Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week 5 Preview: Gut Feelings

I'm not going to bother discussing matchups, streaks, strengths/weaknesses when previewing this Saturday's games. This week, I'm just going with my gut as to who should win, with a one sentence explanation as to how or why. My ramblings and analysis in the previous weeks have usually been a bit off, so let's see if my gut is any smarter than my noggin...

Saturday, 9/27/08, noon ET - Dolphin Stadium, Miami, FL
Series Record: North Carolina leads 6-5; the Tar Heels won last year's meeting 33-27
Gut Feeling: The Tar Heel defense keeps it close, but UNC sorely misses TJ Yates. Miami 20, North Carolina 14

MARYLAND (3-1) at CLEMSON (3-1)
Saturday, 9/27/08, noon ET - Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Series Record: Clemson leads 30-24-2; the Tigers won last year's meeting 30-17
Gut Feeling: Even with the porous and injury-plagued Clemson offensive line, the Terps' defense won't be able to stop the Tiger attack. Clemson 33, Maryland 24

VIRGINIA (1-2) at DUKE (2-1)
Saturday, 9/27/08, noon ET - Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Series Record: Virginia leads 32-27; the Cavaliers won last year's meeting 24-13
Gut Feeling: The bye week helped out both teams, but the better ballclub pulls this one out. Duke 24, Virginia 17

Saturday, 9/27/08, 1pm ET - Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Series Record: Boston College leads 4-2; the Eagles won the last meeting 48-0 in 1917
Gut Feeling: Last chance for Chris Crane to keep his job - and he barely does. Boston College 38, Rhode Island 3

Saturday, 9/27/08, 3:30pm ET - Alltell Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
Series Record: Florida State leads 2-0; the Seminoles won last year's meeting 16-6
Gut Feeling: The Seminole offense is shell-shocked by their performance last week - but they'll do just enough to let the defense pull this one out (and the D scores a touchdown as well). Florida State 20, Colorado 14

NAVY (2-2) at WAKE FOREST (3-0)
Saturday, 9/27/08, 3:45pm ET - BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
Series Record: Wake Forest leads 6-2; the Demon Deacons won last year's meeting 44-24
Gut Feeling: Knowing that they are good enough to drop a turd on offense and still beat FSU in Tallahassee, an invigorated Deacon squad unloads on the Middies. Wake Forest 45, Navy 20

USF (4-0) at N.C. STATE (2-2)
Saturday, 9/27/08, 7:30pm ET - Carter Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Series Record: N.C. State leads 1-0; the Wolfpack won the previous meeting 14-0 in the 2005 Meineke Bowl
Gut Feeling: Back to injury-cursed-reality for the Wolfpack - but they make a game of it for 2 1/2 quarters. USF 30, N.C. State 14

Saturday, 9/27/08, 8pm ET - Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Series Record: Nebraska leads 1-0; the Cornhuskers won the previous meeting 41-21 in the 1997 Orange Bowl
Gut Feeling: Two straight weeks of down-to-the-wire finishes has taken it's toll on the young Hokies - they get beat up by a rested and veteran Husker squad looking to make a statement. Nebraska 35, Virginia Tech 17



RiverCityHoo said...

Funny. At the end of last week, you were calling for the Devils to lay the wood to the Cavs. Now, you're toeing the Vegas line. What's up -- are you that impressed with Verica's Piano Man skills?

Marcus said...

Funny? Nah. Things change over time...two weeks ago USC was destroying Ohio St and 12 days later they get punked by an Oregon State team that looked like a Pop Warner squad at Penn State.

I think the bye week settled some things down a little bit in both Durham (coming down from their "high") and C-ville (getting their bearings after their horrid first three games).

And, please note the subtitle of my blog - it ain't just a cutesy quip.

rivercityhoo said...

Hah. I see your point about the subtitle. And isn't it appropriate for this particular year in conference...

I'll take your observation about the Cavs "getting their bearings" as a positive one -- which makes it the first positive statement about the team (as opposed to a player -- the ink-stained wretches seem to genuinely like Verica, but we'll see how far that gets him) in print form since, oh, Sunday morning. Hope you're right.

However, even if they go down, it won't be the worst loss in history (UVa's history has WAY too many other contenders). It won't even be the worst loss under Groh in terms of emotional pain -- for me, that has to be the Gator Bowl (which still stings). But what do you think --does a L in Durham, considering all that's happened with (and to) the team this year, mean the door for Chairman Al?

Marcus said...


I don't think losing to Duke means Groh gets the boot...that would just be a symptom of the overall problem. And the overall problem is that UVA football isn't better in any meaningful aspect after 7 years with Groh than they were under George Welsh. In fact, they're worse in many regards (ACC record, overall record, national perception). Things are perceived as being so bad that they're 7pt dogs to DUKE! Sure, the Devils are better but I don't think Duke's been a 7pt fave since Spurrier (slight exaggeration).

Groh just never was a great fit for college football in my opinion. But I'm not the one signing checks, so it really depends on what the UVA admins and boosters think.

Marcus said...

Yikes...guess my initial impression from 2 weeks ago was right. 31-3 to Duke might actually be the catalyst for Groh's ouster now.

rivercityhoo said...

Maybe so. At this point, though, practical considerations rear their head. Such as: I believe the cost to the university to buy Groh out is something like $2 million -- not exactly chump change. Nor am I enamoured of the Jeff Bowden approach (i.e., the big boosters fling a bunch of money at the coach to go away), as that just further increases their already significant power over the program.

Second, and perhaps more important: who on earth do you hire to replace Groh? The temptation is to lure a big name that gets folks fired up (though not something that the school has historically done) whereas my preference is an under-the-radar true football guy, a coordinator or small-school coach with ties to the program and the state. Either way, though, he'll have to play the same collection of freshmen and third-stringers that have made this season such a chore so far. Plus, the program will be in turmoil for even longer, while the Hokies continue to solidify their hold at the top of what used to be our conference (in the sense of creating and shaping, not dominating -- just to be clear).

It's all pretty depressing. Thank God for the Redskins.

Marcus said...

Either Groh is the right guy or he isn't....that has to be the first consideration - and the deciding factor - in whether to keep him. The second is how much it costs to get rid of him. From what I've read, the buyout is either $960,000 or $3.4mil. Either way - pay it.. and buyouts can be negotiated down depending on the circumstances.

Who do you get to replace him? Skip Holtz is a hot name right now but cools with each loss ECU suffers. How about the guy who just punked the Cavs two weeks ago, Randy Edsall? A longshot would be Boise's Chris Petersen - a longshot because he's headed for a bigger program most likely (hello Tennessee). Oakland's Lane Kiffin will be available soon as well.

On the coordinator circuit, take your pick from UF's OC (Dan Mullen) or DC (Charlie Strong).

The worst thing UVA can do is nothing. You either strive for excellence or accept mediocrity. I'd advise the Hoos to take the Ga Tech route - Chan Gailey did more at GT than Groh has done at UVA, but the Jackets had enough of the overall stagnation and upgraded.