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Miami Notre Dame - Throw Out The Records

Saturday’s game is still very important to both fan bases. A win over Notre Dame would help the Canes regroup and finish strong in November.

Hyundai Sun Bowl -  Notre Dame v Miami Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Manny Diaz basically wrote my article with his quotes - via

“They’re being told, at Miami, you get judged on whether you beat Notre Dame or not. If you don’t beat Notre Dame, it’s a failure,” Diaz said. “It’s a big deal. It’s a big thing in this university. It’s a big thing in this town. If we’re both 12-0 or 0-12, playing here, there or on the moon, Miami must beat Notre Dame.”

Growing up as a Miami fan from birth, I woke up every Saturday with three favorite teams: The Canes, whatever team Florida was playing, and whatever team Notre Dame was playing. Even though Miami and Notre Dame didn't play for decades, the impact and legacy of the rivalry during the 1980's is still fresh in the minds of many fans. Miami lost an embarrassing game to the Irish in the Sun Bowl in 2010 and was dominated again in 2012 in Chicago (a game I sadly attended in freezing conditions). It's time for some payback. Notre Dame would be in serious danger of missing a bowl game if Miami wins this weekend. Having the Irish end their season on November 26th would bring a smile to my face.

MIAMI -2.5 at Notre Dame - 330pm

Miami is 4-3 and Notre Dame is 2-5, but none of that matters on Saturday. Both teams have had extra time to prepare, with Miami playing on Thursday and the Irish coming off a bye. Both teams have quarterbacks that entered the season with high NFL draft grades, but Brad Kaaya and DeShone Kizer have struggled more than expected. Kaaya isn't throwing the ball deep as much as he did in 2015. Mark Richt's offense has relied more heavily on short passes, partially due to the disappointing performance of an offensive line that allowed eight sacks against Virginia Tech. In Miami's three straight losses, Kaaya and the offense haven't cracked 20 points, a streak we haven't seen since 2011. Fortunately for the Canes, Notre Dame's defense has been a mess all season, which led to the firing of DC Brian VanGorder last month. It might seem like the Irish have turned things around on defense, but the NCST game was played in a monsoon and Stanford's offense is among the worst in the nation. Notre Dame ranks 125th in sacks, with just SIX in seven games played.

Miami's defense looked like a scout team at times against Virginia Tech, literally running out of players to plug in. The injuries all piled up at the wrong time and the Canes were left short-handed on the road. In South Bend, Manny Diaz will have a least a few key contributors back and healthy enough to play. Notre Dame's running game has disappointed Brian Kelly this season and I expect Miami's defense to continue to make plays in the backfield. At 4-3, the Canes probably don't deserve the national stage, but playing Notre Dame allows for that opportunity. Mark Richt's team will bounce back and win by a touchdown on the road.

I went 10-12 this past week and still find myself staring into the abyss. I'm dramatically underperforming my numbers from 2015, and even look worse than I did in 2014. In games involving an ACC team or an SEC team, I'm a very impressive 41-28-3. In games involving a team from the Big Ten or Big 12, my record is a truly incredible 15-40-1. In the fiercely competitive battleground of the Pac 12, I'm exactly 50% on the year. The few supporters I have left are urging me to only pick games from the ACC and SEC, but I refuse to abandon half of the country. No one has more respect for the Big Ten and Big 12 than I do. I still very much believe I can stage a dramatic comeback.

Week after week of losses has dampened my enthusiasm. Readership is falling. The Canes have lost three games in a row and my message just isn't being heard anymore. From now on, I will strive to only highlight the positive stats. You can't trust most numbers and data anyway. As far I'm concerned, the only number that matters on my stats table is my 7-4-2 record in neutral site games. I may not finish this season with a winning record overall, but I'll be very confident in my abilities to triumph this bowl season.

Thursday Night

PITTSBURGH +4 vs Virginia Tech - 7pm

OHIO +17 at Toledo - 730pm

CALIFORNIA +19 at Use - 1030pm

Friday Night

SOUTH FLORIDA -6 vs Navy - 7pm

SAN DIEGO STATE -6.5 at Utah State - 8pm

Pitt should be able to stay close with Virginia Tech at home. The ACC is my best conference so hopefully that continues. Ohio is better than most people think and can stay competitive at Toledo. The Cal USC line is insane and I'm clearly falling into a trap, but I won't be intimidated. USF and SDSU have too much talent for Navy and Utah State.


MICHIGAN -24 at Michigan State - 12pm

NORTHWESTERN +26.5 at Ohio State - 330pm

WYOMING +14 vs Boise State - 7pm

ARIZONA +5.5 vs Stanford - 11pm

Michigan and Jim Harbaugh will run the score up as much as possible at Michigan State. This is the year to make a statement in this rivalry. Northwestern is a team with momentum and will do enough to stay within 20 in Columbus. Wyoming has been my team all season and won’t be intimidated by the Broncos, especially in Laramie. Any chance to pick against Stanford is an easy decision. Arizona has both quarterbacks back from injury as well.

Saturday Picks

EAST CAROLINA -6.5 vs Uconn - 12pm

PURDUE +13 vs Penn State - 12pm

VIRGINIA +33 vs Louisville - 12pm

OKLAHOMA STATE +3.5 vs West Virginia - 12pm

KENTUCKY +5 at Missouri - 12pm

INDIANA -5 vs Maryland - 330pm

BAYLOR -3.5 at Texas - 330pm

GEORGIA +7.5 vs Florida - 330pm

WASHINGTON -9.5 at Utah - 330pm

NEBRASKA +8 at Wisconsin - 7pm

AUBURN -4.5 at Ole Miss - 715pm

TENNESSEE -13.5 at South Carolina - 715pm

CLEMSON -4.5 at Florida State - 8pm

TULSA +6.5 at Memphis

WASHINGTON STATE -13.5 at Oregon State - 1045pm

Penn State might be caught sleepwalking at Purdue after the huge win over Ohio State. Lamar Jackson will have another huge game, but 33 points is too many. In the Big 12, I expect Baylor to beat a reeling Texas and for OKST to potentially upset West Virginia. Washington is for real and the Huskies will take advantage of the national spotlight surrounding this matchup. Wisconsin’s offense isn’t explosive and the Badgers will have trouble blowing out the Huskers. With Florida’s inept offense, I’ll happily pick Georgia getting slightly more than a touchdown. I’m hopping on the Auburn bandwagon against an Ole Miss team that is tired and heading in the wrong direction. Florida State has the talent to beat Clemson, but the Noles have been too inconsistent this season. Watson leads his team to a win in the 2nd half.

Enjoy your college football weekend.