Friday, September 5, 2008

Florida-Miami Renew Sunshine State Rivalry



Miami @ Florida
Line: UF –21.5
Over/Under: 51

An old rivalry in the Sunshine State is renewed again. Miami has won the last six times, but these teams have not met since the 2004 Peach Bowl. The Hurricanes will be starting a freshman on the road in the Swamp. Florida is scary on offense scoring 56 points in just the 2nd and 3rd quarters last week.

Keys to the Game:
1. Contain Big Plays

The Gators have big play ability from multiple players at multiple positions. Miami will have much better speed to counter the Jeff Demps and Chris Raineys than Hawaii did. WR/RB Percy Harvin is expected to play and he is the Gators best offensive weapon. Miami will likely be run heavy with a young QB starting on the road. They had five different runners with a play over 10 yards last week against Charleston Southern. I like what I saw from this Florida defense and think they will have fewer missed assignments, which usually also limits big plays.

2. Stepping Up To The Challenge

None of these Miami players have experienced the kind of success they thought they would in Coral Gables. They are decided underdogs against an in-state rival and playing on the road. I do not think Miami will gain anything from a being a big underdog and having more motivation because everyone has a plan until you get hit. Miami needs to show they belong on the field with Florida for 60 minutes; not get down on a bad play or lose their composure on the road.

3. QB Pressure

Miami is going to be starting a freshman QB who will either be in their first (R-Fr Robert Marve) or second (True Fr Jacory Harris) college game. The Gator defense will want to put pressure on the inexperienced QBs in hopes of forcing INT like they did last week against Hawaii. The teams that slowed down Florida last year were able to get consistent pressure on Tim Tebow (I am thinking Georgia and Michigan specifically).

Prediction:

Florida has the clear talent edge in this game and is playing at home where they have lost just once in 3+ seasons under Urban Meyer. I think this game goes one of two ways – Florida wins comfortably covering the spread or Miami makes this a game until late but comes up short. I have to think with the inexperience of the Hurricanes QBs they will struggle on offense and their defense cannot slow Harvin and Tebow enough to keep it close.

Florida 37 Miami 13
Florida Covers, Under

See Other Week 2 Predictions - C.Mich v UGA, GT vs BC, S.Car v Vandy, Miss vs Wake

Rest of the SEC and ACC action:
ALABAMA Over Tulane
ARKANSAS Over UL Monroe
KENTUCKY Over Norfolk State
AUBURN Over Southern Miss
MISSISSIPPI STATE Over SE Louisiana
LSU vs Troy - Postponed
CLEMSON Over The Citadel
FLORIDA STATE Over Western Carolina
MARYLAND Over Middle Tennessee State
NC STATE Over William & Mary
DUKE Over Northwestern
VIRGINIA Over Richmond

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