Miami – Two schools of thought on this one. One is that the schedule is about to catch up with Georgia Tech and that the Jackets will do well to win two more games. (Duke being the gimme, and even that’s in Durham.) The glass-half-full outlook is to proclaim Tech’s loss at Virginia a raging blip that augurs nothing much at all.
I’m kind of split. I do think the schedule is toughening. (Don’t think anybody would disagree.) I don’t, however, think Tech is incapable of finishing strong and winning the ACC Coastal. I think Tech will beat Miami today, which would make the Jackets 7-1 and would render the next two games — both at Bobby Dodd Stadium — hugely huge.
I say this largely because I can’t tell what sort of team Miami is. Here’s its season: Lose to Maryland, beat Ohio State, lose to Kansas State, beat (but get outgained by) Bethune-Cookman, lose close at Virginia Tech, win at North Carolina. See a pattern therein? Me, neither.
Miami folks insist the ‘Canes are about to embark on a run that could leave them atop the Coastal Division, and I do think Al Golden is a good enough coach to make that happen — someday. Just not yet. I’m still not sure Miami can coalesce around a new coach with all that has happened around the program. (I refer to Nevin Shapiro’s allegations of pay-for-play, among other things.)
The Jackets, on the other hand, are stable enough to learn from their Virginia experience and ensure that it won’t happen again. I say this with great confidence — as of 1:37 p.m., roughly two hours before kickoff. By 4 o’clock, I may have been offered reason to rethink.
But that’s why they play the game, as we genius sports writers like to say, and that’s why I”ll be here until the game is done. I implore you to join the festivities, and I thank you in advance.
By Mark Bradley