Back for another week of college football action. The BCS got rocked last weekend thanks to the USC dropping a game, and the Tennessee Vols taught us that Florida can be rattled. What can be expected in week four? That I don't know but you can believe that once again my picks will be spot on.
The Hurricanes and the Hokies have combined for some great games in the Big East, however since both schools made the conversion to the ACC, the rivalry has cooled a bit. Saturday afternoon, the rivalry is back on. The Virginia Tech Hokies are coming off an impressive victory over a much improved Nebraska Cornhuskers squad. On the other side of the ball you have the Miami Hurricanes, who look to be regaining their swagger both on and off the field. There is no doubt this game will provide great theater.
The Hokies Tyrod Taylor finally had his breakout moment last weekend when he lead Virginia Tech on an 80 yard game-winning drive. Taylor's emergence has kept the Hokies offense on track this season while they wait for their young runningbacks to get adjusted to big time football. On Saturday he will face another aggressive defense, that is closer to the one he faced in the season opener against Bama.
The Miami Hurricanes are quickly becoming the darlings of the NCAA, which is strange if you think about it, but also very good for college football. There is no doubt that this Miami team is legit. Jaccory Harris should have his name tossed into the Heisman balloting. He is a very athletic quarterback who knows how to buy time in the pocket. However, what makes him special is Harris' ability to throw the ball downfield. Having a solid arm helps to keep the defense honest and calm some of the aggressive pass rush schemes.
Despite being the home team, the spread is favoring the Miami Hurricanes by three points. This is a big game both in the ACC standings and on the national scene. Frank Beamer's Hokies just came off a big win against Nebraska weekend and could be suffering from a bit of a hangover. Miami looked sharp last week against Georgia Tech. It definitely seems like the U have gotten their swagger back.
Winner: Miami Hurricanes win straight up and cover the three points.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Tar Heels are coached by Butch Davis who many consider the architect for the Miami Hurricane juggernaut of the '90s. After a brief stint in the NFL, Davis has settled in Chapel Hill, and after a few seasons of rebuilding he appears to be putting his mark on the Tar Heel program. UNC have plenty of questions to answer on the offensive side of the ball.
Mainly inconsistencies at quarterback have hampered North Carolina's attack. What Butch Davis has done for the Tar Heels is bring life to what is a very aggressive and dangerous defense. The speed and athleticism at the linebacker position make the Tar Heels a threat against any team.
Many thought the Yellow Jackets were the favorites to win the ACC in 2009. Paul Johnson has his version of the triple option running in high gear. Last week against the Hurricanes Georgia Tech were held in check. That was because the Cane's have more speed than your average defense. Against the Tar Heels, Georgia Tech will push the limits. The Rambling Wreck rushing attack has the opportunity to churn up yards on the ground and wear out the Tar Heels defense.
The spread on this game favors the Yellow Jackets by two and a half points, that's basically the cover the spread they give to any home team. However, despite the fact that North Carolina are the ranked team in this match up, Georgia Tech are still the better squad when it comes to executing X's and O's.
Winner: Georgia Tech cover the spread and wins the game.
This may be the most intriguing and underrated game on the weekend. During the preseason the Oregon Ducks were expected to make some noise both in the Pac 10 and on the national scene. All of those thoughts were put to rest when Oregon went down in burning flames in a season opener against Boise State. The damage done on the field was only out matched by post game altercations.
All of that being said, the Oregon Ducks are not a terrible team, they just need to find their identity under new head coach Chip Kelly. Slowly but surely this Duck's team is coming together. Oregon got through their non-conference schedule 2-1 and all things said, that is nothing to be ashamed of.
The Cal Bears are a very hot team right now thanks to the efforts of runningback Jahvid Best. There is no question that the Bears have the horses and are prepared to make a legit run at the Pac 10 title. The key for the Bears this weekend will be focus. Everyone in the state of California is looking forward to the Bears and Trojans game next week. However, that game will not mean a thing if Cal cannot knock off the Ducks in Oregon.
The spread shows Cal as a six point favorite. Cal have the talent to win the game but, they don't have the focus to cover the six point spread.
Winner: Cal wins the game, but Oregon keeps it interesting and covers the spread.
The Horned Frogs are a good team. Unlike some of their Mountain West counter parts, the Horned Frogs go on the road, play good teams and they know how to win. TCU have already traveled east once this year to whip up on an ACC team. However, that was the Virginia Cavalier and I assure you, the Tigers will not be that bad.
TCU have made a name for themselves thanks to a stellar defense. Their 3-3-5 scheme is something that opposing teams don't see very often and as a result they have a hard time preparing for and executing against it.
Once again, there were high hopes in Death Valley. An early loss to Georgia Tech derailed some of that hype, but nonetheless the Tigers are a dangerous team. They still have arguably the best running back in the country with C.J. Spiller. He sat out part of Clemson's last game with a bum toe, but all indications show Spiller should be past that in time for Saturday's game.
This is another one of those unique matchups where the ranked team actually enters the game as an underdog. The spread favors Clemson by three points. One has to think this advantage comes from the raucous crowd that will be in attendance in Death Valley on Saturday evening. This is a very difficult game to chose, but I say go for the big play.
Winner: TCU wins the game outright and thus covers the spread.