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Will Miami win 10 games? It's Time for ACC Win Total Predictions

Find out how Miami, FSU, and the rest of the ACC will do this season. Schedules and odds analyzed, plus some great Canes stadium memories


Last summer, my close friend Art texted me to announce some exciting news. He had gotten engaged the previous night and planned to get married in 2013 in Pittsburgh. My first reaction was excitement, but my excitement quickly turned to fear as I started to wonder when the wedding would be. Would he pick a weekend in the fall? About two months later I received the bad news: the wedding was scheduled for Labor Day weekend. My options were limited because while I was excited about FAU coming to town, the Owls aren’t exactly a big enough opponent to cause me to miss the wedding. This spring, the folks at ESPN came to my rescue and added an unforeseen bonus opportunity. Miami’s game against FAU was moved to Friday night on ESPNU, allowing me the opportunity to see the game before heading off to Pittsburgh for the wedding. ESPN also announced that Pitt would be hosting Florida State on Monday night in an important primetime event for the ACC. I have fond memories of Miami’s last game in the Big East, when the Canes ran all over Pittsburgh in November of 2003. Things have now come full circle and I am excited about the chance to welcome the Panthers in their first game in the ACC. Will Jameis Winston be the savior that everyone in Tallahassee is hoping for? I can’t wait to find out while I scout the Noles in person.

We have officially reached the slowest month of the year in sports. Turning on Sports Center this week has been depressing, with most of the time being spent on baseball highlights, the X Games, Tennis, and Ron Jaworski’s endless QB countdown. This is the perfect time to analyze the ACC and the Win Total Odds for each team in the conference. I have listed all of the odds below, but have picked my favorite predictions. The over/under totals do not include any conference championships or bowl games.

Miami OVER 9.5 wins.

Returning starters are a key component in the making of these odds and the Canes are definitely a popular pick to have a breakout year. Miami should be favored in 9 games, underdogs against FSU and UF, and have a toss-up game against a talented UNC team. The Florida game is the key to the entire season in my opinion. A win over the Gators could have this team well on their way to a 10 win season. Miami doesn’t leave the state of Florida to play until October 17th at North Carolina. This schedule is far more manageable than in years past and I have full confidence in Coach Golden. Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson will both be among the best in the nation at their positions, and the strength and experience of Miami’s offensive line will be a key to the Canes’ success. While this defense still isn’t where it needs to be, almost every important contributor returns and I expect to see improvement.

My best memory at the Orange Bowl: Many Canes fans would name the Edgerrin James performance against UCLA or a last second victory over FSU as their favorite Orange Bowl memory. Mine is a bit different, because I relished the times that Miami just dominated their opponent. After a 59-0 win over 14th ranked Syracuse the week prior, Miami faced 12th ranked Washington on November 24th, 2001. The energy in the stadium was electric and the fans desperately wanted revenge on the Huskies for ruining a possible undefeated season in 2000. The Canes won 65-7 and forced seven turnovers. Watching the greatest team in college football history was truly a privilege I’ll never forget.

Florida State UNDER 10.5 wins

The Noles have to play tough road games at Florida and at Clemson. Both of those teams will likely finish in the Top 10-15 in the nation and the game against Miami could be difficult as well. The hype surrounding freshman QB Jameis Winston continues to grow, but I think his lack of experience will result in at least two losses this season. Winston will benefit from an experienced offensive line and a stable of quality running backs, but FSU might have difficulty replacing key defensive playmakers. While the Noles have a very talented and deep roster, there were significant losses at key positions to the NFL (Rhodes, Carradine, Werner, Watson). I still don’t have confidence in Jimbo Fisher’s ability to win on the road and find it difficult to believe that FSU will finish with a better record compared to 2012. Until FSU makes it through the year without an upset loss, I will continue to pick against the hype and high expectations.

My best memory at Doak Campbell: Miami's 38-34 win in 2009, with the Canes scoring 21 fourth quarter points. Samantha Steele's husband still wants that final throw back.

Boston College OVER 4.5 wins

I will miss the ineptitude of Frank Spaziani in the ACC. Steve Addazio was a good hire in Boston and his energy is already a factor on the recruiting trail. He inherits a roster that lacks depth, but BC's offense has experience, led by three seniors: QB Chase Rettig, RB Andre Williams, and WR Alex Amidon. Rettig has started over 30 games at BC and his leadership will be worth a few wins this season. Army, Villanova, and New Mexico State should be three non-conference wins. I just need the Eagles to go 2-2 against Wake, NCST, Maryland, and Syracuse. BC has a big opportunity on Friday September 6th, with a nationally televised night game against Wake Forest. After a 2-10 campaign in 2012, expect improvement with a 5-7 or 6-6 record this fall.

My best memory at Alumni Stadium: Miami's 38-6 win in 2002, led by 200+ total yards from Willis McGahee. Part of Miami’s 34 game winning streak.

Virginia Tech UNDER 9.5 wins

Virginia Tech will open up the season with a likely demoralizing blowout loss to Alabama. I expect this game to look very similar to Alabama’s opening-game domination of Michigan in 2012. The Hokies have to play road games at Georgia Tech and Miami, and face a tough home contest against UNC. With a loss to Alabama, the Hokies would have to go 7-1 in the conference to reach 10 wins. Losing seven offensive starters from an already bad offense will make things challenging for the new staff led by new OC Scot Loeffler. QB Logan Thomas has all the physical talent in the world, but regressed badly in 2012. In order for the Hokies to win the Coastal and reach 10 overall wins, Thomas would have to make dramatic improvement and reach his full potential. Expect another disappointing season in Blacksburg, with an 8-4 or 9-3 record being the likely outcome.

My best memory at Lane Stadium: DRIVING AWAY after finally getting relief from the torrential downpour of frigid rain in 2009. Changing clothes at a McDonald's never felt so good. Back when Jimmy Graham was still learning how to catch, he dropped two crucial passes in this game. Jacory Harris was humbled and I vowed to never return to Blacksburg.

Georgia Tech UNDER 8.5 wins

With a tough non-conference schedule that features a home game against a Top 5 team in Georgia and a road game at BYU, I don’t expect a strong season from the Yellow Jackets. GT plays at Miami and at Clemson and host North Carolina and Virginia Tech. The Canes have solved the triple option in recent years and Clemson’s offense will overwhelm Georgia Tech. While the bowl victory over USC provides some momentum heading into 2013, I don’t think Vad Lee has the talent or experience to lead this team to 9 or 10 wins. Paul Johnson’s schemes have gotten a bit stale and the rest of the ACC gains more experience defending his offense year after year. I’ve read about the plans to possibly make the offense more innovative in 2013, but with any wrinkles will come growing pains.

My best memory at Bobby Dodd Stadium: Miami's 27-3 win in 2004, led by Frank Gore and a suffocating defense that forced Reggie Ball into three INT. Tech students were reading their textbooks during commercials by the second half.

Maryland OVER 6.5 wins

While I have loved the initial struggles of Randy Edsall at Maryland, this season should bring sighs of relief in College Park. C.J. Brown is a talented dual-threat QB that should have a nice season if he can stay healthy. WR Stefon Diggs will be one of the best players in the ACC and his vertical ability will open up lanes for his teammates. The schedule is manageable and the Terps could win all four non-conference games (FIU, Old Dominion, at Uconn, West Virginia). Maryland has winnable conference games against UVA, at Wake, BC, at NCST, and Syracuse. If September goes well and this team starts to gain confidence, I wouldn’t be shocked by an 8 win season. Maryland’s defense played better than expected in their first year under DC Brian Stewart and I expected continued improvement in year two.

My best memory at Byrd Stadium: Miami's 32-24 loss on Labor Day 2011. The Canes were without eight suspended players, but Coach Al Golden had his team prepared in his first game at the helm. The lessons learned on that rainy night helped build the foundation for a breakout 2013 campaign. My 330am train back to New York was tough to swallow after the loss, however.

Less Confident Picks: Syracuse OVER 4.5, North Carolina UNDER 9.5, Virginia UNDER 4.5

Over 4.5 (+140)
Under 4.5 (-180)

Over 10.5 (+165)
Under 10.5 (-215)

Over 5.5 (+120)
Under 5.5 (-160)

Over 10.5 (+110)
Under 10.5 (-150)

Over 8.5 (-120)
Under 8.5 (-120)

Over 6.5 (-140)
Under 6.5 (EVEN)

Over 9.5 (+150)
Under 9.5 (-190)

Over 6.5 (-185)
Under 6.5 (+145)

Over 9.5 (+170)
Under 9.5 (-230)

Over 5.5 (-110)
Under 5.5 (-130)

Over 4.5 (-120)
Under 4.5 (-120)

Over 4.5 (-120)
Under 4.5 (-120)

Over 9.5 (+140)
Under 9.5 (-180)

Over 5.5 (-170)
Under 5.5 (+130)

What are your predictions?

This was my intro post in case you missed it: