Friday, December 26, 2008
Miami vs Cal Preview and Prediction
Miami vs Cal
Saturday 8 PM ESPN
San Francisco, CA
Line: Cal -8
The Miami Hurricanes will try to reverse a two game losing streak in the Emerald Bowl against a surging Cal Bears team. Miami was in the ACC drivers' seat in mid-November before losing their final two and fell all the way to a West Coast Bowl. The Bears finished the season on a two game winning streak with blowout wins over Stanford and Washington and will be playing in front of a partisan crowd just across the Bay from their Berkeley campus.
Keys to the Game:
1. Can Miami slow Cal's Jahvid Best?
Best had two spectacular games running the ball in Cal's final two going for a combined 512 yards on the ground against Stanford and Washington. Miami's run defense has played pretty well all year until their final two where they gave up 472 yards rushing to Georgia Tech and another 219 to NC State. On the season, Miami allowed opponents just 144 ypg on the ground and held Florida to just 89 yards rushing back in September. In the 4 Cal losses, Best averaged just 70 ypg. Which Miami run defense will show up?
2. QB Managers
Miami suspended starter Robert Marve for the game leaving the starting duties to true freshman backup Jacory Harris. Harris has played in all 12 games for Miami this year but his best output was 190 yards against Charleston Southern. Cal will counter with Nate Longshore who threw just 10 passes in his last game against Washington and did not play in Cal's two games prior. The Senior was beat out by Kevin Riley at the beginning of the season after starting his sophomore and junior years. Harris won't have to deal with the pressure of looking over his shoulder like Longshore, but he is also in his firs t bowl game. Both teams like to use the run to set up the pass. This game may come down to the QB who can take care of the ball the best.
Miami had dreams of an ACC title a few weeks ago after beating Virginia Tech, but with two straight losses has slipped to the Emerald Bowl where both teams stand on the same sideline. Cal was initially disappointed with the bowl selection due to the closeness of the site, but should have a partisan crowd to boost their spirits. I give the edge to Cal with the proximity to home and the familiarity to the Bay Area weather that the South Florida kids may not care for.
Unless Miami can show they have shored up their run defense early then it could be a long game for the Hurricanes. I like Cal's momentum coming into this game. I think the Bears put this game away early in the 4th Quarter.
Cal 30 Miami 20
Cal Covers -8
Confidence Ranking (of 34): 22
My confidence ranking of the 34 bowl games for a Cal win.
Bowls: 1-0 ATS, 1-0 SU
Season: 32-30-3 ATS, 42-23 SU
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