Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Week 4 Preview, Part I: Where's Syracuse When You Need Them?

Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, 7:30pm - Orange Bowl, Miami, FL
Series Record: Texas A&M leads 1-0; the Aggies won the only previous meeting 70-14 in 1944
Stat Watch: 10-0...the Hurricanes' record in their last ten Thursday night throwdowns
Quick Overview: Ladies and gents, I told you Patrick Nix was an inexplicably lame hire as offensive coordinator in Coral Gables. After three games - two of which were against possibly the two worst 1-A programs this year - Miami ranks just 99th in total offense. Sure, corrections and improvement take time, but when the man brought into make those corrections has no past history of ever doing so and actually sports a track record of worsening his given charge, one loses faith that said improvement will be made. On the bright side, while A&M has scored in bunches so far this year, it's been against fairly horrid competition and the Aggies haven't seen anything like the Miami defense. A spirited Hurricane defensive effort, a wild Orange Bowl crowd (sparse or not), some potent Thursday Night Voodoo, and mistake free football on offense is the recipe for a Miami upset. But all ingredients, in equal measure, must be applied...nothing less.
Prediction: I'm not all that impressed with the Aggies yet, but Miami is too much of a work-in-progress, and they simply don't have the firepower to win even a quasi-shootout if that's what it comes down to. If A&M scores more than 21, it's over. Texas A&M 24, Miami 17

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 12pm - Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Series Record: South Florida leads 1-0; the Bulls won last year's meeting 37-20
Stat Watch: 4, 99...USF and UNC's respective national ranking in turnover margin
Quick Overview: For the first time in school history, the Bulls enter a game with one of those neat little numbers next to their name, indicating that they are considered worthy enough to be listed as one of the 25 best teams this week. That they managed a poll appearance after not even playing last Saturday is a bit curious, especially since the noteworthy team they beat two weeks ago was effectively totalled for the season after a subsequent loss at home to Mississippi State. Anyhoo, living here in the Tampa area, I understand full well that USF is (gulp) the second best team in Florida and that Jim Leavitt is perhaps one of the five best college football hires of the last 10 years. Oh yeah, about UNC...TJ Yates continues to impress, but that Virginia loss left a mark, at least psychologically.
Prediction: The Bulls are bad medicine for the disappointed Tar Heels. USF 34, North Carolina 20

The remaining six ACC game previews are in the green room...

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