No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Miami (FL) Hurricanes
(2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, October 3, 2009, Orange
Bowl, Miami, Fla., TV: ABC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Oklahoma -7.5/Miami +7.5
Two one-loss teams looking to get back into the hunt for a BCS Bowlbid will clash in primetime Saturday night on ABC when the Oklahoma
Sooners travel to the Orange Bowl to take on the Miami Hurricanes.
The Sooners will have had 13 days off since their last game when they
lace them up on Saturday, pounding in-state rival Tulsa on their last
game by a score of 45-0. Oklahoma is still trying to recover from
their 14-13 loss to BYU in the opener, and a victory over the
Hurricanes in Miami in their first road game of the season would go a
lot further in the eyes of poll voters than 64-0 victories over Idaho
Miami is also looking to save face after getting it handed to them in
Blacksburg last Saturday, dropping a crucial ACC contest to Virginia
Tech, 31-7. The Hurricanes went 1-for-11 on 3rd down and only had 209
yards of total offense in the game against the Hokies, something that
will have to change if they hope to climb back up the polls and back
into the BSC hunt.
The game could also mark the return of last years Heisman trophywinner Sam Bradford to playing status. The Sooners quarterback
separated his shoulder in the BYU game and current speculation has
him at least taking some snaps in this game to try and get ready for
the showdown with Texas on the 17th.
The speculation about Bradfords status and his possible appearance
in the game is likely the reason why the game opened with Oklahoma as
6.5-point favorites on the road, but as word has filtered down from
head coach Bob Stoops and the Sooner medical staff that Bradford is
still doubtful the point spread has shot up to Oklahoma minus-7.5
points at most sportsbooks. In fact, you can find the Sooners favored
by as little as 7 points, or by as much as 8.5 points
(at the Las Vegas Hilton), so shop around for the point to point-and-
a-half if you want it.
The over/under total opened at a modest 49 points and is still listedat 49.5 at most books, although you can find a few 50s at some books.
This is an interesting game to try and handicap since there is really
only one game to try and judge the Sooner offense by, and that game
was played without Bradford for over half of it. Sorry, but running
up the score against weak-sister Idaho State and a very young Tulsa
team is not enough to go on against a team as talented as Miami is up
and down their roster.
Quarterback Landry Jones has done a decent job in his two starts
since replacing Bradford, throwing for 673 yards and nine touchdowns.
But hes also thrown three interceptions, and will be facing his
toughest assignment in his career going up against the fast Hurricane
Expect the Sooners to try and take the pressure off of Jones by
letting running back DeMarco Murray carry the load, as the Hurricane
defense allows nearly as many yards on the ground (158.7 ypg 84th)
as they do in the air (175 ypg 34th). Virginia Tech pounded the
Hurricanes for 272 yards on the ground, so the holes should be there
for Murray to run to daylight.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are hoping the real Jacory Harris shows up
to play quarterback on Saturday and not the one that struggled in the
rain last week versus Va. Tech. Harris was just 9-of-25 (36%) for
just 150 yards passing against the Hokies, by far the worst outing of
his young career. The Hurricanes will need Harris to bounce back fast
too, since the Sooners currently are ranked No. 1 in the country in
run defense allowing only 40.7 yards per game and it may be tough
sledding on the ground this Saturday.
These two teams last met on the field in early September of 2007, in
what turned into a 51-13 laugher in favor of the Sooners. However,
the Hurricanes won all three games versus the Sooners back in the
late 80s (85, 86 and 88), and are a perfect 2-0 SU and 2-0 ATS
against the Sooners in the Orange Bowl.
But lets remember that those stats came back in the late 80s when
the Hurricane were thee team in the nation at the time. The Hurricane
are just 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 home games, including an awful
1-6 ATS record versus teams with winning records in their last seven
games in the Orange Bowl, so dont wager based on that deceiving
betting trend. Miami is 6-1 ATS versus teams from the Big 12 though,
in their last seven tries.
With all of the offensive firepower on both teams the over in this
game would appear to be a cinch, but all three of the Sooners games
have come in under the total so far and two of the Hurricanes three
games also ended under the total. The under is 22-6 in the Hurricanes
last 28 non-conference games, and is traditionally a strong play in
the Orange Bowl with a 35-16-1 record in the Hurricanes last 52 games
Badgers Pick: Miami folded under the pressure last week. Maybe theystarted believing the media hype surrounding their return to
prominence, maybe they just arent as good as people thought. But
either way, I expect them to play this game like it is their BCS Bowl
game. Only its at home in the Orange Bowl and against a raw
quarterback in his first true test on the road. Ill take Miami as a
home dog. Take Miami plus the 7.5 or 8 points.