What a difference a week makes. When I wrote last week that Miami should've been favored against Virginia Tech (Miami ended up being a 2-3 point favorite at kickoff), at least half of the comments were people mocking me. I was stunned with the amount of responses critical of Miami such as:
"We aren't good."
"VT should be favored by a touchdown"
"Cmon stop Miami is about to be exposed"
Far more Canes fans seemed self-defeating than I expected, channeling the relentless Miami doubting of Dan Lebatard.
We’ve learned two things since Saturday: Never shoplift in China and NEVER underestimate the 2017 Miami Hurricanes. The 28-10 win over Virginia Tech changed everything. I wrote Sunday about the Canes being an underdog against Notre Dame and the response was unanimous. ALL Miami fans now believe. Like the players, fans are loving the feeling of being underestimated. Saturday is another chance to make a statement and earn the respect we deserve. The Canes are 3-point home underdogs and are still inexplicably ranked behind teams like TCU. That’s fine - Mark Richt, Malik Rosier, and the Canes defense enjoy proving people wrong.
I'm not going to spend much time talking about Catholics vs Convicts. It's a tired and stupid part of this rivalry's history at this point. The way Miami was perceived (and still is today) is unfortunate and disappointing. I grew up hating Notre Dame and still take pride in every Irish loss. In today's environment where senators are breaking ribs over yard waste disputes, Notre Dame's holier than thou image is enough for me to dislike the Irish for eternity. But right now, I'm focused on more important things than rivalries or settling scores. Miami has a College Football Playoff to focus on.
MIAMI +3 vs Notre Dame - 8pm - ABC
Saturday night will be as good as it gets in college football. An elite Miami defense matching up against one of the best offensive lines in the nation. Notre Dame has run all over opponents this season and Miami leads the country in several defensive categories. The crowd for Virginia Tech was tremendous, but I expect an even better atmosphere for Notre Dame. Hard Rock Stadium provides a significant home field advantage when the Canes are winning.
Notre Dame is 8-1, with all 8 wins coming by double digits. The Irish have dominated most opponents and used the second-half to run the ball and add to their lead. In the one game that was close, Notre Dame lost by a point to Georgia. Brandon Wimbush attempted 39 passes against UGA, the most he has in any game all season. Miami will use the same blueprint we saw against Virginia Tech - play aggressive to stop the run and dare Notre Dame to throw the ball downfield. Wimbush is only completing 51% of his passes and if the Canes can take an early lead, he’ll be facing second half pressure he hasn’t seen since the Georgia loss.
Notre Dame’s defense gave up 587 yards last week against Wake Forest, including seven plays of 20 yards or more. Miami has thrived on big plays all season and Saturday night will be no different. The Canes win a close one behind another rollercoaster, but clutch performance from Malik Rosier. Louisville will beat Virginia Saturday and the Canes will clinch the Coastal as well. Get ready to celebrate.
I had a decent 14-12-1 record last week, but I’m still reeling from Lane Kiffin’s devastating safety in the final seconds. I’m back aboard the Lane Train this week - he owes me. Go Owls.