IIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S MONDAY!!!! Which means it’s time to check in on the orange-and-green-hued nonsense floating around in my noggin...
1) The opening line of the UNC-Miami game is........curious. To put it very mildly. Probably more accurate to call it bat-bleep crazy. Miami opened as a 4.5-point favorite over the visiting Tar Heels, which makes absolutely no sense to me at all. I was floored when I saw this. I figured the Tar Heels would be at LEAST a 5 or 6 point favorite. They laid a stinker at home against Notre Dame, but have otherwise been relatively good, especially on offense.
2) UNC QB Drake Maye has been really good, and I think he has a day on Saturday against UM’s suddenly turnstile defense. Maye went for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns in the air and another 73 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground against Virginia Tech last week. (Now, this isn’t a Tech team worth much, but I bet they’re still better than MTSU on a neutral field.) Color me scared. Very, very scared.
3) Speaking of MTSU, they lost at home to UT-San Antonio 45-30. LMAAAAAAOOOOOOOO. Because of course they did! I did pick UTSA in my weekly picks article last week, but the absolute ease that they torched an MTSU defense that gave Miami fits is another level of sad.
4) The good thing for Miami on Saturday is that... a) they got a slap-in-the-face wake up call against the Blue Raiders, which will hopefully check some egos and refocus this group and b) UNC’s defense has been pure doo doo. This unit allowed 24 points to FAMU, 61 (!!!) to App State, 28 to Georgia State, 45 to Notre Dame, and finally put forth a good showing in holding Virginia Tech to 10. That’s a unit that absolutely can be had. Josh Gattis and Mario Cristobal had better figure out how to make it so. They’re the more rested team and got to watch the Tar Heels last Saturday. So there’s absolutely no excuses not to be ready from the opening kick.
5) But can Tyler Van Dyke shake out of this early-season funk that has seen the offense slide totally off the tracks? Cristobal said today that Van Dyke will start Saturday against UNC. He said of Van Dyke, “you don’t turn on your quarterback because of one bad day.” WEEEELLLLLLLL....the problem has been more than one bad day. It was a bad month. The move to Jake Garcia last game for a spark was more than warranted, and it saw an uptick in offensive production despite not being able to complete the comeback.
6) My long-winded point is this: I’m not against deciding stay with a guy after a slow start, but it had better be for the right reason. It had better be because you feel Van Dyke still gives you a better chance to win right now than Garcia. I said it last week, and I’m saying it again. Because if you actually think the opposite, then you go that way. You don’t ride a guy like Van Dyke because he played well last year and, golly, we sure hope he’ll turn it around this week. No, it had better be because you’ve talked with him, you’ve evaluated practice reps during the week, and you see a player who’s performing better RIGHT NOW. I didn’t see that on the field against MTSU, so I’m hoping they did off it.
7) Prediction: UNC 39, Miami 34. Miami spots UNC a big early lead, as Maye and WR Josh Downs connect early and often, but the Canes finally catch some late life behind a Van-Dyke-to-Key-Smith connection, with some Will Mallory, Brashard Smith, and Elijah Arroyo sprinkled in. However, needing a late stop to give the offense a chance, the defense can’t contain Maye, who puts this one away. In the ACC Coastal swing game of the season, the Canes suffer another Tarheel-blue-and-white heartbreaker.