Miami is 7-4 this season, but is ranked 16th in Bill Connelly's F/+ rankings. The Canes are a lot better than their record indicates. Miami has covered the spread in all seven wins. Miami's smallest margin of victory this season is 14 points. In each of the seven wins, the Canes held the lead in every minute of the second half. The two teams leading the Coastal (Virginia Tech and North Carolina) both won two conference games by three points or less. Considering that Miami lost three games by a combined 11 points, I can easily argue that this team is much closer to being 9-2 than 6-5. I'm definitely disappointed that a few plays didn't go our way against Florida State, Notre Dame, and North Carolina, but with a win against Duke and a win in a bowl, I would consider this a successful season. Despite playing freshmen at key positions on both sides of the ball, the Canes have showed maturity by finishing and pulling away from lesser opponents. I am confident we'll see a similar result on Saturday afternoon against the Blue Devils.
I hope to see a nice crowd at the Duke game this weekend. Fortunately for the future of the program, Miami doesn't have a large senior class, but there are still guys that deserve our support and respect for what they have done in a Canes' uniform. Corn Elder will have a long career in the NFL and led Miami's defense to an incredible year over year improvement in 2016. Stacy Coley has been a key playmaker since his freshman year and has been exciting to watch. Rayshawn Jenkins and Malcolm Lewis battled through injuries to become important contributors this season. I hope both of them get a shot at the next level. Jamal Carter brought an attitude in the secondary and was always around the ball creating turnovers. Danny Isidora has been a reliable offensive lineman throughout his time in Coral Gables. Let's honor these guys in their last game at Miami.
MIAMI -15 vs Duke - 330pm
Despite beating Notre Dame in South Bend, the Blue Devils are just 1-4 on the road this season. Duke QB Daniel Jones has been a bright spot, but he doesn't have much help around him. Duke's offensive line will struggle against Manny Diaz's aggressive defense. Expect the Canes to continue to pile up the tackles for loss they've thrived on in 2016. Coming off a 56-14 loss at Pittsburgh last week, the Blue Devils don't have much to play for. Miami has momentum after three straight wins and Brad Kaaya has found his stride once again. Duke won't have an answer for the trio of Richards, Coley, and Njoku (I've written this three weeks in a row, but it will work once again). In years past, I would be worried about Miami playing down to the level of the opponent, but Mark Richt's 2016 team has helped put an end to those fears. The Canes win by 20+ and finish November on a high note with four consecutive ACC wins.
For those keeping track at home (likely exactly zero people) my overall record is 125-139 this season. Fortunately for my stats table, I hit the reset button at the perfect time. My 14-8 week was my best this season and I'm riding a new wave of confidence heading into the rivalry games this weekend. A few more winning weeks and we'll officially pretend September, October, and early November didn't actually happen.
Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey and a great weekend of college football.
TEXAS A&M +7 vs Lsu - 730pm
NORTHERN ILLINOIS -4.5 at Kent State - 12pm
NCST +11 at North Carolina - 12pm
HOUSTON -4 at Memphis - 12pm
MISSOURI +8 vs Arkansas - 230pm
WASHINGTON -6 at Washington State - 330pm
BOISE STATE -6.5 at Air Force - 330pm
TEXAS -3 vs Tcu - 330pm
NEBRASKA +1 at Iowa - 330pm
WESTERN MICHIGAN -8.5 vs Toledo - 5pm
TEXAS TECH +5.5 vs Baylor - 6pm
ARIZONA STATE -3 at Arizona - 930pm
KENTUCKY +26.5 at Louisville - 12pm
USF -10 vs Ucf - 12pm
FLORIDA STATE -7 vs Florida - 8pm
WYOMING -3 at New Mexico - 1015pm
GEORGIA -4 vs Georgia Tech - 12pm
KANSAS +27 at Kansas State - 12pm
MICHIGAN +6.5 at Ohio State - 12pm
NORTHWESTERN -15.5 vs Illinois - 12pm
WAKE FOREST -3 vs Boston College - 3pm
AUBURN +17.5 at Alabama - 330pm
OLE MISS -7.5 vs Mississippi State - 330pm
WEST VIRGINIA -6.5 at Iowa State - 330pm
OREGON -3 at Oregon State - 4pm
CALIFORNIA +3 vs Ucla - 7pm
CLEMSON -24 vs South Carolina - 730pm
UTAH +10 at Colorado - 730pm
SAN DIEGO STATE -11.5 vs Colorado State - 9pm