Previously appearing on WTOP.com–
There’s nothing worse than a false Hurricane Warning. You brace yourself for destruction and hope for minimal damage…only to realize that the University of Miami is providing fool’s gold once again. Thursday night’s loss to a .500 Cincinnati team ends another unbeaten dream…and sends fans of the U scurrying while wondering if Al Golden is the right guy to bring this program back to prominence. Long gone are the days when Miami reigned over college football (four titles in nine years from 1983 to 91) and front and center is the yearly reminder that these not only aren’t your father’s Hurricanes, but not even your big brother’s Canes from 2002. When they joined the ACC they were placed in a different divsion than Florida State so they could potentially square off with the Seminoles in the Championship Game; sadly they’ve yet to make a trip to the title tilt while Wake Forest, Boston College and Duke each have. In the last three seasons they’ve appeared to be on the cusp of the Coastal crown before each Hurricane dissipated: 4 losses in 5 games in 2012, 3 straight losses in 2013 and 4 straight losses last year. Hopes were high as Miami went into Thursday night’s game with Cincinnati of the AAC unranked at 3-0…only to prove why they weren’t in the top 25 with a double-digit loss to the Bearcats. Hurricane U downgraded again…
Alma Mater Update– the Orange have the weekend off…after losing by 10 to the number 8 team in the nation. Somehow going with “Plan E” at quarterback undermined the offense and trying to tackle the best runningback on the planet was too much for the SU defense. After a 3-1 start they get the week off before visiting South Florida and Virginia– winnable games necessary if dreams of a Pinstripe Bowl are to be met. It’s also a bye week for Orange fans, who instead of buffalo wings, potato wedges or Varsity pizza will enjoy a healthy salad…dressing on the side.
Maryland entertains Michigan– last year the Terps went to Ann Arbor and beat the Wolverines for the first time ever. This year they have a turnover-prone quarterback and a defense with issues (14th in the Big Ten against the run, 12th in passing efficiency and 13th in yards and points allowed)…while Big Blue comes to College Park with a rock-solid defense (1st against the pass and overall, second against the run and in scoring) and a coach who wears khakis. The game has been moved to noon, meaning my tailgate friends Matt and Stacia have to audible at the line of scrimmage in shifting their emphasis from shrimp dip to breakfast casserole. The secret? Hash browns as the first layer. The secret for Saturday? Turnovers and penalties will tell the tale again. Terps tumble, 31-16.
Virginia Tech hosts Pitt– the Hokies after getting their traditional September throat-clearing (2 losses during Show Me Month for the fourth time in six years) kick off ACC play against a former Big East rival. The Panthers are one of those programs you just feel should be better– but it’s been over 30 years since Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett were wearing the royal blue and gold with the script “Pitt” on their helmets. While there was plenty of concern surrounding how Brenden Motley would fill in for the injured Michael Brewer at quarterback, the redshirt junior has actually played well–providing a run/pass threat not seen since Tyrod Taylor wore a maroon jersey. The issue facing this team is how they’ll mask the loss of standout cornerback Kendall Fuller, out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Hokies come up short, 28-26.
Navy meets Air Force– with “Army West Point” as it’s now branded continuing to chase its own tail, this has become the defacto Commander in Chief’s Trophy Championship Game. As an aside, I’m hoping that the other academies resist temptation to eventually be called “Navy Annapolis” or “Air Force Colorado Springs”. Despite one school defending our oceans and the other in charge of the skies, both excel on the ground: the Falcons rank 2nd nationally in rushing offense while the Midshipmen are 3rd (Army West Point is 9th– no doubt slowed down by having three words in its name where one or two would suffice). The Keenan Reynolds victory tour continues…Midshipmen grind it out, 27-21.
Virginia against “Open”– Kippy and Buffy get a weekend off, but they’ll be busy shuttering up the Outer Banks cottage as is their bye week custom…with a bottle of bubbly. This year there’s more urgency with Hurricane Joaquin on the horizon. There’s also more unpleasantness as their Saturday night college football viewing will be #8 Georgia hosting 13th ranked Alabama. The Bulldogs quarterback? Former Cavalier Greyson Lambert. Did you know the guy who couldn’t start in Charlottesville has thrown more touchdowns (5) than incompletions (2) the last two weeks? Tough to stomach the champagne and caviar under such circumstances…but as always, Kippy and buffy willl find a way.
Howard falls to Norfolk State, Georgetown loses at Harvard, James Madison gets by Stony Brook, William & Mary defeats Delaware, Richmond over Maine.
Last Week: 3-5. Purely an abberation. An isolated incident. Nothing to see here…
Overall: 28-6. Isolated incident? Leaves aren’t the only thing turning colors and falling…