Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clemson - Miami Preview and Prediction

Clemson Tigers at Miami Hurricanes
Saturday October 24 ABC 3:30 PM
Line: MIA -5

The Miami Hurricanes find themselves squarely in the mix for the ACC's Coastal Division title at 5-1 but so do the Clemson Tigers in the Atlantic Division even with two losses. The two meet on Saturday for the first time since 2005 and a thrilling OT win by Miami in Clemson's Death Valley. Both teams need this game to keep pace in their divisions and hopes alive for an ACC Championship.

Three Questions For Clemson

1. Road Struggles

The Tigers have played just two road games this season losing both of them. Clemson has especially struggled to establish a running game away from Death Valley gaining just 103 ypg on the ground versus a 145 average on the season. Are the struggles just a coincidence or do the Tigers truly play different on the road?

2. Pass Rush

A consistent pass rush makes even really good QBs like Jacory Harris look average. At Va Tech Harris really struggled with the pressure the Hokies were able to put on him. Clemson cannot let Harris sit back in the pocket pitching it to his speedy WR group. Clemson already has more sacks this season (17) than all of last (15). Can the Bamberg Ends Ricky Sapp and Da'Quan Bowers get in Harris' face?

3. Special Teams

I will be straight up - I do not think Clemson can go toe to toe with Miami for 60 minutes on offense and defense. They will need the third dimension, special teams, to be in their favor. CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford need to be special in the kicking game.

Three Questions For Miami

1. Establish the Running Game

In Miami's only loss of the season they rushed for just 59 yards on 34 carries. As good as the passing game has been under new OC Mark Whipple it success derives partly from the play action pass set up by the run. The Hurricanes may need their running game in the fourth when looking to keep it away from CJ Spiller and Clemson.

2. Stack the Box

Miami front seven should be able to manage Clemson's running game but if they really want to turn up the pressure they could put a safety down in the box and make Clemson QB Kyle Parker beat them. Parker is hitting just 49 percent of his passes and the Tiger rank 96th in passing offense. I say make Clemson beat you "left handed".

3. Injuries

The 'Canes are a beat up football team and their injury report lists several contributors as doubtful or questionable including second leading rusher Graig Cooper. Does the young Miami team have enough quality depth to overcome these injuries?


I am surprised a little bit by how the line has moved so much in Clemson's favor opening at MIA -7 and now down to -4.5 to -5.5. I think the Hurricanes have more talent, better coaching (especially on offense), and are playing at home. They have also shown better maturity by beating teams they should in convincing fashion and not have letdowns after big wins or losses like in years past.

Miami 27 Clemson 20
Miami Covers -5



  1. I agree almost to the number on the prediction. Clemson's defense is too good for them to get blown out and Miami's going to give up some plays to the Ford/Spiller duo. Should be a great game to watch though.

  2. Yeah this one seems a little too easy to pick in my opinion which makes me very nervous because that is how Vegas makes there money.

    But you are right on Clemson's D. Their front four will keep them in this game until the end I think.

    Miami has better talent, better coaching, and playing at home. i didn't find any major injuries so i am hoping my hunches are all right.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Anonymous2:10 PM

    This should be a great game. Clemson really seem to find themselves on the bye week and went on to dismantle a decent Wake Forest team. However Wake is no Miami and though Clemson's offense finally put some points on the board last week, The canes will challenge them in every aspect of the game. I will going out on a limb here though and say Clemson kicker Richard Jackson hits a 52 yarder and makes the score
    Clemson 27 Miami 24 in OT.
    (The last two meetings between these teams have been won in overtime by the visiting team.)

  4. Clemson definitely played better after the bye week.

    But the Tigers have really struggled on the road this year with their offense and Miami has played its best at home.

    I have seen a lot of people picking Clemson for the upset. Must be why the line is moving their way.

  5. scott martineau3:00 AM

    The two trendy upsets for this week seem to be picking Clemson over Miami and picking UVA over VT. The last time these two teams played each other AT MIAMI, in 2005, Kenny Phillips came up with the pick in triple OT to preserve a win and fellow DB Randy Phillips WHO IS STILL ON THE ROSTER & CONTRIBUTING entered Miami in the same recruting class as KP (no relation) ... Even if Coop is banged up, Miami should win with RELATIVE ease as they know that - with the one huge caveat of another season ending injury to a playmaker- Miami has too many guys who will help keep the ball out of the hands of Clemson Offense and despite the fact Clemson kicker has the advantage if it comes down to a 60 yarder, Matt Bosher will kick a couple field goals, Miami will set up a couple short TD runs with long passes in Whip-it offense and I think Miami wins by about 11. As far as the UVA-GT game goes, everyone is talking about how GT hasnt won at UVA since before the Civil War (almost) ... Too much has been made of that, GT showed last week that they can play a little bit of defense, and Paul johnson is the BEST coach at not allowing a team to cheat by playing tendencies and thus - in an ugly but important game - GT will break off at least 3 50 yard plus plays using the b and c choices in the triple option and so long as they keep their turnover margin to less than a minus 2, I think GT wins 21-16 and the south finally admits that They are part of the union.


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