Week 13 - Miami at Duke

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Miami at Duke

Miami (6-5) at Duke (6-5) Nov. 24, 12:30, ACC Network

Here's The Deal: Florida State is no longer looking for a dance partner in the Dec. 1 ACC Championship Game. What were three contenders just a week ago is now down to one.

If Miami wins in Durham this week, it'll stand atop the Coastal Division. However, the school announced on Monday a second-straight self-imposed postseason ban related to an NCAA investigation. In other words, no matter what happens at Wallace Wade Stadium, the Hurricanes' 2012 season will end, and Georgia Tech will be playing the Seminoles next Saturday in Charlotte. Miami has been predictably erratic this fall, struggling to gain traction with a young and learning roster.

For the first time since 1994, Duke will be ending a regular season with the knowledge that there's more football left to be played. The Blue Devils became postseason-eligible back on Oct. 20, but haven't won since as the schedule stiffened dramatically. There's not much to gain at this point other than building some momentum before preparing for that long-awaited bowl game.

Why Miami Might Win: The Blue Devils have been shredded on defense in each of the last five games. The ‘Canes are capable of making it six in a row.

It can be argued that no one has less defensive talent in the ACC than Duke, which is last in the league in points allowed and pass efficiency defense. It'll have its hands full containing Miami, which has scored 40 points in each of the last two games. RB Duke Johnson is one of the budding young stars of the conference, a shifty gamebreaker out of the backfield and on special teams. Plus, QB Stephen Morris just got done torching the South Florida secondary for 413 yards and three touchdowns without a pick. He's been razor-sharp in November, throwing eight touchdown

Why Duke Might Win: Miami can't rush the passer, which leaves the defensive backs on an island at times.

QB Sean Renfree has been well-protected all year, and will continue to be so on Saturday. DE Anthony Chickillo can be a nuisance, but gets very little help. And when Renfree, a heady senior, has time to survey the field, he'll play catch with favorite targets Conner Vernon, Jamison Crowder and Desmond Scott. Vernon and Crowder have combined for 126 receptions to help offset a ground game that's been inconsistent. It was just two weeks ago that Virginia's Michael Rocco burned the ‘Canes secondary for four touchdown passes.

What To Watch Out For: Miami head coach Al Golden is going with youth in the receiving corps this week, meaning fresh legs and not a lot of film for Duke to break down. Sophomore Phillip Dorsett continues to be a mainstay on the outside, leading the team with 54 catches for 759 yards and four touchdowns. However, rookie Herb Waters has moved into the lineup a week after catching four balls for 130 yards and a score. Oh, and Morris is beginning to get comfortable with underutilized TE Clive Walford, who's caught a touchdown pass in each of the last two games.

What Will Happen: While some of the motivation is gone for Miami, the talent on offense is not.

Golden and the staff will succeed in keeping the kids focused on Saturday, despite the self-imposed bowl ban. Neither defense is very good, meaning both quarterbacks will have success over the top. The difference will come from the running backs. Duke lacks a go-to guy, while the Hurricanes can point to Johnson. No. 8 will close out his debut season with a couple of key long balls and at least 200 yards of all-purpose yards.

CFN Prediction: Miami 36 … Duke 28
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Miami -5.5 O/U: 66.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 2.5