Week 9 - Wake Forest at Miami

Posted Oct 23, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Wake Forest at Miami

- Wake Forest at Miami | Georgia Tech at Virginia
- Pitt at Navy | NC State at Florida State
- Clemson at Maryland | Boston College at North Carolina
- Duke at Virginia Tech

Wake Forest (4-3) at Miami (6-0) Oct. 26, 12:00, ESPNU

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Miami has already scored one big victory this week, long before Saturday's kickoff.

On Tuesday, the Hurricanes learned that their long-awaited sanctions from the NCAA would not include a postseason ban. In other words, the nation's No. 7 team truly controls its own destiny in 2013 and beyond. Despite Miami's climb in the polls, observers remain largely skeptical of a squad that narrowly escaped 1-5 North Carolina last Thursday night. The ‘Canes have this weekend's hurdle before playing back-to-back games with Florida State and Virginia Tech that'll determine the actual height of the program's ceiling this season.

Ever so quietly, Wake Forest has regrouped from a sour September with consecutive ACC wins over NC State and Maryland. In fact, the Demon Deacons took both by double-digits, including a romp over the Terrapins last Saturday. All of a sudden, Wake has a shot to go bowling, which seemed like a distant longshot following the Sept. 14 loss to Louisiana-Monroe in Winston-Salem.

Why Wake Forest Might Win: Save for the Clemson game, Wake Forest has played really, really well on defense this season. In the six games that didn't feature Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, the Deacons only allowed 14 points per week. Led by linemen Nikita Whitlock and Zach Thompson and corners Merrill Noel and Kevin Johnson, Wake is getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers. This week, it faces a banged-up Miami offense, whose quarterback played poorly in Chapel Hill.

Why Miami Might Win: It's unlikely that Wake Forest has enough offense to get out of Sun Life Stadium with a huge upset. The Deacons are no higher than 100th nationally in scoring and total offense. Improving those rankings will be unlikely against a Hurricane defense that's been at the forefront of this season's revival. Without much star power, beyond maybe LB Denzel Perryman, Miami is No. 18 in the country overall and No. 6 in third-down stops.

Who To Watch Out For: Miami QB Stephen Morris has not had a stellar senior season, throwing just one more touchdown than pick. He was downright awful at Carolina last week. The ‘Canes need their offensive leader to rebound now, because the challenge gets a lot tougher in the coming weeks.

- Testing a Miami secondary that's No. 7 in pass efficiency D will be Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro. In six games, he's caught 55 balls for 704 yards and five touchdowns, but the Deacons desperately need someone else to pick up a little slack.

- The ‘Canes learned last Thursday that they can win without RB Duke Johnson, if necessary. After the starter was concussed, sophomore Dallas Crawford heroically stepped in to rush for 137 yards and two scores on 33 carries.

What Will Happen: Miami ought to be on upset alert this week. The excitement over the NCAA announcement and the specter of the ‘Noles and the Hokies can have a way of distracting a team. Plus, Wake Forest is playing much better these days. The Deacons are capable of putting a scare into the Hurricanes. Beating them, though, requires a degree of offensive execution that Wake just doesn't have at this time.

Prediction: Miami 30 … Wake Forest 16
Line: Miami -21 – O/U: 54
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 3
Buy tickets for this game at TicketCity