To put it as easily as anyone could: Miami is a good, good football team. They may have had some mistakes here and there but the overall performance against Ohio State was terrific. To go into “The Horseshow” and only come out 12-point losers to a national championship-caliber team is impressive. Perhaps the biggest thing going for Hurricane head coach Randy Shannon is the defense. They shutout Florida A&M in their opener and last week—on a Thursday night affair on national TV— they absolutely slammed Pittsburgh at Heinz Field, 31-3. Quarterback Jacory Harris hasn’t quite lived up to the hype of the pre-season yet (6 TDs, 6 INTS) but he is managing to do enough to get the Hurricanes offense gong.
It’s always an unknown of how a team will recover after an overtime loss.
For Clemson, it is painstaking even to think back. The Tigers, playing against Auburn, found themselves up 17-0 in the second quarter before a late Auburn field goal sent the teams to halftime. From there, it was an utter collapse as Clemson lost in overtime to Auburn. How will they respond? A lot of that will determine on how quarterback Kyle Parker and the Clemson offense. Parker threw for 220 yards and a pair of scores but now he is going against a rampant Miami defense. If he gets rattled in front of his home crowd and “The U” gets an early lead, it could be trouble.
Randy Shannon has this Miami program right where he wants them in his 4th season. He has them competing at a high level and thoughts of conference championships and BCS berths aren’t as far-fetched as they might have been three and four years ago. A big part of this is because of a talented and fast defense and the emergence of quarterback Jacory Harris. While Harris isn’t off to the best start of his career, he knows the offense, he knows what he’s doing and he’s a playmaker. He can give the Clemson defense fits, much in the same way talented Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton did last week. Look for Harris and the passing offense—ranked 40th in the country at 240+ yards per game— to get things going early and the defense to be all over the field, much like the Pittsburgh game. For Clemson, it’s always easier inside the friendly confines of Death Valley. Howard’s Rock and all that is a terrific way to run on the field—but will it matter?
This Miami defense the will be going against boasts some lofty national rankings:
-8th in total yards allowed
-8th in passing yards allowed
-11th in points scored
While rankings can mean only so much there is no denying that this Miami team will come into the game with a bad taste in their mouth after Clemson’s 40-37 victory in Miami. A 26-yard Parker pass in overtime sealed the win for the Tigers.
But, Miami is that much improved and hungry as they look to win the ACC.
Miami vs. Clemson Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
@ Clemson +3
Miami vs. Clemson Prediction for Week 5:
Spread Prediction (Top play) –I’m not to discredit Clemson and say that their offense and defense aren’t up to good standards—they are. But, this Miami team looked absolutely possessed against Pittsburgh and credit has to go to the coaching staff for getting the guys ready after a tough, early-season loss to Ohio State. Miami seems to have rebounded nicely and while Clemson is certainly no slouch (see their first-half against Auburn) it just seems like Miami has an edge in talent, coaching and a wantingness to win. Miami’s talent level may be too much for Clemson.
Top Play Prediction: Miami -3
Game Total Prediction – This game featured 77 points last year and with the improvement of both offenses then one could surmise it will be a shootout again. But, Clemson’s defense looked capable against Auburn and Miami’s defense has been well documented. To summarize, both teams have a good defense and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. With the improvement of the defenses, I look for the score to be a little bit lower and think 50.5 points is a bit too much to get to. Consider: The Under is 6-1 for Miami in games following a BYE while Clemson finds themselves in unders in 6 of their last 7 October games.
We’ll go with that.
Prediction: Under 50.5 points