Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Bitter End of My 2006 Weekly Previews...

...yet another thing to be grateful for during this Thanksgiving holiday.

And something else to thank your lucky charms for....'tis Rivalry Weekend!

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006
BOSTON COLLEGE (9-2) at MIAMI (5-6)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - BOSTON COLLEGE (6.1 penalties, 45.1yds, #69); MIAMI (7.0 penalties, 62.9yds, #99)
Series Record: Miami leads 22-3; last meeting- Miami 33, Boston College 14 (2003)
In Summary: I've said it plenty of times throughout the season, but allow me to remind everyone again that this game takes place 22 years to the day of the Doug Flutie Hail Mary on this same Orange Bowl field. And, coincidentally or not, that year was the last time a BC team won 10 games. The 2006 Eagles would pick up their tenth win with a victory over the psychologically spent Hurricanes. Given that this is Larry Coker's last home game with Miami (and likely his last game, period), on a Thursday night, in that craptacular Orange Bowl stadium, on the 22nd anniversary of Flutie-to-Phelan, with Boston College looking to stay in the ACC-Atlantic race, I can't imagine this not being a close one.
The Pick: Boston College 24, Miami 20

Saturday, Nov. 25, 2006
FLORIDA (10-1) at FLORIDA STATE (6-5)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - FLORIDA (8.6 penalties, 64.2yds, #118); FLORIDA STATE (7.3 penalties, 56.9yds, #106)
Series Record: Florida leads 29-20-2; last meeting- Florida 34, Florida State 7 (2005)
In Summary: The day that nearly all Seminole fans have awaited for the last several years has arrived......Jeff Bowden will call his last game as FSU offensive coordinator. Unfortunately for Nole fans, he calls that last game against the #11 total defense in the nation, and against a team looking for beauty points in the BCS poll. Look for the Seminoles to be the looser team in this game, at least early on, as they've already clinched a bowl bid, and look for UF's penalty and kicking woes to bite them in the rump early on. But, barring a total Gator meltdown (4+ turnovers, the Seminole defense actually being prepared for Tim Tebow to run the damn ball when he's in the game, and Urbie Meyer suddenly realizing that 7 days later he has to play that same Arkansas team he crapped on in his bitchfest conference call this week regarding the BCS), Florida will pull away in the second half.
The Pick: Florida 28, Florida State 16

VIRGINIA (5-6) at VIRGINIA TECH (9-2)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - VIRGINIA (4.4 penalties, 31.5yds, #11); VIRGINIA TECH (6.0 penalties, 46.7yds, #65)
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 45-32-5; last meeting- Virginia Tech 52, Virginia 14 (2005)
In Summary: Am I crazy to think that Al Groh - whom I don't hold in very high regard - may have actually performed one of his best coaching jobs this year? Going into this season, UVA had to break in new offensive and defensive coordinators, practically an entirely new starting offensive and defensive lineup, and yet they are going bowling if they pull off this huge upset. Florida State, Miami, UNC and NC State all had more talent on the field this year than the Cavs, yet Big Al's Hoos have a better league record than all of them. However, across the state from the chessmaster, Frank Beamer has turned in one of the quietest 9-2 campaigns of any major conference coach in recent memory. And with this kid Sean Glennon at QB, no less. Having one of the better defenses of the decade no doubt helps things in that regard, but the Hokie offense has finally appeared to have settled in place, the Brandon Ore injury notwithstanding. Groh's overachieving performance this season ends in a rather unpleasant fashion.
The Pick: Virginia Tech 31, Virginia 13

NORTH CAROLINA (2-9) at DUKE (0-11)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - NORTH CAROLINA (6.1 penalties, 50.7yds, #69); DUKE (6.3 penalties, 49.5yds, #74)
Series Record: North Carolina leads 50-31-4; last meeting- North Carolina 24, Duke 21 (2005)
In Summary: Look, these are two bad football teams, both with skippers coaching their last game. Still, Duke is very young and they've showed a lot more promise throughout the season than UNC has. Bunting had his feel-good moment last week against NC State. Roof will get his this Saturday.
The Pick: Duke 17, North Carolina 14

SOUTH CAROLINA (6-5) at CLEMSON (8-3)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - SOUTH CAROLINA (6.6 penalties, 50.0yds, #87); CLEMSON (4.2 penalties, 35.6yds, #5)
Series Record: Clemson leads 59-35-4; last meeting- Clemson 13, South Carolina 9 (2005)
In Summary: The Tigers haven't looked the same since their obliteration of Georgia Tech last month; in their three games since (losses to Va Tech and Maryland, and a win over NC State), Clemson has looked like a lethargic and (after the VT loss) an unmotivated ballclub. Those problems should be solved - two weeks to prepare for their biggest rival at home should result in a jacked up Tiger team looking to roar into the bowl season.
The Pick: Clemson 27, South Carolina 14

GEORGIA TECH (9-2) at GEORGIA (7-4)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - GEORGIA TECH (6.6 penalties, 56.0yds, #87); GEORGIA (6.3 penalties, 47.3yds, #74)
Series Record: Georgia leads 53-37-5; last meeting- Georgia 14, Georgia Tech 7 (2005)
In Summary: It's rivalry weekend, and I haven't picked anything too crazy yet. Chan Gailey is 0-4 against UGA as the Yellow Jacket boss, and he has a new wrinkle to worry about, the ACC Championship Game next week. The Bulldogs, given up for dead after the their 4th loss in late October, shocked the bejesus out of the football universe by obliterating Auburn at Auburn two weeks ago. All the stats and even starting talent point to Tech, but it's rivalry week, this one's in Athens, and GT has a more important game after this one.
The Pick: Georgia 17, Georgia Tech 16

EAST CAROLINA (6-5) at N.C. STATE (3-8)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - EAST CAROLINA (4.6 penalties, 42.0yds, #13); N.C. STATE (7.1 penalties, 57.9yds, #101)
Series Record: N.C. State leads 14-9; last meeting- N.C. State 52, East Carolina 14 (2004)
In Summary: It would have been very wise for State AD Lee Fowler to announce the firing of Chuck Amato this week, so that the Pack would at least have a key rallying point heading into their final game of the season. But no. After losing their sixth straight game this season, to archrival and up-until-then-looking-for-their-first-1A-win UNC, all's mum with Amato's status. Think losing to the Tar Heels was rock bottom? Try getting drilled at home by that school in Greenville.
The Pick: East Carolina 24, N.C. State 10

WAKE FOREST (9-2) at MARYLAND (8-3)
Super-Fun Stats: Penalties & Penalty Yards Per Game - WAKE FOREST (4.8 penalties, 42.7yds, #21); MARYLAND (4.2 penalties, 38.4yds, #5)
Series Record: Maryland leads 40-13-1; last meeting- Maryland 22, Wake Forest 12 (2005)
In Summary: The Terps and Deacons were both brought crashing to earth last week after, a remarkable five week stretch that vaulted both to the top of the ACC-Atlantic and well in the Top 25. Maryland had relied on capitalizing on opponent's mistakes while Wake Forest out-schemed and (yes) outmuscled their opposition. After having the tables turned on them last week, look for both schools to go back to the drawing board a bit. Given that, and given that this one is in College Park, I'll go with the home team. But Wake, what a run!
The Pick: Maryland 23, Wake Forest 21

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