Week 11 - Miami at Virginia

Posted Nov 7, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview - Miami at Virginia

Miami (5-4) at Virginia (3-6) Nov. 10, 12:00, ABC

Here's The Deal: Well, get a load of who controls their own destiny in the Coastal Division of the ACC.

No, it hasn't been without its rocky moments, but Miami has persevered through a youthful roster and a couple of high-profile blowouts to stand just two more wins away from locking up a spot in the league championship game. The ‘Canes seized control of the division with a blowout of Virginia Tech, 30-12, last Thursday night, the high-point of the campaign. Just making it to Charlotte on Dec. 1 would be a considerable step forward for Al Golden and his rebuilding plan.

No one could have seen what Virginia had up its sleeve last weekend. The hapless Cavaliers, riding a six-game losing streak, rose up to bludgeon NC State, 33-6, in Raleigh. Where did that come from? If the Cavs can catch fire, there's still an opportunity to run the table and earn one of the conference's automatic bowl bids.

Why Miami Might Win: Everything came together for the Hurricanes last week. They'll look to use the rout of the Hokies as a launching point.

In its last win, QB Stephen Morris was efficient, RB Duke Johnson was dynamic and the defense and special teams did just enough to tip the scales in their favor. Week 10 aside, Virginia has been hideous throughout the season. Neither the offense nor the defense has displayed much punch or many playmakers. Golden might want to lean a little heavier on Johnson, one of the nation's most dynamic rookies, and a threat to go the distance whenever he gets the ball in his hands.

Why Virginia Might Win: Has Mike London located a formula for success in Charlottesville?

It might be a case of too little, too late, or maybe 2013 has already started for the youthful Cavaliers. They manhandled a pretty good Pack team last week, using five turnovers and six sacks to never be threatened. Some of the underclassmen, such as DT Chris Brathwaite, DE Eli Harold, CB Maurice Canady and FS Anthony Harris, are starting to play like veterans. And while the situation at quarterback is less than ideal, the staff is searching for ways to maximize the eclectic skill sets of both Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims. Virginia is getting better as the season unfolds.

What To Watch Out For: Harold is one of those Cavaliers who looks as if he'll have a great future with the program. A blue-chipper in February, he has improved as his role has expanded. Last week, for instance, he responded in his first start by making four tackles, a stop for loss and an interception. He's one of the faces of the future in C'ville, an SEC-caliber defender, who's going to keep getting better the more he gets on the field.

What Will Happen: Someone is going to build a head of steam as the final turn of the regular season begins. That someone is Miami.

The Hurricanes are imperfect, to be sure, but there's a sense that this team may have turned the corner last week with a national TV audience in attendance. Virginia might suddenly be a little dangerous, but Miami will diffuse its host with a mix of Morris' passing and the running of Johnson and Mike James. The Canes defense has also been making small strides, a trend that'll continue against a Cavs attack that's had few high points this fall.

CFN Prediction: Miami 26 … Virginia 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Virginia -1 O/U: 53
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 2