coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 10/13/2013 09:45 AM in NCAA Football

Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels: Preview and Pick

Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels: Preview and Pick

The Miami Hurricanes will take their unblemished record on the road against the North Carolina Tar Heels for the week eight edition of Thursday night college football on ESPN. The Tar Heels have had a very difficult season but the season would be turned around if they can get the big upset victory over a top ranked team in the ACC conference.

Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels Odds

The college football odds for this game opened up with the Canes as big favorites as they are obviously the better team. They are expected to bring in big action from the public leading up to kickoff.

If the Tar Heels are going to beat the Canes they will have to do it shorthanded. North Carolina's Jack Tabb will be suspended for the first half of next week's game against No. 13 Miami following his ejection in the weekend loss at Virginia Tech. Tabb is a tight end who started at linebacker against the Hokies and played both ways Saturday. But he was ejected with 4 minutes left for throwing a punch during a kickoff return. Miami will try and take advantage of the fact that he will be out of the lineup and get revenge for a bad loss a season ago.

Miami lost a tough game at home against the Heels that it had every opportunity to win. Ryan Williams came into the game after Stephen Morris got hurt, and ultimately could not convert on fourth-and-6 from the UNC 26. Now the Canes are a much better team and will try and show the world on Thursday night college football.

The latest college football trends for this game indicate we could see a high scoring game. The total has gone over in 4 of Miami's last 6 games when playing North Carolina, but Miami is 2-4 straight up in its last 6 games when playing North Carolina. The total has gone over in 4 of Miami's last 6 games and over in 6 of Miami's last 7 games on the road. The total has gone over in 6 of North Carolina's last 7 games at home and North Carolina is 9-2 straight up in its last 11 games at home although they are just 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 6 games overall.

Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/14/2013 02:53 PM

As Miami continues preparing for Thursday's game against North Carolina, Hurricanes coach Al Golden reiterated yet again Saturday how happy he's been with the play of his offensive line.

When Miami released its newest depth chart Friday night, several changes came along the line where Brandon Linder was listed as the starting right tackle ahead of Seantrel Henderson, who was suspended against Georgia Tech.

Jared Wheeler, who started at center while Shane McDermott dealt with an injury, is now listed as the starting right guard while McDermott moves back to the starting center spot.

But Golden doesn't expect those changes to impact Miami's play. In fact, he said yet again Saturday how much the line's versatility is a bonus.

“I don’t even ask who’s in there at any point in the game. Complete confidence in that group, even with the game is on the line,” Golden said. “It doesn’t matter. They all help each other out in practice because we’re a little bit light right now from an injury standpoint and they’re better because of it. We’re better because of it.”

Also Saturday, Golden said he thinks receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder/collarbone) is "close" to returning, although he hasn't taken a hit in practice yet.

Lineman Danny Isidora (foot) continues improving, though he will not be available against North Carolina.

"It's not my call. He's not going to make this game, but he's close. We're hopeful," Golden said. "He redshirted last year, so we're hopeful we can get him going. We have so many games left. Hopefully we've got a lot of games left. Hopefully we'll get him back here soon."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/15/2013 02:51 PM

After starting the year 1-4, the 2013 football season gets no easier for the North Carolina Tar Heels. In comes arguably the toughest test Carolina will face all year – the No. 10 Miami Hurricanes.

For the first time in the last four years, the Hurricanes (5-0, 1-0 ACC) are ranked in the top-10 and looked to have gained some swagger back from the glory days of the 1980’s and 90’s when they were simply known as, “The U”.

On the other side, the Tar Heels have not won a game since the first weekend in September against Middle Tennessee State almost six weeks ago. Nothing has seemed to click for Carolina after five games, as the defense is struggling to stop opponents from scoring, while the vaunted spread offense that head coach Larry Fedora installed in 2012 is just a mere shadow of itself so far in 2013.

However, with an easier second half of the schedule, if North Carolina can spring the upset over the Hurricanes it could easily jump-start their season and propel them to their first bowl game in the Fedora era. It will be a tough task, but if UNC does the following three things in front of their 65,000 fans at Kenan Stadium on Thursday night, they could beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since 2004 when they beat a Miami Hurricanes team ranked 3rd in the country.

1. Tackle, tackle, and tackle — Earlier this season, North Carolina coaches counted 21 missed tackles in a loss at Georgia Tech. In their very next game against East Carolina, the Tar Heels missed over 30 tackles in an embarrassing 55-31 loss at home to the Pirates. Add that to the fact that the Hurricanes average just over 45 points and 480 yards of total offense a game, and the Carolina defense is in for a very long night if they do not wrap up the Miami ball-carriers at first contact.

To put it simply, the UNC defense has not shown the ability to be able to mask the tackling issues they have had so far this season by making big plays such as turnovers and/or sacks of the quarterback. As a result, if North Carolina misses as many tackles as they have throughout the first five games of the season, Miami running back Duke Johnson, who averages over 6.8 yards per carry, could have a career day and ruin any hopes of a Carolina upset.

2. Run the ball…effectively — In 2012, the North Carolina offense had one of the best rushing attacks in the ACC behind Giovani Bernard, who led the conference in rushing yards with 1,228 and later went on to be the first running back taken in the 2013 NFL draft.

Coming into this season, Coach Fedora and staff knew it was going to be a challenge replacing Bernard’s production, but they also thought Carolina had the personnel to get the job done. So far, the UNC quartet of running backs A.J. Blue, Romar Morris, Khris Francis and T.J. Logan have yet to bring any real production to the running game. Some of the rushing issues could be blamed on the inexperienced offensive line, while other times it seems as if the running backs just are not making defenders miss or getting up the field in a timely fashion in order to keep the chains moving.

Nevertheless, there is too much talent on this offense to rank dead last in rushing in the ACC, a spot UNC currently holds. This is not an impossible task against a Miami defense that has let up close to 170 rushing yards per game in 2013. Not only will a good rushing attack help North Carolina stay balanced on offense and keep the Miami defense guessing, but it will also help keep the Hurricanes’ offense off the field – a recipe for success in order for the Tar Heels to cook up an upset.

3. Win the turnover battle — The biggest equalizer in all of football seems to be turnovers. No matter what the talent discrepancy is between two teams, turnovers can quickly level the playing field.

Carolina has not been successful at forcing turnovers so far this year, having only five takeaways this season – yet another ACC statistical category in which UNC ranks last. However, Miami has turned the ball over 10 times already this season, which would seem to be the chink in the armor of an offense that has otherwise been close to flawless this year.

Whether it be interceptions or forcing fumbles, the Tar Heels are going to have to force at least a couple of turnovers in this game to flip field position and give their offense a short field to make scoring touchdowns easier. On the flip side, UNC quarterback Bryn Renner and the rest of the offense is going to have to take care of the football – something Renner has been notoriously good at through his years at the helm of the Carolina offense.

If North Carolina can limit their missed tackles on defense, while running the ball effectively and win the turnover battle, they have a great shot at pulling the upset over the undefeated Hurricanes. In what figures to be a great atmosphere at Kenan Stadium for the Tar Heels’ first home night game since 2009, this could have all the makings of a classic upset that would surely get the North Carolina football season headed in the right direction after a rough start.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/16/2013 02:04 PM

Miami owns its first top 10 ranking in four years. With an apparent mismatch against struggling North Carolina, the Hurricanes look to have a good chance to stay there for at least one more week.

Miami can improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2004 with a road win over the Tar Heels on Thursday night.

Though the Hurricanes (5-0, 1-0 ACC) were idle last week, they vaulted to No. 10 in the poll thanks to losses by three teams ranked ahead of them. It's the first time the school has been ranked in the top 10 since Oct. 18, 2009.

Miami's coach is unimpressed.

"At the end of the season we'll count them up and see where we're at," Al Golden said. "We're 0-0 going into this game. All that matters right now is going to Chapel Hill, being a mature team, having poise, playing with pose, communicating, executing. The rest of it doesn't really matter."

Golden's comments do seem to carry some weight given the scare Miami encountered its last time out. The Hurricanes had to overcome a 17-7 first-quarter deficit and four turnovers for a 45-30 victory over Georgia Tech on Oct. 5.

It was the first time Miami trailed by more than one score since a 33-20 loss to Florida State on Oct. 20.

"You really don't have any leadership until you have a bead of sweat and the crap hits the fan," Golden said. "And that's what happened. I think we learned a lot about our team. We had great leadership through that, we had great poise, but it did look bleak."

Duke Johnson, fourth in the FBS with 190.8 all-purpose yards per game, ran for 184 yards on 22 carries, caught a pass for 27 yards and totaled 114 yards on four kickoff returns.

Stephen Morris was 17 of 22 for 324 yards and three touchdowns, though he was picked off twice. He improved his passer rating to 169.7, ninth best in the country.

"I'm proud to say that we're on the right track," Morris said. "But we've still got a lot of things to do."

Morris struggled in an 18-14 home loss to the Tar Heels last Oct. 13, going 12 of 26 for 155 yards with two picks before exiting late due to an ankle injury.

This North Carolina defense, however, is surrendering the most yards in the ACC at 436.0 per game and appears ill-equipped to prevent Miami from scoring at least 40 points for a fourth straight game for the first time since 1987.

The Tar Heels (1-4, 0-2) allowed three passing scores in the first half of a 27-17 loss at Virginia Tech on Oct. 5. Though on the brink of suffering their fourth consecutive loss in the same regular season for the first time since 2007, coach Larry Fedora thinks the season is salvageable.

"There is no doubt in my mind that it is and it starts today, or yesterday or whenever you want it to start, it starts now. It's just about us getting better," he said.

North Carolina has dropped six straight to top 10 teams since a 31-28 win over then-No. 4 Miami on Oct. 30, 2004.

Bryn Renner is expected to be back at quarterback after having his consecutive starts streak snapped at 29 due to an ankle injury. He'll be facing a Miami team that has 18 sacks - by 13 players - to tie for 12th-most nationally.

Tight end Jack Tabb, who started at linebacker while playing both ways versus Virginia Tech, will be suspended for the first half after being ejected for throwing a punch during a kickoff return.

Miami, which was winless in four trips to Chapel Hill prior to a 30-24 victory in 2011, can even the all-time series at eight wins.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/17/2013 09:08 AM

Miami lost to UNC in a similar spot so don't look for it again this time as the Canes are a much better team that won't look past this game.

Pick: The U

finance Posts:9352 Followers:231
10/17/2013 09:53 AM

Interesting team this Miami unit - they have been flying under the Clemson/FSU radar but it's not too hard to see them in the ACC Championship game - they don't have to play Clemson so they are rooting for FSU this weekend - they have to play at FSU November 2 and they get Va Tech at home which looks to be their only other possible loss barring the laying of an egg somewhere along the way...FSU beats Clemson and the U beats FSU then they can control their own BCS destiny....they still could should Clemson win they could face each other unbeaten in the championship game - with maybe a berth in the big game at stake depending on how it shakes numbers don't show a play on this game but can't see how the U doesn't win this one easily....

Thanks as always for all of the info Cole!

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