Miami Football: Top 3 Trap Games Remaining in 2013
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Every championship-caliber team always seems to overlook a certain opponent that—on paper—has no business keeping the game exciting.
Whether the championship aspirations are of the conference or national variety, these trap games can ultimately destroy a team's season—and the Miami Hurricanes are no different.
For example, an Akron squad that had not beaten an FBS team on the road since 2008 nearly took down the Michigan Wolverines at the Big House last Saturday.
Now, for the Canes this coming weekend, Savannah State will certainly not cause an issue similar to Akron.
Yes, I know Akron (or Appalachian State) was not supposed to be capable of causing problems at Michigan, but I'm stubborn, and it cannot happen to my favorite team.
Once Atlantic Coast Conference play arrives, a few less heralded teams lurk in the shadows of the Hurricanes' schedule, waiting for an opportunity to spring an upset on Miami.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, October 5
Recent Miami teams have bested the Yellow Jackets, winning four consecutive games over the Coastal Division opponent.
But in 2013, the Yellow Jackets appear to be one of the ACC's more underrated teams. Georgia Tech's offense, under the leadership of sophomore quarterback Vad Lee, has not been completely reliant on the run game.
During Tech's season-opening win over Elon, Lee threw for 189 yards. No, Elon is not anywhere near a formidable opponent, but Lee tallied 189 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-11 passing.
Against Duke last weekend, Lee tossed four touchdowns, completing eight of 16 attempts, and added another score on the ground.
Yeah, let that sink in for a moment. Georgia Tech had four passing touchdowns in one game.
Now, it would be rather ridiculous to crown Paul Johnson's triple-option as a changed scheme due to two mediocre passing games, but Tech has shown an improved effectiveness through the air. The Jackets need not possess a prolific passing attack, but the ability for Lee and his offensive counterparts to catch a defense off guard is lethal.
All Georgia Tech needs is one mental breakdown and blown coverage assignment by an opposing defensive back, and it practically has a free touchdown.
This Saturday, September 21, when Georgia Tech hosts North Carolina, we will learn more about real threats the Yellow Jackets pose (and UNC, for that matter).
But as of this moment, Tech looks rather dangerous since it has shown two productive dimensions offensively.
Virginia Cavaliers, November 23
The Virginia Cavaliers own Miami.
Why? I don't know, but they do.
Virginia scored the final 10 points of the 2012 matchup to pull out a 41-40 win, and Mike London improved his already perfect record to 3-0 against the Canes.
The loss cost Miami a chance at an outright division title, and it is entirely possible the Hurricanes are in the same position this season.
After playing at North Carolina on November 9, the Cavaliers have an off week before heading to Miami. Virginia will be rested from its treacherous three-game stretch against Georgia Tech, Clemson and UNC and completely focused on the Canes.
Plus, if the Cavs are going to make an unexpected run at the Coastal Division title, Virginia will absolutely need to beat Miami.
The Hurricanes will have home-field advantage, but unlike games against Georgia Tech, recent history is not on Miami's side.
Pittsburgh Panthers, November 29
If you are an avid Hurricanes follower, you have heard me preach the potential weather factor of this game.
Which team will provide the biggest challenge to Miami?
This first ever ACC matchup between former Big East foes takes place on November 29 (the day after Thanksgiving) at Heinz Field.
According to Weather Underground, it was approximately 40 degrees with winds reaching about 20 miles per hour on November 29, 2012 in Pittsburgh. Even if it did not or does not snow this year, 40 degrees is cold for Florida boys.
The two most recent notable cold-weather games Miami has played were both against Notre Dame, and Miami lost 33-17 during the 2010 Sun Bowl and was trashed 41-3 at Soldier Field last year.
Bad things can happen when the Hurricanes find their way into the elements, let alone a snowstorm.
Through two games, Pitt has allowed 4.3 yards per rush and 34.0 points per contest. Conversely, the Panthers offense has gained 6.2 yards per carry and, after being held in check by Florida State, racked up 49 points versus New Mexico.
The Steel City is known for smashmouth football because of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Hurricanes may have to prepare for a ground-and-pound game against the Panthers.
Miami has the offensive talent for this type of battle, but like it did against Florida, the Canes defense will be the key to earning a victory over the Panthers.
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