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Weekend Winners - Irma Twitter, John Morales, & Hotel Bars

After endless days in a hotel, I’ve re-emerged with Hurricane analysis and winning picks.

Bethune Cookman v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Everyone knows about Canes Twitter - an assortment of fun, intensity, pride, and an area in which Cam and State of the U has carved out a nice niche. Last week, however, I was much more focused on Hurricane Twitter. From my hotel bunker in Lake Mary, Florida (just north of Orlando), I constructed my list of Irma follows. As Irma drew closer and closer, I got rid of the Armageddon meteorologists and dismissed the ones more focused on the storm's beauty and appearance from space. Only one man is capable of truly guiding South Florida through a hurricane - John Morales of NBC6 - the perfect balance of reality, facts, and calm.

Waiting for a hurricane makes minutes last hours and hours last days. Spending four nights in the hotel with small kids and a dog felt like a month. Finally Saturday and college football arrived to give me something else to focus on. I bounced back and forth between Central Michigan touchdowns, Clemson sacks, Northwestern turnovers, and the latest Irma advisories. At around 9pm, I walked down to the lobby bar to check out the scene. Both TV's were set on the Weather Channel, with a spinning Irma on repeat. I declared to the bartender - "Enough hurricane coverage, it's time for some football please." Everyone who heard me endorsed the decision and enjoyed watching Oklahoma dismantle Ohio State in Columbus.

After a strong 11-7 Saturday of picks, my family waited for the storm to pass before returning home to Broward late Monday. We still don't have power but are fortunate to have relatives that do. Like everyone else in Florida this past week, we got to work removing trees, picking up broken fences, and making friends in gas lines. Overall, we got very lucky and plan to do what we can to help people who are dealing with far more difficult circumstances as a result of the storm. Before writing this article, I ceremoniously unfollowed John Morales. The storm is over and we're all moving forward. I love you John, but I hope I don't need to see you appear in my phone for another decade.

What a strange start to the season for the Canes. After an easy win in the opener, Miami will have three weeks between games. I am excited about the rescheduling of the FSU game. Both teams will be better by October 7th and the product on the field will be up to the level we expect in this great rivalry. True freshman James Blackman will be starting his first game at QB for the Noles against NCST on September 23rd. Miami will be home that afternoon against a Toledo team that is far better than most UM fans realize. Toledo's Logan Woodside will be one of the best quarterbacks Miami faces all year. Malik Rosier will get another start under his belt before heading on the road to face Duke on the 29th.


MICHIGAN -24 vs Air Force - 12pm

A poor performance last week against Cincy will help Michigan in the long term. The Wolverines defense will stop the option and dominate the line of scrimmage. Michigan by 30+

MINNESOTA -10.5 vs Middle Tennessee - 330pm

I am buying P.J. Fleck and the Gophers. Minnesota is one of the most improved teams in the country. MTSU QB Brent Stockstill has an injured shoulder and might not be able to start.

MISSISSIPPI STATE +7.5 vs Lsu - 7pm

Nick Fitzgerald might be the best quarterback in the SEC. His dual-threat ability will keep the Bulldogs close against LSU. Expect a low-scoring battle in Starkville.


NEW MEXICO +14.5 at Boise State - 8pm


ILLINOIS +17.5 at South Florida - 7pm

USF has been a major disappointment so far this season. Illinois is 2-0 after finishing off ugly wins over Ball State and WKU. The Illini defense is decent and should be able to keep this game competitive.

ARIZONA -22.5 at Utep - 1015pm

UTEP lost to Rice 31-14 last week. After watching the Owls play Stanford, I don't understand how that's possible.


NORTHERN ILLINOIS +14 at Nebraska - 12pm

MEMPHIS +3 vs Ucla - 12pm

Josh Rosen's dramatic comeback against Texas A&M was impressive, but it took a few miracle dropped interceptions by the Aggies to let it happen. UCLA still has issues and this is the biggest game of the season for Memphis. The Tigers are eager to prove they belong.

OKLAHOMA STATE -14 at Pittsburgh - 12pm

The Cowboys are for real in 2017. Pitt has taken a step backward from last season and doesn't have the firepower on offense to keep pace. OKST QB Mason Rudolph will have another huge afternoon.

BAYLOR +14 at Duke - 1230pm

After losses to Liberty and UTSA, Baylor appears to have hit rock bottom. Duke just blew out Northwestern and is a huge favorite. Expect some mean reversion and a more competitive game than most are expecting. Baylor making the switch to Zach Smith at QB will help as well.

TENNESSEE +5 at Florida - 330pm

Neither team has been impressive but I can't pick the Gators giving any points until their offense shows me something. I expect a late field goal to win the game for either team.

NORTH CAROLINA -10 at Old Dominion - 330pm

PURDUE +7.5 at Missouri - 4pm

After two games, I'm impressed with Purdue and new head coach Jeff Brohm. Both David Blough and Elijah Sindelar have played well at QB and the Boilermakers are playing aggressively on offense. Missouri's defense allows far too many big plays and the Tigers won't be able to pull away.

WYOMING +14 vs Oregon - 7pm

I'm giving Josh Allen one more chance after his depressing performance against Iowa. Playing for his NFL future, I expect a much better showing at home against a vulnerable Oregon defense.

KENTUCKY +6.5 at South Carolina - 730pm

VANDERBILT +3.5 vs Kansas State - 730pm

Vandy QB Kyle Shurmur is an emerging talent and the Commodores have a dynamic backfield with Webb and Blasingame. Derek Mason's team will be ready for this opportunity. Kansas State is a different team when playing outside of Manhattan.

TEXAS TECH -7 vs Arizona State - 8pm

CLEMSON -3 at Louisville - 8pm

Clemson's D vs Lamar Jackson, the matchup we've all been waiting for. Louisville's defense is shaky and the Cardinals still have problems on the offensive line. Clemson's incredible defensive line will be the difference in another close Tigers win. Clemson has become a reliable road team under Dabo.

NEW MEXICO STATE +7 vs Troy - 8pm

STANFORD -9 vs San Diego State - 1030pm

Stanford will bounce back from a frustrating loss to USC. SDSU has a new star running back in Raashad Penny, but Stanford has too much overall talent.

OLE MISS -3 at California - 1030pm

Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson is a star and I can't wait to watch him carve up the Bears defense. Rebels' WR A.J. Brown will be the best player on the field Saturday night. Expect a shootout, with Ole Miss pulling away late in the second half.