In what was thought to be an ACC Championship semifinal for the Miami Hurricanes (6-5), their game against the Duke Blue Devils (6-5) will be simply for jockeying in the Coastal standings.
With a win this Saturday, the ‘Canes would have headed to face Florida State in their first ACC Championship appearance. That was before they pushed the ‘end’ button on their season.
Miami announced Monday that they will self-impose a bowl ban this season for fear of impeding sanctions from the Nevin Shapiro scandal. A must-watch game for Miami fans just turned into a stay-away.
However, there’s still much to watch between the ‘Canes and the Dukies, including multiple school records on the line. Keep reading to find out.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.
Watch: ACC Network
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Spread: Duke (+3), Over/Under: OFF
Miami comes into Durham a road favorite with nothing to play for, an interesting spot for oddsmakers and wagerers alike.
It seems that talent-wise, Miami has a significant edge on the offensive end, but it’s motivation has to be considered after the athletic department pulled the plug on its season. That may be just enough to have Duke hang around for a field-goal ending or an outright win.
Injury Report (via USA Today as of 11/19/2012)
DB Deon Bush- Neck- Questionable
S Brandon Braxton- Lower Body- Questionable
LB Kelby Brown- Knee- Questionable
Like I touched on earlier, Miami’s self-removal from bowl contention renders it a December afterthought, even though they are bowl-eligible.
The Blue Devils, however, will be making their first bowl appearance since 1994. For a basketball powerhouse, this is a major coup for head coach David Cutcliffe and his players. What makes the Dukies season even more impressive is that they became bowl eligible a month ago. Saturday’s game will be an incentive for Duke to play later in December.
Miami Player to Watch: Duke Johnson, RB
Even without a 13th game to pad his stats, the freshman Johnson needs only 58 yards to break the Miami freshman rushing record of 839 yards set by Clinton Portis.
He also has a minute chance to break Willis McGahee’s all-purpose yards record, but he’ll need 315 yards against the Blue Devils to do it.
Stephen Morris could also enter the Miami record books. The Hurricanes signal-caller needs 20 attempts and 32 completions to break Bernie Kosar’s marks from his 1984 season.
In their high-powered offense, both records are certainly in play.
Duke Player to Watch: Sean Renfree, QB
If Duke is going to pull off the upset in its season finale, its quarterback will have to be the catalyst.
Renfree has taken command of this offense in a big way, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Another positive note on his season has to be his 67 percent completion rate, a number that Cutcliffe must be pleased with.
The Miami secondary is vulnerable to even middling passing attacks, so Renfree and Co. should be able to execute and score points.
Whether they can keep up with Stephen Morris and the Miami offense on the other sideline, though, will decide this contest.
Prediction: Miami 33 Duke 24
While Duke would love to get their unprecedented seventh win, they’ll be content to go bowling in the weeks to come.
This becomes a de-facto final in Durham for Miami. The team will follow up a domination of USF last weekend to win its final game for its seniors.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheRealShiek.