Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Disney won’t let the TV networks dwell too much on the storied past of the Notre Dame vs. Miami rivalry. That’s fine this season. Because both teams control their own destiny in terms of reaching the Final Four playoff.
*Notre Dame was #3 in the playoff poll last week, and didn’t hurt their cause with a double digit win over Wake Forest that saw their offense gain more than 700 yards! True that they didn’t cover the Vegas spread. The selection committee doesn’t worry about that stuff. If the Irish keep winning (at Miami, vs. Navy, and at Stanford), then an 11-1 record is going to get them in. The only loss was to current #1 Georgia. Notre Dame came in at #3 in the AP poll that was released Sunday. They’ll likely stand pat in the playoff poll as well.
*Miami was only #10 last week. But, losses by Ohio State and Penn State will launch the Hurricanes higher up, particularly on the heels of a nationally televised blowout of Virginia Tech. Should Miami beat Notre Dame, that would move them up higher and give them a theoretical tie-break over the Irish. Miami will be facing current #4 Clemson in the ACC Finals. Win that…and you’re looking at an undefeated team that took out Notre Dame and Clemson! No way they would be denied a spot. Miami landed at #7 in Sunday’s AP poll.
Are either of these teams truly worthy of a championship playoff berth? That’s tricky question this season because so little separates most of the top contenders. There aren’t four obvious choices. There are 1-2 obvious choices and then at least a half-dozen other teams who would get in if the coin flips went their way against other contenders.
JIM HURLEY doesn’t have either in the top four of his pure Power Ratings. Yet, neither is an obvious pretender when you stand the powers side-by-side.
Miami was thought to be by many before the Virginia Tech game. NETWORK released Miami to clients in that prime-time victory, then watched the Hurricanes rack up a 429-299 yardage advantage on 7.4 to 4.0 in yards-per-play. At the very least, we know Virginia Tech is a pretender!
We have to be very careful tipping our hand too much in this marquee matchup preview. One team is very much on our short list for possible “Game of the Month” or even a “Game of the Year” caliber selection. We will lay out the dynamics this way.
*Notre Dame has to prove that it can keep its composure away from home in a big game. We now know that they can run up the score even on good teams like USC and NC State in South Bend. The Georgia game was also in South Bend. This will be, by far the toughest road test of the season for the Irish. If you’re going to bet on ND, be sure you can make the case that they’ll get the job done at this site. The early line is showing the Irish by about a field goal as a road favorite. That might have already moved by the time you read this!
*Miami needs to focus on consistency. Even though they gained a lot of yards on Virginia Tech, they didn’t move the chains effectively through the evening. And, they weren’t really safe until the fourth quarter. This is the same team that had to sweat lowly North Carolina the prior game…and the same team that was lucky to get past Florida State and Georgia Tech not long before that, nailbiters that look worse now than they did at the time. We’ll say it this way…Miami at its “peak” can play with anybody for 60 minutes. Can they stay at “peak” two weeks in a row? Being at home will help. Not dealing with the pressure of being “favored” might help even more.
Because Notre Dame has quite a few ACC teams on its schedule every season, we have plenty of interconnectivity in our computer modeling to get a good read here. Some common opponents…but the whole conference is just two steps away considering that so many of the common opponents are deep into their league schedules. We’ve been running simulations around the clock since the final gun sounded Saturday night by South Beach. That’s why we can tell you NOW that something special may be in store for NEWORK clients this Saturday.
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The most exciting sports betting stretch of the calendar year is about to ignite as early season college basketball joins the schedule. Enjoy all the BIG, JUICY WINNERS with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!