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Miami’s Win & Playoff Picks

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After years of waiting, Miami fans can finally celebrate a bowl victory. I can’t wait to watch the Canes in 2017. I pick today’s bowls as well as the two playoff matchups.

Russell Athletic Bowl - Miami v West Virginia Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Miami’s 31-14 bowl win over West Virginia was the perfect end to the 2016 season. The Canes improved, fought through midseason adversity, and now carry high expectations going forward, especially given how well this year’s freshman class played. Expect to see Richards, Quarterman, Pinckney, and Jackson on some preseason ACC lists this summer. Miami’s coaching staff has proven to be a significant upgrade from years past and Mark Richt has the program moving in the right direction. I’ve read a lot of opinions nationally about how bowls don't matter, but after watching the Canes celebrate on the field and with the RAB trophy, it is clear how important this game was to the guys in that locker room. The bowl drought is over and the win was a nice cap to Brad Kaaya’s career if he decides to leave. After years of waiting, Miami fans deserve the optimism and excitement that will surround Coral Gables this offseason.

I would like to apologize to Clemson fans and Washington fans. I am picking your teams in the playoff semifinals, thus likely ensuring their defeat. Arkansas ended my dreams of a dramatic turnaround when the Hogs blew a 24-0 halftime lead against Virginia Tech and then Colorado was destroyed by OKST. My bowl record is 9-17-1, almost worse than West Virginia’s passing game. I'll keep picking, but I can’t wait for this year to end.

Liberty Bowl - Today

GEORGIA +3 vs Tcu - 12pm

Sun Bowl - Today

STANFORD -2.5 vs North Carolina - 2pm

Music City Bowl - Today

TENNESSEE -7 vs Nebraska - 330pm

Arizona Bowl - Today

SOUTH ALABAMA +14 vs Air Force - 530pm

Orange Bowl - Today

FLORIDA STATE +7 vs Michigan - 8pm

Michigan went 8-0 at home, but underperformed on the road against Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State. The Wolverines struggled on offense late in the season and won’t be able to blow out Florida State. The Noles won four straight to close the season and have played well in Hard Rock Stadium against Miami and in bowl games. Dalvin Cook will rise to the challenge in his final game at FSU and help keep this game close throughout.

Citrus Bowl - Tomorrow

LSU -3.5 vs Louisville - 11am

Taxslayer Bowl - Tomorrow

KENTUCKY +3.5 vs Georgia Tech - 11am

Peach Bowl Semifinal - Tomorrow

WASHINGTON +14 vs Alabama - 3pm

Alabama is clearly the most talented team in the nation, but the SEC overall is down significantly this season, especially at quarterback. Washington will be the best offense the Tide has faced. UW QB Jake Browning struggled under pressure against USC. If the Huskies can protect Browning long enough to find his playmakers like John Ross and Dante Pettis, this game will be close in the second half. Chris Petersen will have a few tricks up his sleeve and UW is dangerous in the return game on special teams. Alabama likely wins, but only by 7-10.

Fiesta Bowl Semifinal - Tomorrow

CLEMSON +3 vs Ohio State - 7pm

Picking Dabo over Urban Meyer is difficult, but I think the Tigers are a more complete team. Ohio State is relatively one dimensional on offense and hasn't found consistent success in the passing game. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson played very well in last year’s playoff and will use that experience to his benefit. Look for Clemson to win an exciting game on the final possession, setting up a rematch with Alabama.