Hot Maryland Faces Miami
by Joshua Fairbanks - 11/08/2006
Week 10 in college football presented a strong match-up within the ACC. This game found the Maryland Terrapins meeting the Clemson Tigers fighting for a spot atop the ACC standings. The Terrapins came into this game as a staggering 20-point underdog. Obviously, sport books assumed that the Clemson offense would erupt and run away with the game behind running back James Davis. After all the dust cleared, the Maryland Terrapins truly made a statement to remember.
Maryland came into the game as a team that has been quietly creeping up in the ACC standings. Not many people may be aware, but going into week eleven, the Terrapins are in control of their own destiny. If they run the table, Maryland will find themselves in the conference championship this year. This fact alone provides Maryland with a great motivation to finish the season as strong as they can. Maryland is (2-0) against the spread in their last two weeks as an underdog facing Florida State and Clemson. Not only did the Terrapins cover the line, but they found a way to win the games straight up.
Senior Quarterback Sam Hollenbach is in a position to finish his college career with a bang. The emotional effects of this will have him playing every moment like his last. Last week, the Maryland Terrapins found a way to take down Clemson on the road. For most sports bettors, this game was viewed as a huge upset. I, on the other hand, was on the winning side of this wager.
Many sport books assumed that the Clemson offense would be too much to handle at home for Maryland. To me, that seems like the strongest reason for Clemson to be favored. Being the chalk is one thing, but being favored to blow out a team is another. Out of the nine games Maryland has been involved in, they have only been blown out one time.
Installing the Terrapins as 20-point underdogs in this game really made no sense. Maryland had won their previous three games, going (3-0) ATS in an impressive fashion and playing tough football. Clemson, in contrast, was coming off a bye week after getting blown out by Virginia Tech. Even if Clemson beat Virginia Tech, the spread would probably have been the same. It seems to me that some sport books were basing the line off what the Tigers should do and not by their performance on the field. During this past week's game, Maryland also found a way to shut down defenses. They did an amazing job stopping the run, holding Clemson to just four field goals. With Maryland's newfound confidence in defense, next week's match-up is starting to look all too sweet.
At best, the Miami Hurricanes are coming into week eleven as a team with a lack of focus and heart. They have had countless on-and off-field incidents this season that really put a damper on the already disappointing year. Coming into this game, Maryland has finally been crowned as the favorite to win, and why not, Maryland is on a four game hot streak against some tough teams. This week the line is finally right. Or is it? Recent news reports that Miami Hurricanes' quarterback Kyle Wright may miss this game due to a thumb injury.
The only thing that Miami has left to play for is a winning season and a bowl bid. When the Hurricanes' win six, and they will, they will almost surely get a bowl bid just because they are Miami. If a bowl bid is pretty much all Miami has left to hope for, I would have to assume that their efforts will lack this weekend at Maryland. They can hand this game away and just look ahead to an easy Virginia next week for their very important win No. 6.
On Tuesday night, Miami defensive lineman Bryan Pate was shot and killed after practice. This is yet another very tragic occurrence for the Canes program. This team seems to be sliding off the map more and more this season. The current line has Maryland as a three-point favorite and I couldn't be more pleased. Miami has been beaten up this year, both mentally and emotionally, and I expect Maryland to roll over the fading Hurricanes.
Maryland is a perfect (5-0) at home this season and they are in a perfect position to win against Miami in week eleven. Sport books still think that Miami's defense will keep them in the game, but with Maryland's recent confidence, I expect the Terrapins to really spread the field on Miami. Last week, Quarterback Kyle Wright was only able to pass for 84 yards with a broken thumb. So even if Miami finds a way to hold back the Maryland offense, two touchdowns may very well win this game.
Even if Wright does fight through the pain, I cannot see him being effective at all. Miami has too many off-field problems, Kyle Wright is doubtful, and Maryland is as hot as can be. I'd say that this week's three-point line feels like last week's 20 point spread against Maryland. Every betting trend points right at the Terrapins, and I believe that Maryland will win this game in an utter blowout.