Miami (FL) at Boston College
Ian Cameron's Recommendation:
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - ABC
Miami -2 O/U 45.5
Miami -2 O/U 44
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
Boston College -2.5
The Miami Hurricanes could not qualify for a bowl game in head coach Al Golden’s first season due to a self-imposed ban but that changes as they enter 2012. Miami went just 6-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play but did manage a 7-5 ATS mark. The Hurricanes dealt with numerous player suspensions and while that stunted the development of the team, it did give other players valuable experience. That’s especially important considering the fact Miami is replacing seven starters on offense. Junior quarterback Stephen Morris is set to take over as the starter. He will replace Jacory Harris who left the Hurricanes as the second-leading passer in school history. Morris saw action in four games last season and completed 26-of-37 passes for 283 yards. He did not throw for a touchdown and had two interceptions but is familiar with the offense.
Miami also lost its leading running back Lamar Miller who left early for the NFL. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 9 TDs but they have some decent options to take his spot with senior Mike James and highly touted freshman Duke Johnson. The receiving corps is lacking experience with Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin both gone. The most experienced receiver is junior Allen Hurns who will start alongside a pair of sophomores. The offensive line is a work in progress.
Golden usually has strong defenses but this team has a few concerns in that department. The defensive line was not a major strength and has some new players on it. The only returning starter to the linebacking corps is sophomore Denzel Perryman. The secondary is filled with new faces and was dealt a blow when strong safety Ray-Ray Armstrong was kicked off the team.
Boston College went a disappointing 4-8 overall and 3-5 in ACC play (6-6 ATS). They were supposed to get former star running back Montel Harris back but he was suspended indefinitely and then dismissed from the team for violating team rules during the offseason. In light of his absence, the Eagles will use a three-man rushing attack similar to last season. The leader is Rolandan Finch (705 yards) but Andre Williams (515 yards 4 TDs) may be the most talented of the bunch. So with BC’s rushing attack an uncertainty, the offense desperately needs more out of what was a very weak passing game. Boston College was ranked 100th in the country in total yards per game through the air and to help with the development of junior signal caller Chase Rettig (1,960 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs), head coach Frank Spaziani brought in former Kent State head coach Doug Martin, who is widely known as a QB guru. The good news for for Rettig is that he has more experience under his belt and also has his two leading receivers in Bobby Swigert (44 catches, 470 yards) and Colin Larmond (34 catches, 528 yards) back. I like the hiring of Martin as offensive coordinator and I expect stronger play from Rettig and better production from the passing game. The offensive line should be improved as well with a lot of younger players thrown into the fire in 2011.
The defensive was very young last season and should improve but faces a talented Miami rushing attack on Saturday. Defensive end Kasim Edebali and defensive tackle Dillon Quinn each return as starters up front but need to create more pressure after posting just a single sack last season. It goes without saying that BC will dearly miss departed linebacker Luke Kuechly who was a first round NFL pick. Replacing his immense talent was best summed up by defensive coordinator Bill McGovern: “You're not going to flat-out replace Luke. He was a human eraser. A number of guys will have to step up.” The secondary is another area of concern with senior Jim Noel the lone returning starter from a unit that ranked 81st in the nation against the pass.
As mentioned, both secondaries are thin. The experience Morris gained last season coupled with BC’s offseason losses to its defense put the Hurricanes in position to move the football a number of ways. BC meanwhile is in a similar situation with Rettig poised for better production and facing a young, inexperienced Hurricane secondary. Look for a higher scoring game then what the betting markets are anticipating here as we strike with the OVER on this moderately low total.
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