2010 Big Ten Predictions - Miami vs. Ohio St
Miami QB Jacory Harris & OSU RB Brandon Saine
Miami QB Jacory Harris & OSU RB Brandon Saine
Posted Sep 8, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every Big Ten game, Sept. 11, Part 2, Miami vs. Ohio State

2010 Big Ten Fearless Predictions

Week 2 ... Sept. 11, Part 2

Big Ten
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota
Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin 

- Sept 4 Fearless Predictions

- Sept 11 Fearless Predictions, Michigan vs. Notre Dame
- Sept 11 Fearless Predictions, Penn State vs. Alabama

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CFN Big Ten Predictions: SU:10-1   ATS: 5-2-1

Miami (1-0) at Ohio State (1-0) Sept. 11, Sept. 11, ESPN

Here's The Deal … The last time these two mega-powers took the field, they played, arguably, the greatest college football game of all-time (or at least one that belongs in the team photo). After Ken Dorsey's last gasp pass failed to connect and Ohio State pulled out the 2002 national championship with a 31-24 Fiesta Bowl win, the programs went in different directions and now each is using this game as a shot to make a huge statement in the BCS Championship race.

Ohio State hasn't won another title since its big night in Tempe, but over the last seven years it has played in two national title games and six BCS games. A clunker, at this point, is an 8-4 2004 campaign with double-digit win seasons and Big Ten titles the norm rather than the exception. This year, head coach Jim Tressel has a good, sound team that might not be anywhere near his most talented, but it's full of strong veterans and has a superstar under center who's just now entering his prime. If the Rose Bowl was Terrelle Pryor's official coming out party as a next-level performer, then this might be the game where he starts to truly carve out himself as a potential legend.

Miami hardly hit the skids after losing to the Buckeyes, winning 29 games over the following three seasons, but it hit a stretch of mediocrity after joining the ACC with a losing 2007 campaign, just one bowl win since 2004 (and that being the mighty MPC Computers Bowl), and an 0-for-6 run on playing in ACC title games. After a strong 9-4 2009, and with head coach Randy Shannon stockpiling talent, the belief is that the program is ready to run again before it can walk. Forget about just winning the ACC title, Miami expects national championships, and winning in Columbus would show that the program is ready to take that next step forward. However, there's a very, very long journey ahead.

Even if the Canes beat the Buckeyes, they can't take a break with road games at Pitt and Clemson to follow and the date with Florida State once it's finally back to home. For OSU, a win over the Canes means a 4-0 start with Ohio and Eastern Michigan to follow, and it would take something special to prevent 6-0 with at Illinois and Indiana to follow before the showdown at Wisconsin.

Why Miami Might Win: Terrelle, get ready to get hit. Pryor is fantastic on the move and he has quickly become a better decision maker. He's doing a better job of keeping his eyes down the field to find his targets rather than look short before taking off. This week, he'll have to make his adjustments and his reads well before the snap against a defensive front that should be in the backfield all game long. OSU has a good offensive line, but not an elite one, and Miami should come up with a handful of sacks. The Buckeye line is wee bit better than Florida A&M's, but it could have a nightmare of a time with the pressure applied from a defensive front that came up with eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss last week. If Marshall could get three sacks last week, the Miami could come up with six unless the Buckeyes go ultra-conservative.
Why Ohio State Might Win: Miami might run for under 50 yards. The O line is Miami's biggest issue with a hodge-podge mix of players that form a decent, but underwhelming front five. Pass protection is going to be a problem, and getting physical in any way against Cameron Heyward and the Buckeye defensive front is going to be a big issue. If Jacory Harris and the Miami passing game isn't clicking early, it's going to be a long afternoon, and if the turnover problems of the past rise up, it's going to be a long, long, afternoon. Even though the OSU offense might not have been as conservative as it was in the past, this is still a Tressel coached team and it's still going to be stingy with the ball. Miami needs to be +2 in turnover margin to win, and it's going to have a hard time doing that.
What To Watch Out For: Ohio State was up 35-7 against Marshall and was coasting to an easy win. Did the offense go into a shell to keep running the ball to go conservative? Not this year. Early in the second half, OSU went on a seven play, 42-yard drive with Pryor throwing it four times including an 11-yarder to DeVier Posey for a score. The coaching staff trusts Pryor a bit more this year and it's letting him do more things with the passing attack. Opening it up a little bit will be a must in a game against an athletic Miami team that can tee off against the run if the Buckeyes come out vanilla, and Pryor's improved passing skills should keep the Cane defense on its heels. However, Miami has the offensive talent to keep up in any sort of a shootout. The receivers are fast and talented, and Harris is a veteran who usually rises up to the biggest occasions. The pressure is all on Pryor and OSU, so don't be shocked if Harris and the Canes play loose, relaxed, and really, really fast.
What Will Happen: Pryor is going to be okay, but not great. He'll be just good enough to come up with a few big plays to keep the offense moving, but this game will be on the Ohio State defensive front that stuffs the run throughout and forces Harris to press too much. Harris will make this interesting, but he'll also throw three picks to kill any sort of an upset bid.
CFN Prediction: Ohio State 27 … Miami 20 … Line: Ohio State -9.5
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 5
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Wisconsin (1-0) at San Jose State (0-1) Sept. 11, 12:00, ESPN and ESPN3.com

Here's The Deal … It could be argued that no team in America has a tougher opening three FBS games than San Jose State. While there's a break against Southern Utah next week, the Spartans have to go to Utah on September 23rd and had to face the No. 1 team in the land, Alabama, last week. Wisconsin is a wee bit of a sleeper in the national title debate, but the college football world will quickly wake up to just how good this team is. The veteran Badgers dominated UNLV last week in a 41-21 blasting that was more impressive than the final score indicates, and now the goal is to keep tuning up before hosting a rejuvenated Arizona State next week. Consider it a shock if SJSU, who's being completely revamped and rebuilt under new head coach Mark MacIntyre, can make this a game for more than a quarter, but Wisconsin has been known to clunk at times under head coach Bret Bielema. If this Badger team is as good as it looks on paper and in the win over the Rebels, it should put on a terrific show.
Why San Jose State Might Win: While there wasn't much success last week against the Tide, the Spartans really do have a solid receiving corps with the potential to have a good day against a Badger secondary that will give up yards if there isn't a pass rush to help the cause. Nine starters are back for the SJSU offense helped by a line that was good enough to allow just one sack to the Alabama defensive front. If Jordan La Secla and the passing game can find an early groove, Wisconsin might press a bit and could be stunned by the play of a good Spartan secondary.
Why Wisconsin Might Win: The San Jose State defensive front is about to be flattened. UNLV's defensive line isn't good, but it's big; Wisconsin didn't have a problem pushing it around. The Badgers committed two very bad turnovers that led to 14 first half points for the Rebels, but the game was hardly close. The line, which might be the strongest the team has had in over a decade, opened up big holes for John Clay and Montee Ball, who helped the team pound out 278 yards on the ground. The Spartans have to be ready for several grinding drives early on, and they have to hold up. They won't.
What To Watch Out For: Last year, UW QB Scott Tolzien threw 11 interceptions with six of them coming in losses and two coming in the opener against Northern Illinois. The key to his game, and the Badger offense, is his accuracy and decision making ability, especially on third downs, but he can't throw momentum-changing picks. Ohio State came up with the win last year because of what it did with two Tolzien interceptions, and UNLV's Will Chandler took a pick to the house last week. Wisconsin threw more deep passes than normal against the Rebels, but if Tolzien starts making mistakes on a regular basis against San Jose State, he's not going to get as many chances against the better teams coming up.
What Will Happen: Wisconsin will flatten the Spartans on the way to a big early lead, there will be a lull in the third quarter when the defense will give up a few points, and then the backups will clean things up in a satisfying home opener.
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 44 … San Jose State 14 … Line: Wisconsin -37.5
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 1.5
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Western Illinois (1-0) at Purdue (0-1) Sept. 11, 12:00, BTN

Here's The Deal … Purdue was hoping to come out hot after a decent 2009, but it couldn't get the offense going against Notre Dame and ended up suffering a 23-12 loss. This begins the easy part of the slate when the Boilermakers need to fatten up on WIU, Ball State, and Toledo before kicking off the Big Ten season at Northwestern, but first they have to go through the motions against a Leathernecks team coming off a dominant win. Picked to finish near the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference after a disappointing 2009, WIU came out roaring ripping up 569 yards of total offense in the 45-0 win over Valparaiso. This is the team's only game against an FBS opponents.
Why Western Illinois Might Win: The offensive firepower is there to keep up. With Bryce Flowers and former Michigan State Spartan Caulton Ray running the ball, WIU has a dangerous 1-2 punch to balance out a potentially dangerous passing attack. It's not a good enough offense to go mistake-free and get by Purdue without a little help, but it's good enough to keep up the pace and be in a position for luck to come its way. The aggressive defensive front should pressure Purdue QB Robert Marve a bit; the Purdue O line is coming off a rough week in South Bend.
Why Purdue Might Win: The Leathernecks have a good linebacking corps, but the secondary is about to have a very long day. Keith Smith had a good day against Notre Dame catching 12 passes, but they only went for 80 yards. Looking to establish the passing attack early on, Marve and Smith should hook up early and often even though WIU's defensive gameplan will be to take him away. It won't happen. On the other side of the ball, the WIU offensive line is just mediocre enough to struggle against the aggressive Purdue defensive front all game long. Expect at least five sacks from the Boilermakers led by two from …
What To Watch Out For: DE Ryan Kerrigan. WIU has the offensive potential, but it's not going to work if Purdue is camped out in the backfield. The Purdue defense wasn't bad, but it didn't do enough last week. Don't blame Kerrigan, the All-America defensive end who tied for the team lead in tackles against the Irish making seven to go along with his sack and several pressures. The secondary needs all the help it can get, and the pressure will be on Purdue's front line to provide the hits to force mistakes.
What Will Happen: Purdue finds a running game that wasn't there last week, while the defense comes up with four takeaways to turn a close first half battle into a laugher in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Purdue 54 … Western Illinois 16 … Line: No Line
Must See Rating: Boardwalk Empire – 5 … Going the Distance - 1 … 1
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