Week 14 - Miami at Pitt

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Week 14 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Miami at Pitt

Miami (8-3) at Pittsburgh (6-5) Nov. 29, 3:30, ABC

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Miami and Pitt renew a series that peaked when both were members of the Big East.

The Hurricanes snapped a three-game losing streak with last Saturday's 45-26 defeat of Virginia. While the season turned on the Nov. 2 blowout loss to Florida State, Al Golden's kids still have plenty for which to play. They'll be bowling for the first time in three years, and a coveted Chick-fil-A Bowl berth opposite an SEC opponent remains a possibility.

The Panthers have won two of their last three games, including last week's one-point escape at the Carrier Dome, to join Miami in the postseason. Earning a bowl berth in the first year as a member of the ACC is an important achievement for second-year head coach Paul Chryst as he attempts to build Pitt into a contender.

Why Miami Might Win: The ‘Canes, despite their problems on defense, should be able to keep the Panthers in check. Miami has issues with the run, but Pitt is 114th nationally on the ground. Plus, the Hurricanes possess the speed and the playmakers in the secondary to frustrate QB Tom Savage. One of Savage's two favorite targets, Devin Street, is questionable with injuries, and the quarterback continues to be poorly protected behind one of the ACC's worst lines.

Why Pittsburgh Might Win: A trip to Western Pennsylvania. In late November. As a snowstorm treks across the country. Miami wants nothing to do with this game on Friday afternoon. This is a tough spot for the Hurricane offense, which misses RB Duke Johnson, and shouldn't expect a huge day out of QB Stephen Morris. The Panthers have played relatively well on D over the last two months, aided by the havoc being wreaked by All-American DT Aaron Donald.

Who To Watch Out For: Pitt must commit to the run, especially if the wind is whipping up. No, the Panthers haven't been great between the tackles, but Miami has been so vulnerable that Isaac Bennett and James Conner deserve a chance to move the chains.

- Miami is hoping to regain the services of one of its best weapons in the passing game, speedy receiver Phillip Dorsett, who missed the last five games to injury. If he's ready, he's especially dangerous on play-action fakes to underrated RB Dallas Crawford.

- The Panthers have even more problems along the O-line now that starting LT Adam Bisnowaty is out with a bad back. They'll start veteran Juantez Hollins, who can be heavy in the legs and prone to getting schooled by speed off the edge.

What Will Happen: This is one of those games in which home field advantage truly is an advantage. Since becoming an ACC member in 2004, Miami doesn't often play in the north, and it'll show. The Panthers will win a ground-oriented game, churning out 175 yards between Bennett and Conner. Donald will continue to do the kinds of things that are earning him national praise.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 24 … Miami 22
Line: Miami -2.5 – O/U: 55
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2.5
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