There are plenty of ugly stats to demonstrate Miami's struggles on the road in recent years, but one bothers me the most. The Canes have lost at Virginia three straight times. In 2010, 2012, and 2014, Virginia went 3-0 against Miami and 3-18 against the rest of the ACC. The inability to win in Charlottesville in those three seasons is simply unacceptable. It's time to end this embarrassing streak tomorrow.
Miami's win against Pittsburgh helped heal some of the wounds of a brutal October. I was excited for the players who desperately needed something positive to happen. These next three games are all very winnable and an 8-4 record is the new goal at this point. Finishing 8-4 (5-3 ACC) isn't what fans were hoping for to start the year, but would exceed the expectations from Las Vegas, where preseason win totals were set at 7 or 7.5.
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
My stats table isn't updated yet, but I did put together another narrow winning weekend. Including weeknight games the past few days, I'm 17-14 since my last article. As we've all seen this week, projecting and predicting things can be very difficult. I've spent time reanalyzing all of the information available to me to help make my picks this week. I'm looking at fans by demographics, age, education, income, and school colors, searching for a hidden edge. All of the data will be thrown in my proprietary model as I keep trying to climb back to 50 percent on the season. According to the model, there is a 70 percent chance I go 11-9 this week, with a three game margin of error.
MIAMI -10.5 at Virginia - 2pm (Yes, sadly it really starts at 2pm)
The Cavs are 2-7 and have lost four consecutive games. At home this season, Virginia is 1-4 with the lone win coming against Central Michigan. A strong performance against Louisville a few weeks ago should scare the Hurricanes slightly, but this is a still a game Miami should win easily. UVA QB Kurt Benkert threw four interceptions last week in a loss to Wake Forest. Miami’s defense has been making plays under Manny Diaz and I expect the Canes to force a few turnovers tomorrow afternoon.
Virginia’s defense is allowing 445 yards per game and Brad Kaaya is coming off his best game of the season - 356 yards and 4 TD against Pittsburgh. The concern is with Miami’s offense line heading into Charlottesville. After playing very well last week, the Canes will now have to replace two injured starters - LT Trevor Darling and C Nick Linder. Alex Gall and Tyler Gauthier need to step up and protect Brad Kaaya on Saturday. Expect Virginia to blitz often hoping to confuse them. Look for big games from Njoku, Richards, and Coley, as all three should be matchup nightmares for Virginia’s secondary. Miami wins by 14+ and keeps the momentum going.
Baylor has the talent to keep it close against Oklahoma. I’m not reading too much into the blowout last week against TCU. Indiana will play tough at home and has a chance to beat Penn State outright. Arkansas is a reliable pick in November and LSU is coming off a physical pounding by Alabama. Washington has been nearly perfect in Seattle and will use this game to show the nation just how talented this Huskies’ team is.
INDIANA +7.5 vs Penn State - 12pm
BAYLOR +18 at Oklahoma - 12pm
ARKANSAS +6.5 vs Lsu - 7pm
WASHINGTON -9 vs Usc - 730pm
I’m relying on some of my favorite teams this week - Wyoming and Tulsa. South Carolina has been better lately, but won’t be able to score on Florida’s defense. Texas will win another close game and keep Charlie Strong safe for now. Auburn and Texas A&M will both win in the SEC against struggling Ole Miss and Georgia. Texas Tech will be lucky to stop Oklahoma State once on Saturday. I haven’t been taking Michigan enough - the Wolverines will pour it on in Iowa City and continue to dominate until the showdown with Ohio State. Tennessee is still vastly overrated and won’t be able to blow out Kentucky. Enjoy your weekend.
UCF -12 vs Cincinnati - 12pm
EAST CAROLINA -7 vs Smu - 12pm
TULSA +2 at Navy - 12pm
KENTUCKY +13.5 at Tennessee - 12pm
FLORIDA -11 vs South Carolina - 12pm
TEXAS -1.5 vs West Virginia - 12pm
PITTSBURGH +21.5 at Clemson
OKLAHOMA STATE -12.5 vs Texas Tech - 330pm
WYOMING -7.5 at Unlv - 330pm
AUBURN -10 at Georgia - 330pm
ILLINOIS +25 at Wisconsin - 330pm
TEXAS A&M -10 vs Mississippi - 730pm
MICHIGAN -22.5 at Iowa - 8pm
UCLA -11 vs Oregon State - 9pm
CALIFORNIA +15.5 at Washington State - 1030pm