The Hurricanes roll into Heinz Field this Thursday night for a date with the Pitt Panthers in what should be a statement game for Miami. The (1-1) Miami Hurricanes were 36-24 losers in their most recent outing on the road against Ohio State, while the (1-1) Pittsburgh Panthers were able to handle the University of New Hampshire 38-16. These two schools have not squared off since Miami left the Big East in 2003, but the Hurricanes own a 8-1 record against Pitt dating back to 1995. Also it will be a reunion of sorts as Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon played under Pittsburgh’s coach Dave Wannstedt’s defensive coordinator duties while he was a linebacker at Miami and as a Dallas Cowboy. After Shannon’s playing career Wannstedt lured him to be a linebackers coach while he was the headman for the Miami Dolphins. It will be interesting to see if this old rivalry can rekindle some of the spark it had 7 years ago, kickoff slated for 7:45 PM EST.
The Miami Hurricanes come into this one just twelve days after a crushing defeat at the hands of the Ohio Buckeyes and have presumably blown any chances of being in the national title game in January. Head coach Randy Shannon drew on the mistakes and undisciplined penalties his team took in the losing effort as he felt his team gave the game away. Jacory Harris threw for 232 yards and a touchdown on 22-of-39 passing, but his four interceptions proved to be too overwhelming for the Hurricanes to avenge. RB Damien Berry, filling in for injured senior RB Graig Cooper, ran for 94 hard earned yards in the losing effort. The offensive has much to do with Miami’s average of 137.5 yards on the ground, anchored by seniors Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa this front is one of the biggest and most talented offensive lines in the entire NCAA. Miami’s veteran offense is also averaging a solid 241 pass yards per contest and will be able to get more aggressive once Junior WR Travis Benjamin can avenge his early season difficulties of catching the pigskin. Miami needs to come out of Pittsburgh with a fairly significant victory to not only ensure they start moving north in the AP rankings but also to show the nation that the sloppy performance in Columbus is not what this team is about.
The Blue and Gold were devastated in Week 1 when they were dealt a heart aching defeat in overtime against Utah which slipped them out of the AP top 25 in the nation. Dave Wannstedt’s bunch looked very sharp and cohesive in their dismantling of New Hampshire two weeks ago and should be hyped for a game against their old Big East counterparts. The Pitt offense has not been able to get the nations leading rusher last year, RB Dion Lewis, going as of yet as he has only 102 yards on 35 carries. The Panthers defensive unit has been decimated this year, DE Greg Romeus, the Big East’s co-defensive player of the year in 2009, is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a disc in his lower back, DE Brian Murphy is week-to-week with a bum toe, CB Aundre Wright was lost for the season, as well as S Jeff Knox, both with significant knee injuries. The Panthers will need to rely upon a healthy rushing attack on Thursday as the Hurricanes passing defense is only allowing 145.5 yards threw the air. Pitt would do themselves wonders if they could escape Thursday night with a victory over 19th ranked Miami as they would probably reinsert themselves into the nations top 25.
Miami vs Pittsburgh Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Miami Hurricanes -3
@ Pittsburgh Panthers +3
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Miami vs Pittsburgh Prediction for Week 4:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – This line scares me! I believe the Panthers are the far inferior club in this affair and the line should be closer to a touchdown, in my opinion. The Hurricanes have absolutely owned this rivalry before exiling to the ACC and they come into this Thursday night game with some frustration and pride, this is by all accounts is a statement game for Miami. Pittsburgh is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Miami and they are 0-5 straight up in their last 5 contests against Miami. I believe the Panthers come into this one with just too many key players out, either due to injury or suspension. The Hurricanes will be able to score and I see them with a double-digit victory when everything’s said and done. Strongly consider the boys from south Florida in this old Big East rivalry game.
Game Total Prediction – This total hints that odds makers believe Pittsburgh will be able to match point for point with the Hurricanes and make a game out of it. Yes, these two teams have been able to well reach the over in their lined games this year but, I believe this might be to high of a line for a game that has so much rivalry and importance attached to it. These two teams are a combined 3-6 (O/U) when playing each other’s conference (ACC and Big East) and are a combined 11-20 (O/U) when playing on a Thursday. Also, these two storied programs are a combined 3-8 (O/U) coming off of a bye week in their last three seasons. I recommend looking at the under in this retro Big East affair, I look for the total to just sneak under. Cheers! Prediction – Under 50.5 points