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Miami Fla vs. Ohio State

9/11/10

Pointspread: Ohio State -9 O/U 45

330 PM EST - ESPN

Don't you just love early season games with huge implications? We got to see Boise State and Virginia Tech throw down in a week one thriller, and in week two we have a rematch of the 2002 Rose Bowl where the Ohio State Buckeyes will host the Miami Hurricanes at Ohio Stadium.

The Buckeyes are a 10 point favorite, but it would be unwise to take Randy Shannon's Hurricanes lightly. They won several big games early in 2009 and they have a dark horse Heisman candidate in Jacory Harris. Ohio State has a Heisman candidate of their own in Terrele Pryor. This game will undoubtedly be one of the best of the early 2010 season.

The Ohio State Buckeyes registered an easy 45-7 victory over Marshall to start the year. They haven't lost a home opener since Hector was a pup, but they lost in week two against Texas in 2005 and against USC in 2009. They hold a decisive home field advantage, but they can't count on that alone to deliver a victory.

They will need a strong effort from QB Terrele Pryor. The junior really found his rhythm towards the end of last season and was named the MVP of the Rose Bowl after his team defeated Oregon 26-17. He will be pitted against a talented and experienced 'Canes secondary. He will have to use his legs to try and scramble for yardage. If Pryor doesn't put up big numbers then the Buckeyes will be hard pressed to win this game.

Just as Ohio State needs a big performance from Terrele Pryor, the same can be said for Jacory Harris and Miami. He had good efforts in 2009 against the strong defenses of Oklahoma and Wisconsin. He put up 202 yards and 3 TDs while giving up 2 INTs against the Sooners. He was effective against the Badgers in the Champs Sports Bowl completing 16 of 29 for 188 yards and a single TD. Against the killer defense of North Carolina in 2009 he threw 4 INTs. If he starts turning the ball over it will be lights out for the Hurricanes. He proved he can lead his team to big road victories by traveling to beat in state rivals South Florida and Florida State.

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It will be up to freshman RB Lamar Miller and senior RB Damien Berry to get yardage through the ground attack for The U. Both had good games in their opener, but are unproven commodities. The Hurricanes have their top 2 WRs from last year back, including Leonard Hankerson. He caught 6 TDs in 2009 and was named 2nd Team All ACC. Harris protected by a solid line that includes 7 of the top 10 from a year ago. This offense can get points on the board.

Ohio State has a strong passing game thanks to Pryor. He will benefit from a WR corps that is among the best in the FBS. WR DeVier Posey had 60 catches for 828 yards and 8 TDs in 2009. If the passing game stalls the Buckeyes could be in trouble. They have a nice running back in Brandon Saine, but the Miami Hurricanes defensive line is one of the best in the country. Pounding the rock against the 'Canes won't be an easy thing for them to do.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are among the most balanced teams in the country. They have draft picks dotting both the offense and defense. Their LB corps and secondary would give any offensive coordinator fits. The 'Canes can take solace in the fact that OSU hasn't fared well against non-conference foes in recent history. They were crushed by SEC foes twice in the BCS Championship Game, and lost to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl back in 2008. They lost to a very subpar USC team at home last year. They're good, but they aren't bulletproof. If Jacory Harris and company can get points on the board and the defense makes trouble for Pryor they will be in with a big shot to win.

We expect big things from Randy Shannon in his 4th year at Miami. This Hurricane team beat some very good teams a year ago, and 3 of their 4 losses were very close games. No one but Virginia Tech dominated this team last season. Meanwhile, Ohio State was less than impressive in losing to Purdue, USC and squeaking by Navy in their opener. We think Miami is a very live dog here. Wait and see where the line goes. You'll want at least +8.5 but consider buying the hook if you see any 9.5's out there. Miami +10 (1/2 point buy)
 

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