The third week of the 2011 college football season features a pair of interesting BCS National Championship Game rematches in Oklahoma- Florida St. and the 16th-ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes (2-0) of the Big 10 taking on the Miami (FL.) Hurricanes (0-1) of the ACC this Saturday night (7:30pm ET) in a re-match of the 2003 classic won by the Buckeyes. Both teams have the cloud of off-season scandals hanging over them and are led by new head coaches in Luke Fickell for OSU and Al Golden for the Hurricanes into a game some are calling the “Ineligi-bowl” because of the looming probability of NCAA sanctions against both programs. Ohio St. struggled in a much closer-than-expected 27-22 victory over visiting Toledo last week, while Miami last played two weeks ago and dropped a 32-24 contest on the road at Maryland.
Ohio St. features senior quarterback Joe Bauserman (352 yard passing 60.9% completion rate this season) a solid, if unspectacular player who is not a threat to run the way his predecessor Terrelle Pryor was. Running back Carlos Hyde (4.3 YPC 2 TDs in 2011) will be in the lineup as the Buckeyes will be without the services of running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas until next month as they serve suspensions for their role in the memorabilia for tattoos scandal. Miami has five players coming back from their suspension for the Nevin Shapiro scandal, including starting QB Jacory Harris (45.8% completion rate, 14 TDs and 15 INTS in 2010), though the Hurricanes have three more players out serving suspensions including safety Ray Ray Armstrong one of the top defensive backs in the country.
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Ohio St. vs. Miami (FL.) Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Ohio State Buckeyes +2.5
@ Miami (FL.) Hurricanes -2.5
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Ohio St. vs. Miami (FL.) Pick:
The Buckeyes won last year’s meeting 36-24 in Columbus, covering the 8 point line and coming in over the total of 47.5. The under is 8-1-2 in OSU’s last 11 road games. The Buckeyes are 22-4 ATS in their last 26 games on grass, and 22-7-1 ATS in their last 30 road games. The under is 6-1-1 in the Hurricanes’ last 8 games on grass and 6-2-1 in their last 9 games overall. The under is 36-16-1 in Miami’s last 53 home games.
This game is difficult to forecast with the scandal and ensuing suspensions looming over both teams. The Hurricanes struggled defensively in their 32-24 week one loss to Maryland, allowing 311 yards and 19 first downs in the first half alone, and with penalties (10 for 65 yards). Maryland QB Danny O’Brien threw for 348 yards against a depleted Hurricane secondary, and Bauserman should be able to have some success as well if young receiver Devin Smith and tight end Jake Stoneburner can step up. Harris had a rough game last season against OSU, throwing four interceptions; the Hurricanes were still able to put up 24 points on the Buckeyes though. If Harris can take care of the football and shake off the rust from his suspension, he should be able to have a big day against an OSU secondary that allowed 292 passing yards against Toledo last week. It should be a big day for both quarterbacks, and then total of 46.5 should be relatively easy to exceed against two suspect defensive secondary units. Take the over in this game, and go against the trend for both teams as the number of players out for both games make this and against-the-grain type of game.