Lock$ of Saturday: Week 15
Welcome to Hate Week!
The most important game of the weekend is obviously the Commonwealth Cup, but let's take a look at the competition that everyone is talking about:
Navy +6.5 @ Army
Sam - Army -6.5
I come from an Army family. Go Army. Beat Navy.
Robert - Army -6.5
I actually have one grandfather that served in the Army and another that served in the Navy. Call it a split house.
Army is clearly the better team, and even Virginia Tech hasn’t gone as long without winning a game as Navy. Sorry PawPaw, I’m going with Pop’s squad this year.
Brett - Navy +6.5
That uniform reveal was enough for me. Give me the Midshipmen!
Chris - Navy +6.5
Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more,
Here's wishing you a happy voyage home!”
GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!
Ed - Navy +6.5
While the records of the two show a different story, I believe this one will be settled by a field goal. Two teams that have played in some very close games, combined with the rivalry factor. Final score 21-24 Army.
USC -3.0 @ UCLA
Sam - USC -3.0
You wanna know something that no one is talking about? Kedon Slovis is 10-1 in Pac12 games as the Trojans starter. The sophomore is 12th in the nation this season with a QBR of 81.4 and has 10 TDs to 2 INTs. We aren’t talking enough about this guy and how Southern California of all teams is falling under this national radar. UCLA, on the other hand, has struggled to gain traction in the wide-open PAC12 South. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson has all the talent in the world but just hasn’t been able to put together a crisp product yet.
UCLA can rock all the Jordan attire they want, but USC is the best college football team in LA. Also, this is an all-time uniform rivalry. It really doesn’t get any better than those two sets of classic uniforms in two of the great amphitheaters of college football.
Robert - UCLA +3.0
Someone has to have a dissenting opinion, right? Anything can happen in this rivalry, and there is a chance USC is not all they are made out to be. Also, Chip Kelly is 4-2 as a head coach against the Trojans. Just sayin’.
Brett - USC -3.0
Chip Kelly has been nothing short of underwhelming at UCLA and USC seems to be on an upward swing. Will they be back in the next couple of years? Who knows. One thing I do know is that USC has drastically better players and is 4-1 in their last five against UCLA. Troooooooojan Pooooooooower!
Chris - USC -3.0
In the 89th installment of the Victory Bell rivalry, UCLA and USC are programs struggling to gain back relevancy and both enter this game with something to prove to the national audience during a primetime ABC matchup in the Rose Bowl (oh how I wish Keith Jackson was still around… Whoa Nellie!).
This game will come down to each team’s strengths, USC’s skill players at WR and QB Kedon Slovis versus UCLA's revamped rushing attack, with most of the other position groups, either being equal or offsetting. In the end, balanced matchups usually come down to 1-2 big plays, which seems to favor the explosiveness of USC’s passing attack in addition to their gradual defensive improvement doing enough to win by more than a FG.
Ed - USC -3.0
If USC has any sort of backdoor chance at the CFP (they don't), they'll need to blow the doors off UCLA. The USC offense led by Kedon Slovis and Amon-Ra St Brown will be enough to win and cover against Chip Kelly and UCLA.
North Carolina +3.0 @ Miami
Sam - Miami -3.0
In further proof that we are living in a broken simulation and 2020 is the beginning of the end of the world as we know it, how much have you heard about Miami this year? Miami is quietly (huh?!) a top 10 team that was only truly eliminated from the CFP last week with Tech unable to pull the upset against Clemson. D’Eriq King has looked every bit the superstar that South Beach needed, and the defense has been stellar all season. North Carolina is 1-4 against the spread in their last 5 and have started to show their youth on the defensive side of the football. The Notre Dame game exposed some weaknesses, and Miami will present a similar challenge. I think the Tar Heels are a year away, and the Hurricanes are playing for a NY6 bowl berth.
Robert - Miami -3.0
The U is actually back, and thanks to Notre Dame, no one cares. There has not been a peep out of any media outlet outside Coral Gables talking about just how good this Miami team is. Are they a playoff contender? Obviously not. Should they be? No. But D’Eriq King and Manny Diaz have this Hurricanes team primed for a top 10 finish for the first time since 2003.
UNC is no joke, and I like this Heels offense a lot. But Miami is much more well-rounded, as their defense is vastly superior to UNC’s. Expect King and Cam’Ron Harris to run the ball well as the Canes cruise to another win and an NY6 Bowl bid.
Brett - UNC +3.0
There is a reason Miami has been quiet this year and it’s because while they are solid, they aren’t the flashy or fantastic team of past U-squads. UNC seems to have taken on that persona with their high flying offense and their ‘Uniswag’. I expect the Heels to blow open the playbook and give Miami all sorts of issues.
Yes, the UNC defense is not great, especially in the secondary. However, the front seven is athletic enough to keep King under control between the hashes. UNC has nothing to play for except to ruin Miami’s NY6 chances and that sounds like something Mack Brown would do.
Chris - Miami -3.0
Quietly, Miami has put together a NY6 resume, with their lone blemish coming at the hands of Clemson, which mostly silenced any attention they should be getting as a team with a 9-1 record. Simply put, Miami’s offense offers way more of a challenge for UNC than the Tarheel’s offense does for the Hurricanes. With this in mind, I trust Manny Diaz and staff to better exploit that angle and produce a winning game plan as evidenced by their 5-2 record against the spread as a favorite (2-1 as an away favorite), meaning they seem to be consistently winning and covering as the better team against ACC competition.
Ed - Miami -3.0
This should be a really fun game. Both teams' offenses can put up points in a hurry. I can't see UNC slowing down Miami's high powered offense, and Miami is coming off of a defensive shutout against Duke. I look for Miami's defense to be the deciding factor in this one.
Virginia +2.0 @ Virginia Tech
Sam - Virginia +2.0
‘If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” - Ramsay Bolton
Robert - Virginia Tech -2.0
History lesson: when was the last time UVA beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg?
1998, just four months after I celebrated my first birthday.
What stands out most in this game is two things: explosive plays and UVA’s horrible secondary. According to ESPN’s David Hale, the Hokies have the 5th-most explosive offense in the country, while UVA is 10th-worst in allowing explosive plays. This means the Hokies have a great opportunity to put together some big plays, especially with the Hoos missing star DE Charles Snowden.
Where will those big plays come from? Likely UVA’s terrible secondary, which allowed over 500 yards to BC’s backup QB last week. Tre Turner loves playing the Hoos, as he has 11 catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns against them in his career. Despite the other misfortunes of this Hokie season, getting the Cup back will be a priority.
Brett - Virginia Tech -2.0
I don’t care how bad you want changes or you think the team wants changes, no one wants to lose to UVA. This is basically a toss-up and I give the Hokies the edge as Herbert is sent off as one of the best grad transfers of all time.
Chris - Virginia Tech -2.0
The last time this game was decided by less than a field goal was 1987 (14-13 UVA win), meaning this game basically comes down to a ML pick. To the laymen, this is a matchup between Tech’s rushing game versus UVA’s stifling run defense as well as VT’s ability to contain QB Brennan Armstrong (who is statistically worse than Hendon Hooker as a runner and thrower but don’t dare say that to your average boo-Hoo fan).
But if you look closer, there is an interesting angle which is VT’s downfield throwing capability (21 passes of 30+ yards, ranking them Top 15 in that metric) versus UVA’s atrocious secondary. You have to believe there is going to be a scheme for the Hokies centered on lulling the UVA defense to sleep, then having either Tre Turner or James Mitchell exploit their matchup on a big passing play, which may be the deciding factor against the Hoos.
Ed - Virginia Tech -2.0
I have no reason to think this way. Our only hope is Khalil Herbert rushing for 200+ and a couple of scores. Go Hokies.