The Miami Hurricanes will look to put a bow on their impressive 2017 campaign. It could have been much better, but a bad loss against Pitt set them back. What almost turned into a disaster, becomes a scenario where they just have to beat Clemson on Saturday night and they’re in. If the Canes can beat Clemson has 9-point underdogs, they will without a doubt have a spot in the CFP. This is essentially a quarterfinal contest between Clemson and Miami.
The Hurricanes did come to play against Pittsburgh, a game they lost by a score of 24-14. That isn’t the Miami team we seen all season long, and it probably won’t be the team we see tonight. The motivation meter was at an all-time low for them, as there was no turnover chain and dancing on the sidelines on that day. If they compete with the Tigers on Saturday night, you can bet you’ll see the chain being passed around.
Miami and Clemson both come in to the ACC Championship with 1 losses. Miami fell to Pittsburgh, and Clemson took a bad loss to Syracuse. In other words, they both overlooked their opponents and it resulted in a loss, naturally. You can forget about overlooking opponents or lookahead spots in Championship Weekend. The Clemson Tigers are defending their title as ACC Champions and National Champions. Deshaun Watson left college to go and dazzle in the NFL, while Clemson found a suitable replacement in Kelly Bryant.
Bryant has a similar skillset to Watson with respects to the toolbox he has. They’re both bigger guys who can sling the ball and have the ability to pick up yardage on the ground. Bryant is not on the same level in the passing game, yet anyway. He is only in his first full year as a starter, though, so I’d look for him to take a leap forward in 2018 as a senior. Bryant has thrown 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a completion percentage of 66.4%. He’s also rushed for 639 yards and 10 touchdowns. If the Miami defense can contain Bryant, everything may fall into place for them. Head below for our free Miami vs. Clemson pick in the ACC Championship.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Clemson Tigers Betting Odds:
vs. Clemson -9(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Miami vs. Clemson Pick:
Along with containing Kelly Bryant, Miami must get a stellar performance from Malik Rosier. He’s looked good to this point. Rosier enters with 25 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on the year. He has also rushed for 408 yards and 5 touchdowns. Rosier will be down two of his favorite targets in the ACC Championship. Tight end Christopher Herndon blew his knee out against Pitt, and wide out Ahmmon Richards was lost to an injured knee in practice on Wednesday. It’s going to put just a little more pressure on Rosier to perform. Miami also lost their starting running back, Mark Walton, in October. The Hurricanes have been getting by without Walton, clearly, but Miami are going to be without two of their top three targets in the receiving game in this one.
There is going to be little room for error for Rosier against Clemson. He is going up against a pass defense who are 9th in the country, allowing just 169.7 yards per game. The strong point of the Clemson defense is a star-studded defensive line. They can get after quarterbacks and make life frustrating pretty quickly. If it’s a big game, they come to play. The loss of tight end Christopher Herndon is going to hurt here. Rosier isn’t going to have the luxury of getting it to Herndon with a play breaking down. Miami needs a fast start. If Clemson frustrates Rosier early, I don’t think he’s ever going to find a groove in this game.
Miami enters 44th in the FBS against the pass, allowing 210 yards per game. Bryant can be sneaky good with the deep ball. Clemson can pound you all game underneath, and then Bryant opens it up deep. The Hurricanes are 47th against the run, so they’re pretty well even in both departments on defense. Miami are surrendering 18.3 points per game, compared to 13.6 points per game for Clemson. I really think Rosier and the Miami offense is going to have a bunch of issues with this Tigers’ defense. The Hurricane defense may keep them in this game for the first-half, but I expect Clemson to open it up late and pull away from Miami.
PICK: CLEMSON -9 (-110)