Syracuse Orange vs. Miami Hurricanes
Date and Time: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Opening College Football Odds: Miami -14.5
Syracuse vs. Miami TV Coverage: ESPN
Miami might not have the most talented team in the world, but Mark Richt certainly has put some moxie into this bunch. In each of the last two weeks, the Hurricanes felt like they were dead in the water against Florida State and Georgia Tech, yet both times, they rallied for fourth quarter comebacks and crucial victories that put them in the top 10 in the land.
That said, getting into the top 10 and staying here are two different things. There have been six different top 10 teams get beaten in the last two weeks, and many are going to point at Syracuse as a team that could pull off this upset. Even after that, the Hurricanes have to contend with Virginia Tech and Notre Dame at home and North Carolina and Pitt on the road. It's going to be a long second half of the season for sure in South Beach.
Syracuse has already won its Super Bowl. The team beat Clemson last week 27-24, and now, there's a good chance that it can get into a bowl game with the way the rest of its schedule plays out.
Babers has this team moving up and down the field with regularity, and the Orange have worn out a number of teams this year with their style. They average 85.5 offensive snaps per game, the most of any team in the nation.
The one thing we're really concerned about with Syracuse is the fact that it can't really sustain drives all that well. It was given some help by Clemson last week with the way its offense seemed to shoot itself in the foot from time to time, and Miami might offer some of that help as well.
But in the end, Eric Dungey is the general of an offense averaging just 3.6 yards per carry this year. The Hurricanes might be allowing 167.0 rushing yards per game, but we know that they have a stout defense that can slow this Syracuse team down.
The Orange can't be a one-man band. Steve Ishmael can only do so much on the outside, and if he gets locked up by the talented Miami corners, someone else is going to have to step up and deliver.
Syracuse vs. Miami Free Picks
It's hard to believe that this is the first meeting of these two teams since they played against each other in the Big East a decade and a half ago. Some players who were in that last game between these two include Brock Berlin, Kellen Winslow, Sean Taylor, Antrel Rolle and Walter Reyes, if that tells you just how far back this goes.
It's easy to find some solace in Syracuse right now. The Orange are the trendy team after pulling off that upset of Clemson, and they're easy on the eyes because of all of the fancy gimmicks they run on offense.
But gimmicks shouldn't work against one of the speedier defenses in America. It was one thing for Clemson to get caught napping, especially on a night that its starting quarterback was knocked out of the game. It's something else entirely to come on the road and challenge the Hurricanes.
Two weeks ago, the spread in this game would have been at least 20 points. The overlay here as set by all of the best college football sportsbooks is too much. We'll lay the points with a legitimate Top 10 team that is set to make a statement to the rest of the nation on Saturday.
College Football ATS Pick: Miami -14.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Miami 47, Syracuse 13