, and Pittsburgh. The line at Virginia Tech next week will be small, depending on how the Canes look against UNC.
North Carolina is far better than last week’s 34-3 loss to Virginia Tech would seem to indicate. The weather won’t be an issue on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, with a near-perfect day forecast for kickoff. UNC RB Elijah Hood should be back this week and the Tar Heels have a more talented group of WR’s than Florida State. Miami’s defense was very impressive against the Noles and will need another strong performance. Jamal Carter is out for the first half so Sheldrick Redwine and Jaquan Johnson will need to step up.
Miami’s offense must play significantly better tomorrow if the Canes are going to beat UNC. The offensive line struggled against FSU and gave up sacks despite being in max-protect. The running game never got going and Miami was probably too conservative with play-calling, staying with short passes for the most part. Fortunately for Miami, North Carolina’s defense doesn’t have an interception on the season and is giving up 31.5 points per game.
I avoided picking the game this week because I’m admittedly concerned about some of the injuries Miami is dealing with. I expect a Canes win, but the margin of victory might be just 3-6 points.
Last week’s picks brought good news and bad news. The good news is my overall winning percentage increased. The bad news is I went 10-11-1 and still can’t buy a successful week. After Miami’s loss, my frustration began to boil over. I workshopped sending tweets blaming everyone for my struggles: Anderson Cooper, the elite college football media (ESPN & FS1), and individual schools rigging games against me. Fortunately my staff managed to steal my iPhone for a few days.
This week’s picks are being published a day later than usual, which showed me just how terrible my results have been. The only people who reached out asking where the picks were admitted they just wanted to use the opposite of whatever I was predicting. I thought about having my libel attorneys send out threatening letters about impending legal action, but decided against it. Winning on the field is my only option. Enjoy your college football weekend.
I feel very confident in all four Richt Picks. Utah has been able to overcome numerous injuries and should be able to dominate Oregon State up front. Ole Miss and Chad Kelly should put up huge numbers against a dreadful Arkansas defense. Notre Dame and Stanford are both struggling, but I think the Fighting Irish rally together at home. Wisconsin doesn’t have enough firepower on offense to keep pace with Ohio State. I always trust Urban Meyer to have his teams ready to play in big games like this.
RICHT PICKS - All Saturday games
UTAH -9 at Oregon State - 4pm
OLE MISS -7.5 at Arkansas - 7pm
NOTRE DAME -3 vs Stanford - 730pm
OHIO STATE -11 at Wisconsin - 8pm
Tonight, I’m hoping Duke can do just enough to lose by 28. BYU has momentum after the win at Michigan State last week and Provo is a tough place to play. SDSU will win easily led by star RB Donnel Pumphrey.
DUKE +35 at Louisville - 7pm
MEMPHIS -10.5 at Tulane - 8pm
SAN DIEGO STATE -17 at Fresno State - 10pm
BYU -7 vs Mississippi State - 1015pm
After losing last week to Michigan 78-0, I would’ve picked nearly anyone playing against Rutgers tomorrow. Texas Tech wins a shootout at home against an overrated West Virginia. Indiana’s defense will keep the game close and Nebraska should be on upset alert on the road. Tennessee will bring just enough magic to hang around against Alabama in Knoxville. I expect FSU to crush Wake Forest. Rice is one of the worst teams in the nation and UTSA should win easily. Despite no one believing, Arizona State keeps finding ways to win and won’t be blown out in Boulder. Washington State is too unpredictable to trust as a large favorite at home.
PURDUE +11.5 vs Iowa - 12pm
ILLINOIS -6 at Rutgers - 12pm
OKLAHOMA -13.5 vs Kansas State - 12pm
TEXAS TECH +1 vs West Virginia - 12pm
PITTSBURGH -3.5 at Virginia - 1230pm
NORTHWESTERN +7 at Michigan State - 330pm
INDIANA +3.5 vs Nebraska - 330pm
TENNESSEE +12.5 vs Alabama - 330pm
FLORIDA STATE -20.5 vs Wake Forest - 330pm
USC -9.5 at Arizona - 330pm
FLORIDA -13.5 vs Missouri - 4pm
IOWA STATE +13.5 at Texas - 7pm
UTSA -3.5 at Rice - 7pm
ARIZONA STATE +12.5 at Colorado - 8pm
UCLA +7.5 at Washington State - 1030pm