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Building Momentum - Miami NCST - A Fresh Start

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After two impressive wins in a row, the Canes will keep the streak going at NCST. My picks have been painful in 2016 - it’s time for an early transition to bowl season.

Miami v Virginia Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images

MIAMI -3 at NC State - 1230pm

Miami’s offensive line has gotten the job done in consecutive games, but faces a bigger challenge in Raleigh. NCST’s defensive line is one of the best in the country and the Wolfpack have stopped the run effectively all year. Thankfully for the Canes, NCST’s pass defense is vulnerable, and would be ranked even lower without the statistical benefit of playing Notre Dame in a monsoon last month. Miami has the more explosive offense and Richards, Coley, and Njoku should have room to run in the secondary. I’d be more worried if this game was being played at night. Mark Richt will have his team ready on Saturday. Miami has showed maturity the past two weeks, learning how to finish teams in the second half. Look for Manny Diaz’s defense to continue to be disruptive and add to their nation leading total of 90 tackles for loss. Despite the line being just 3, I expect the Canes to win this game by double digits and continue to build momentum. The struggles of October are in the past and Brad Kaaya has regained his confidence. I hope to see all of you at Sun Life Stadium to support the 7-4 Hurricanes and honor the seniors before the Duke game.

"Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again." - Richard Branson

After a dreadful performance last week, my overall season record stands at 111-131-8. I've grown tired of looking at the sea of red on my stats table. My tweets are being mocked and people who don't support me are holding Pickens signs protesting all across the country. Every bad pick I make is being scrutinized. It's time for a fresh start. Half the country will respond to my decision by saying "give Pickens a chance," while the other half won't be able to get past my embarrassing decisions this past year. Whether you like it or not, I'm wiping the slate clean and starting this week with a 0-0 record. It's vital that I gain some momentum and build up trust heading into bowl season. Hopefully these next three weeks will allow me to do that.

I've learned from my struggles in 2016. I can't be a one-man show going forward. Surrounding myself with quality people is vital to future success. As I make this three-week transition into bowl season, I am interviewing college football experts from all walks of life in an effort to improve my picks going forward. I'm trying to avoid people who are biased to lobbying for one specific team, but it's proving to be difficult. Those involved in my process so far seem to think it's a mess, but I can assure you everything is going smoothly. Expect my game-winning machine to be fully operational by the time the Gildan New Mexico Bowl kicks off on December 17th.

Thursday

This is Lamar Jackson’s chance to secure the Heisman in front of a national audience. I expect him to play well, but Greg Ward Jr. and the Cougars will hang around. Thursday night road games are always a challenge and Louisville is facing too much pressure to win big. Troy’s run defense is one of the best in the nation and the Trojans only loss was a nail-biter at Clemson.

HOUSTON +14.5 vs Louisville - 8pm

TROY -8.5 vs Arkansas State - 930pm

Friday

UNLV +28 at Boise State - 9pm

Saturday

I’ve learned my lesson - pick against Illinois whenever possible. Ohio State needs to win big against Michigan State and I expect Urban to run it up in the second half. Michigan will struggle early with a new quarterback and Indiana is better than people think. Florida is depleted by numerous injuries and LSU should be able to control the line of scrimmage and make life difficult for Appleby the Gators’ offense. Oklahoma State should really be in the playoff discussion and was cheated out of a win against Central Michigan earlier in the season. The Cowboys will beat TCU outright. I’m a believer in Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson and can’t wait to watch him play again Saturday night. USC will roll over UCLA and Colorado should be able to handle the Cougars at home. Wyoming let me down last week, but I’ll stick with the Cowboys as a 10-point home underdog. West Virginia has been a nice story this season, but Oklahoma is the best team in the Big 12. Enjoy your Saturday and Go Canes.

IOWA -10 at Illinois - 12pm

NEBRASKA -13 vs Maryland - 12pm

BAYLOR +3 vs Kansas State - 12pm

OHIO STATE -21.5 at Michigan State - 12pm

OKLAHOMA STATE +4 at Tcu - 12pm

GEORGIA TECH -11 vs Virginia - 1230pm

LSU -13.5 vs Florida - 1pm

PITTSBURGH -7.5 vs Duke - 3pm

NORTHWESTERN -1.5 at Minnesota - 330pm

WYOMING +10 vs San Diego State - 330pm

INDIANA +24 at Michigan - 330pm

COLORADO -4.5 vs Washington State - 330pm

MISSISSIPPI STATE -1.5 vs Arkansas - 7pm

SMU +13 vs South Florida - 7pm

OKLAHOMA -3 at West Virginia - 8pm

MISSISSIPPI -10 at Vanderbilt - 8pm

ARIZONA +6.5 at Oregon State - 1030pm

USC -13 at Ucla - 1030pm