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SOTU Staff Picks: Russell Athletic Bowl

Find out how our SOTU staff sees the Russell Athletic Bowl playing out

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hello there sports fans!

The Miami Hurricanes are playing the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl.

To get you ready, here are our SOTU Staff Predictions for the game. Enjoy!

Cam Underwood: I could wax poetic about matchups and numbers, but 1. I’ve done that in other pieces leading up to this game, and 2. I just don’t think West Virginia is that good. Yes, they’re 10-2, but lost to both teams (Oklahoma and OK State) they played with a pulse. I think Miami comes out and gets the bowl win that has eluded us for more than a decade.

Miami 34 West Virginia 24

Craig T. Smith: It's too bad the Canes had to wait a month to play this game, given they were on a 4-game winning streak. That said, where other bowl games in previous years have lacked a certain attractiveness for players, facing a 10-2 #14 West Virginia squad in a temperate environment should allow for plenty of motivation. And there really aren't any excuses. Miami has found a nice balance on offense behind an offensive line that has gelled. It will be facing a West Virginia defense that's allowed over 175 yards per game on the ground. Ball control, play action, big plays. Brad Kaaya. David Njoku. Mark Walton. Coley. AR82. OU's offense is dynamic, but Miami has as much talent, especially at the skill positions, as any the Mountaineers will face this year. Defense will do just enough, as Corn Elder celebrates the end of his Hurricane career by helping to snap an ugly bowl streak.

Miami 27, WVU 23

Justin Dottavio: Miami has to come out focused and ready to put on a show. I liken this to the App State game. Score early and often. I think WVU will try to pound Miami with the run game so they can play action and throw deep versus Manny's blitz packages that will allow one on ones. If Njoku and Kaaya want to go early to the NFL this is their showcase game. Play poorly and they're 3-4 round (Njoku) and 5-7 (Kaaya) play well and Njoku is 2nd round, Kaaya is 3-4.

Miami 27 - WVU 24

Devin Tucker: (taken from the matchup of the week from Saturday) This should be a fun matchup for both teams looking to close their seasons out on a high note and carry momentum into National Signing Day and until next season. For the Canes, a win would be CRUCIAL for the direction of this program. Beating a ranked team in their own state on national television would do wonders for this team. It will be a 60-minute football game and most likely will go back and forth. The team with the best defense should win this ballgame, and the advantage goes to Miami.

Miami 31 - WVU 27

Mike Grunewald: This game could be a track meet due to both teams having high powered offenses. I think the key match up which will define this bowl game will be the Miami secondary versus the wide outs of West Virginia.

Historically Dana Holgersen has loved airing the ball out. In 2016 his 'Eers were more balanced on offense but we'll have to see if the Miami defense can make their opponent one dimensional in that regard. If the Canes defense can dictate what the Mountaineers offense can and can't do they'll be in good shape.

I'll go with the Canes in a victory 35-31.

John Pickens: This is one of the best matchups of bowl season. I'm buying into the hype and believe the Canes will be focused and more prepared than we've seen in recent years. In their (most likely) final game in a Miami uniform, David Njoku and Brad Kaaya will both impress NFL scouts. Miami's offense is playing with confidence and Mark Richt will rely heavily on the short/intermediate passing game to deal with WVU's 3-3-5 blitzing defense. The ACC is a step above the Big 12 this season and that will be evident on the field Wednesday night.

Miami 34 West Virginia 27

Kev Robins: Miami has a chance to end the season on a 5 game winning streak and win their first bowl game since 2006. This is a favorable matchup for the Canes vs a 10-2 West Virginia team. On defense WVU loves to give up chunk plays. Expect a big game out of Kaaya and the passing game. Manny Diaz halftime adjustments this year have been stellar, instead of 12 minutes to plan he has now had almost a month. I like Miami to put the bowl losing streak behind them in year 1 of Mark Richts tenure.

Miami 31 West Virginia 21

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And, of course, keep the conversation going in the comments.

Go Canes