I took last week off to rethink my approach after Georgia was slaughtered by Boise State. Hopefully my pick this week will be just as much fun to watch, but without the crushing loss to the team I declare will be the winner.
Ohio State vs Miami 7:30 PM ET ESPN
This game has tremendous potential to be an exciting game. It is in the primetime slot on ESPN, so fireworks are to be expected. The Hurricanes are actually 2.5-3.5 point favorites depending on who you ask, which essentially amounts to the home field advantage.
These teams are both loaded with potential, but also are saddled with the weight of major controversies and NCAA investigations pending. The matchups on the field are offset by the players who are missing. With the return of Jacory Harris and Ohio States' struggles with lesser teams, Miami is in prime position to take the Buckeyes out of National Title contention.
However, I do not see this happening. As much as I would love to see Ohio State crippled before they reach their Big 10 schedule, they are the better, more balanced team and should win this game. It will not be a statement win, (Miami is unranked) but doesn't need to be at this point in the season. Putting another game in the win column is all that matters. Miami may play with a desperation you would expect from a program teetering on the edge of extinction, but in the end they will be outscored.
The one factor that my prediction does not take into account is the weather. The forecast calls for about a 50/50 shot at a serious rain storm. If this game is in a downpour, all bets are off as Miami is much better prepared to play a sloppy game on offense and defense. The rain would upset the careful balance that the Buckeyes need to win this game.
My pick is Ohio State in anything but a monsoon.
Ohio State over Miami 34-28
Alternate Monsoon score: Miami over OSU 30-21