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Miami vs. North Carolina ACC Football Pick with Analysis

10/15/11

The Miami Hurricanes had Virginia Tech on the ropes last week with 3 minutes to go but Tech was able to march 77 yards in 8 plays for the go ahead and deciding score of the game. That was ok by us as we had Miami +7 as a Key Release last week, however, the loss was devastating for the Hurricanes. It puts them at 0-2 in the ACC Coastal, dead last.

Now the Hurricanes, 2-3 overall, travel to Chapel Hill to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels, 5-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. North Carolina is a -3 point favorite across the board with a total of 51. This is where it gets tricky as a handicapper. This is also where it gets tricky as a coach. The Hurricanes are at a fork in the road. A loss like the one they suffered last week has the potential to destroy a teams season. We've all seen teams throw in the towel and become disinterested with the rest of the year. It's up to Al Golden and staff to prevent that from happening.

At quick glance, on paper, the Tar Heels are the slightly better team. They are 5-1, rank 19th in the nation in points allowed and have some pretty strong yards per point numbers to boot. However, things are not always what they appear to be on paper. They count among their wins, James Madison, Virginia, Louisville and East Carolina. Their biggest step up in class was a loss to Georgia Tech, though they did keep it close.

In their win last week over Louisville, Louisville had 3 times as much offense as the Tar Heels in the first half. Louisville ran 43 plays to the Tar Heels 18 and had 188 yards to North Carolina's 62. Louisville failed to come away with points on 3 different occasions in the red zone. But Louisville has had trouble putting points on the board all year, averaging 16 points per game, just about dead last in college football. The Miami Hurricanes have had no such trouble and likely would have capitalized.

Miami has played a schedule that has been about 10 points more difficult than the Tar Heels schedule. So, yeah, on paper, at quick glance, the 5-1 Tar Heels look to be the better team, but we really don't think that's the case at all. Our model still predicts a North Carolina win, but barely, as the model has the Tar Heels winning by a score of 24-23.

We think this one comes down to the wire with the outcome in doubt as we head down the stretch in the 4th quarter. In that type of a set up, we want to be on the side that's getting points. Providing Miami doesn't let the loss to Virginia Tech get into their heads, we like our chances with the Hurricanes here to win straight up or get the cover. Miami +3

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