College football continues to roll on the bumpy and windy road paved by the pandemic. It is just one week until the mighty SEC joins the mix and propels the excitement for the sport even further. Until then, we still have plenty to please our palate when it comes to the product’s landscape.
Perhaps the most anticipated game of the evening consists of ACC foes with two dynamic quarterbacks.
Louisville’s Micale Cunningham will take on D’Eriq King and the Miami Hurricanes. The Cardinals host the Hurricanes, as the home team seeks revenge from a 52-27 drubbing in 2019 down by South Beach. Each team won their first game of 2020, but it’s Louisville that comes in as the one-point favorite. The line was 2.5 in favor of the ‘Cards as early as Friday evening.
Both teams return a modest amount of contributors from last year, but Miami added explosive weaponry to their arsenal. King, along with Jaelen Phillips and Quincy Roche, are talented transfers looking to make an immediate impact.
King, the former Houston Cougar, finished with 141 yards passing and 83 yards rushing in a 31-14 win versus UAB. He was a preseason first team All-AAC by selection by Athlon Sports in 2019.
Roche and Philips combined for six tackles, 1.5 for loss, and two pass deflections. Their disruption on the front bodes well for a talented and experienced secondary. Phillips is a former 5-star recruit who transferred from UCLA. Roche played at Temple in 2019, where he earned AAC Defensive Player of the Year. This tandem looks to help boost a defense that ranked 23rd (total defense) last season.
Louisville averaged an impressive 6.7 yards per play in a 35-21 win against Western Kentucky. Cunningham is versatile and has weapons to get the ball to, especially Chatarius ‘Tutu’ Atwell. The receiver is lauded as one of the best in the country. Atwell had six receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown in his hometown of Miami during last year’s tilt against the ‘Canes.
But that wasn’t enough. A typically-stagnant Miami offense jumped to a 35-14 lead by halftime on a wet Saturday night.
Don’t expect a blowout on either side in tonight’s game. This will be a fun matchup. I actually think Miami is undervalued. Most of that hype is fueled by the Cunningham-Atwell tandem, and rightfully so. But I think too many are missing out on the bounty of components that the Hurricanes present.
Miami will try to control the clock. Thanks to an unproven Cardinals defense, they will have success doing so. Louisville ranked 109th in total defense in 2019. They gave up over 200 yards per game on the ground, which didn’t help supplement an offense that averaged 33.1 points per contest. They will rely on development to improve on the defensive side, unlike Miami, who has proven talent at both levels.
The best way to defend a dynamic receiver is to take the ball out of his hands. Miami rushed 65 percent of the time last week, while holding a respectable UAB opponent to a 20 percent conversion rate on third downs. The Hurricanes rushed for 337 yards, lead by Cam’Ron Harris who tallied 134 and two touchdowns. Expect more clock control and gash-plays from The U.
Take the point(s) with the team who has more high-end talent to offer. Follow the money … ‘Canes win regardless.
Miami +1 (-110) or ML
Bonus Degenerate Special
Again we have a degenerate special made just for you, the greasy cash-grabber. And once more, we will go back to the well with Texas State. The Bobcats narrowly escaped a cover last week versus UTSA, but it wasn’t absent of a hard effort and valiant attempt at a comeback. All the while, they were hit with COVID-related inactives.
This week, Texas State takes on the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks got rolled 37-7 by Army last week. The one staple of the Black Knights pedigree is a heavy rushing attack. Monroe didn’t do anything to change that narrative. Then Warhawks gave up 444 on the ground in their first and only game.
The one thing Texas State can do well is pound the rock. They have totaled 391 rushing yards in two games, led by Brock Sturges. The sophomore running back has been their lead horse. He and quarterback Tyler Vitt have lead an offense that has managed to score 36 points per game.
The Bobcats defense is a sieve, but it will be just fine against a Monroe team who only mustered 200 yards of total offense last week. Texas State will still be without transfer Brady McBride, but Vitt will be able to handle the Warhawks Defense just fine.
The Bobcats finally break the ice and get a win.
Texas State -3 (110)
Other notable picks and predictions from Fanrun:
Hayden Wallen, Troy -3
Will Stevens, Marshall “lock of the week”
Charley Collier, “Don’t bet against App State” and “Louisville” also “Nats,” probably …
Dylan Saylor, Marshall “is fire”