Clemson vs Miami Prediction
The next big game has arrived for the Clemson Tigers, and if they win, the rest of the season sets up nicely for a run at a division championship. A loss means another uphill climb and lots of scoreboard watching, so the Tigers just need to go down to Miami Gardens and take care of business. The Picking Machine, with the help of 13-year old Koty, got back on the winning track last week when the Tigers dismantled Wake Forest. It will take that kind of effort again this week if Clemson can knock off a Top 10 team and set up plans for another tombstone.
Clemson at Miami
When Clemson Has the Ball
The Clemson offense threw to the tight ends last week, quarterback Kyle Parker ran the ball effectively and scored an “attitude” touchdown, and the offense line stayed with their blocks longer. The end result was four touchdowns in five red zone trips and five touchdowns overall. This week, they will need to do all of the above, plus have the wide receivers, other than Jacoby Ford, get more involved. The Hurricanes have an athletic defense, but they have also have injuries all over the place, and the run defense has been less than stellar. Look for Clemson to execute the same type of diverse game plan as last week, perhaps with more misdirection to try and take advantage of Miami’s speed.
ADVANTAGE – EVEN
When Miami Has the Ball
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris burst onto the scene earlier this season with an outstanding effort against FSU, and is definitely the most talented quarterback Clemson has faced this season. He has thrown 11 touchdowns, but has also been sacked 16 times and has thrown seven interceptions. Harris seemed excited earlier this week when thinking about sending his receivers out 1-on-1 with Clemson’s defensive backs, but Clemson’s plan will also be to harass him early enough in the play to force mistakes. Also, Steele may go against the flow a little bit and show Harris 1-on-1, then drop into a different coverage to try and force turnovers. This one may actually hinge on how well Miami can run the football. The Clemson defense is very good, and will look to continue their nasty ways in Miami. Harris is also very good and he has outstanding receivers. This matchup will be fun to watch.
ADVANTAGE – EVEN
Miami’s Matt Bosher handles the punting and place kicking duties, and he has hit 6-of-8 field goals and has a net punting average of 34.2. Their kickoff return teams and punt return teams have dangerous performers, but they have yet to show the big play capability like Clemson has. The Canes are seventh in the conference in kickoff coverage, and head coach Randy Shannon intimated earlier this week that he would almost rather kick to Spiller and Ford and trust his coverage teams than let Clemson start every drive at the 40-yard line or beyond. Spiller is looking healthy again, and this could be a difference maker, again, for Clemson.
ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON
Miami head coach Randy Shannon took over a program in a bit of turmoil, survived the initial backlash, and now has a team ranked in the Top 10 in the nation. He has beaten Oklahoma and head coach Bob Stoops this year and destroyed Georgia Tech and seems on the verge of making Miami a national contender. Dabo Swinney has made Clemson more physical, and last week was just an example of what Clemson is capable of when they take advantage of all of the talent. The big difference between the two young coaches is that Shannon has come up with a couple of signature wins, while Dabo is still looking.
ADVANTAGE – MIAMI
You hear it every week, but this one really could come down to field position and turnovers. Miami has talent all of the over field, and so does Clemson. Both teams need this game. And both teams have the types of players that can be game-changers. The Tigers desperately want another tombstone to add to the “graveyard” that lines the walkway to the football practice fields, and they know that a win over a Top 10 team, on the road, will not only throw the team back into national consciousness but also set up a possible run at an ACC title. A loss drops them back under .500 at 3-4. With all things being almost equal, the Canes are at home and they have won a few big games this season. Until Clemson proves they can beat a quality opponent, and win on the road (they are 0-2 against Top 15 teams this season, and 0-2 on the road), you have to pick Miami. I also know that the last time I picked against the Tigers, they beat South Carolina rather handily.
MIAMI 22, CLEMSON 20