Full disclosure: I'm a University of Miami fan, so I might not be very objective about this, but good freaking riddance Al Golden. I can't remember a season where so many Power 5 programs have had a coaching change during it, but Miami became the latest school with an opening -- joining Southern Cal, South Carolina and Maryland -- on Sunday when it cut bait on Golden.
And it had to happen as the Hurricanes were flat-out embarrassing in Saturday's 58-0 home loss to Clemson, the worst defeat in school history. I actually thought UM had a shot at the upset -- and I wasn't alone in thinking that. Athletic director Blake James had always said that he would wait until after the season to judge Golden, but he had to act following that loss. Despite UM being in talent-rich South Florida, Golden was only 32-25 overall and 17-18 in the ACC. He was just 3-11 against AP Top 25 teams (0-5 vs. Florida State). True, he was sideswiped with the Nevin Shapiro fallout that Golden had nothing to do with. But that doesn't excuse last year's 6-7 mark or this year's 4-3 record. Tight ends coach and run-game coordinator Larry Scott will serve as interim head coach, but he's not a candidate for the full-time job.
Bovada has released odds on the next UM coach. Former coach Butch Davis, who already has publicly declared he wants the job and is a favorite of many UM fans and former players, is the +175 favorite. Davis did burn a few bridges when he left following the 2000 season for the Cleveland Browns, but that 2001 team, one that many believe is the most talented in NCAA history in terms of future NFL players, won the national title under his replacement, Larry Coker. North Carolina had some NCAA troubles while Davis was there from 2007-10, although he was never implicated.
Former Florida International coach and Miami player and current Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal is +350. He's really tied into South Florida and considered a top-notch recruiter. Another former Hurricane and ex-Browns coach Rob Chudzinski is +500. I do think that James hires a guy with Miami ties. Thus that would rule out Memphis' Justin Fuente (+550) or Houston's Tom Herman (+900). One name not on the list who has Miami ties -- he played there -- and might be ready for a change is Georgia's Mark Richt.
Miami is at No. 22 Duke this Saturday, and there's no line posted yet because Miami QB Brad Kaaya suffered a concussion in the Clemson loss, and his status is unclear. Here are a few opening lines that caught my eye.
Syracuse at No. 17 Florida State (-20); No. 3 Clemson at NC State (-10): I paired these ACC games together because both feel like huge trap games to me. Why? The Seminoles and Tigers play for the ACC Atlantic Division title in Week 10. I was pretty stunned that FSU lost at Georgia Tech on Saturday. It took a fluky interception by the Jackets late in the game and then that crazy blocked field goal returned for a touchdown with no time left. It was Florida State's first regular-season loss since 2012 and ended its 29-game ACC winning streak. Probably also killed the Noles' College Football Playoff chances as they plummeted down the polls. Clemson has now won 16 of its past 17 games for the first time since 1947-49 when Frank Howard was coach. The picks: Both dogs.
No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 21 Temple (-10): If before the season began you had this matchup circled as the top game -- and only one between ranked teams -- in Week 9, then you are a lot smarter than I am. It's easily the biggest game in Temple's history; it's being played Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. The Owls are 7-0 for the first time in school history and playing a ranked team as a ranked team for the first time ever. Presumably ESPN GameDay will be there, but it hasn't been announced yet -- the other option is Stanford-Washington State. Temple could run the table and earn the Group of 5 New Year's Six bowl slot with a win here. The Owls' toughest game left after this is at home against fellow unbeaten Memphis. Temple also likely would play either Memphis or Houston (also unbeaten) in the American Athletic Conference title game. The pick: Notre Dame (hoping this slides under double digits, however).
Georgia vs. No. 11 Florida (-3):
If before the season began, you had this matchup with Florida ranked and Georgia not, then you are also a lot smarter than I am. The winner of the annual
World's Largest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville almost surely takes the SEC East Division. The Gators lead the Dawgs by a game and every other school in the East has at least three conference losses. UF closes in the SEC at home vs. Vanderbilt and at South Carolina so it would be favored in those. Georgia is home to Kentucky and then at Auburn so a tougher road. Both UGA and UF are off a bye week so no advantage there. Florida stunned No. 9 Georgia 38-20 last year behind 418 rushing yards, the program's most since 1989 when a guy named Emmitt Smith was a Gator. The pick: Georgia.
No. 15 Michigan at Minnesota: (-13.5): I thought Michigan State would be in a huge letdown game in Week 8 at home against Indiana off that amazing victory over Michigan in Week 7. But Sparty did cover the 16.5 points in a 52-26 victory, although it was only 28-26 entering the fourth quarter. Now I'm curious to see how Michigan responds to that crushing loss, although the Wolverines at least come off a bye week. Michigan and Minnesota battle once again for the Little Brown Jug, a trophy the Wolverines lost for only the fifth time since 1967 last season by way of a 30-14 defeat in Ann Arbor. Minnesota also won the Jug in 1986 as huge underdogs against No. 2 Michigan, a team quarterbacked by current coach Jim Harbaugh. The pick: Minnesota.
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