clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Full Confidence, Charlotte, & Rooting Interests - Weekend Picks

I’m getting 2000-2002 flashbacks. Miami’s win over Virginia was never in doubt. Enjoy your leftovers with a Canes win at Pittsburgh.

Virginia v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I vividly remember what it was like to be a Miami fan from 2000-2002. My level of confidence was insane. I never for a second thought that Miami was beatable. I assumed every game was never in doubt, even when the Canes trailed briefly. The 2017 Miami Hurricanes are a very different team in many ways, but I'm starting to have some flashbacks.

Virginia led 14-0 and 28-14 as QB Kurt Benkert looked like Tom Brady against one of the nation's best defenses. In 2007 or 2010 or 2013 or 2015, I would've started to panic, conditioned by years of mediocre Miami teams that often failed to respond to adversity. On Saturday, however, I felt a sense of calm. I truly never doubted that Miami would rally to beat Virginia in the second half. This current 15-game winning streak has slowly changed my mental state. This team is used to winning close games and QB Malik Rosier maintains his composure under pressure week after week. I'm not afraid of Pittsburgh and the cold weather is just something to write about. FULL CONFIDENCE Pickens is almost back.

2017 has been an unforgettable year. Two years ago, Lavar Ball was a relatively unknown AAU coach. Now the President of the United States wakes up at 5am to yell at him.

Two years ago, Miami was losing to Clemson 58-0 as I watched in despair. Now, with a win at Pittsburgh, the Canes stand on the verge of the College Football Playoff, with only Clemson standing in the way. I can't wait to be in Charlotte next week. The demand for tickets and the excitement among Canes fans ensures that Clemson won't have the home field advantage many people assumed.

MIAMI -13.5 at Pittsburgh - 12pm Friday

Pittsburgh is 4-7, with the four wins coming against Virginia, Duke, Rice, and Youngstown State. This season has been a disappointment for the Panthers, with injuries playing a key role. After two straight close losses to North Carolina and Virginia Tech, it will be interesting to see how mentally prepared Pitt is on Friday, without a bowl berth to play for. Pitt struggled to run the ball effectively against the Hokies and will be choosing between two inexperienced QB’s - Ben DiNucci and Kenny Pickett. DiNucci has just five touchdowns on 158 attempts and has been sacked 14 times this season. Miami’s defensive line should have a big afternoon.

Miami was very fortunate to escape Chapel Hill with a win in late October. Mark Richt will use that performance as motivation this week. The Canes have enjoyed the comforts of Hard Rock stadium the past three weeks and need to prove themselves on the road. With the stakes so high, I expect Miami to be the more focused team. This game could be a blowout if the Canes can take an early lead.

Your plan for the weekend is simple - Watch Miami beat Pitt on Friday. Then settle in on Saturday and root for chaos around the highly ranked teams - helping Miami's chances of making the Playoff if they lose close to Clemson. Miami is going to beat the Tigers, but here are some scenarios to watch just in case my jinxing powers have returned.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff-Selection Sunday Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Let's go Blue - The idea that a 2-loss Big Ten champion Ohio State could pass a 1-loss Miami is completely absurd, but I can't trust Kirby Hocutt. Hopefully Michigan can upset Ohio State in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are 12-point underdogs, but the last time Ohio State played on the road, Iowa beat them by 31. If Ohio State loses, they are officially eliminated from the Playoff and Miami can safely root for the Buckeyes to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game next week.

Row the Boat Minnesota - I hope my guy P.J. Fleck pulls a dramatic upset over Wisconsin. I'll take my chances with a 1-loss Miami against a 1-loss Wisconsin, with that loss coming against 6-6 Minnesota.

Roll Tide - I don't want the committee having to deal with 11-1 Alabama. The brand and Nick Saban will be too hard to ignore, even though the Tide's wins aren't impressive at all. If Alabama beats Auburn and beats Georgia, the SEC only gets one team in the Playoff.

West Virginia, Take Me Home - The Mountaineers are 22.5-point underdogs at Oklahoma without their starting QB Will Grier whose finger is hopefully no longer bent in a 90-degree angle. The Sooners are sitting Baker Mayfield to start the game, but that won't be a long benching. A miracle win by WVU could take the Big 12 out of the Playoff, leaving two spots open for the ACC.

My picks were a disaster last week, but I was long overdue for some regression to the mean. With the regular season coming to a close, it’s time to finish off a successful and winning year. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Richt Picks

OLE MISS +15 at Mississippi State - 730pm - Thursday

FLORIDA STATE -5 at Florida - 12pm

PURDUE -2.5 vs Indiana - 12pm

Friday Picks

WESTERN MICHIGAN +14 at Toledo - 1130am

NAVY +4.5 at Houston - 12pm - Friday

MISSOURI -10 at Arkansas - 230pm

UCF -10 vs Usf - 330pm

IOWA -3.5 at Nebraska - 4pm

VIRGINIA +7.5 vs Virginia Tech - 8pm

TEXAS TECH +10 at Texas - 8pm

CALIFORNIA +7.5 at Ucla - 1030pm

Saturday Picks

SMU -8 vs Tulane - 12pm

MICHIGAN +12 vs Ohio State - 12pm

FAU -21 at Charlotte - 2pm

UNC +16.5 at Nc State - 330pm

BOISE STATE -7 at Fresno State - 330pm

AUBURN +4.5 vs Alabama - 330pm

ARIZONA -2 at Arizona State - 430pm

CLEMSON -13.5 at South Carolina - 730pm

NOTRE DAME -2 at Stanford - 8pm

WASHINGTON -10 vs Washington State - 8pm

COLORADO +10.5 at Utah - 9pm