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Hurricanes vs. Golden Bears Preview/Pick: Emerald Bowl

Emerald Bowl Miami Hurricanes vs. California Golden Bears

There is a lot of talk about the job Randy Shannon has done recruiting for the Miami program. Indeed, there are plenty of future pro players on both sides of the ball. Freshmen have been nice contributors on the defensive side, and Aldarius Johnson was the team’s leading receiver (30 catches).  

BetUS NCAA Football Betting Odds: CALIFORNIA -8, Total 50

Here are some of the NCAA college football betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* MIA has covered three of its last nine games
* MIA has won five of its last seven games SU
* CAL has covered five of its last six games
* CAL has won nine of its last 13 games SU
* CAL has played five of its last seven games OVER the total

But the swagger has yet to return for this Miami squad. And there has been a dearth of true quarterback talent in the Hurricanes’ huddle for years.

One of the Miami quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Robert Marve, has been suspended for this game. Apparently he was counted as absent for a class, and exceeded the number of classes that could be missed, which calls for a team-imposed suspension. Marve had more interceptions (13) than TD passes (9). Instead, Jacory Harris, who had been splitting duties with Marve for the most part, will be the guy. Harris has actually been more efficient than Marve, as he is a 61% passer and hit for 10 touchdowns, but his problem is that the ‘Canes won’t likely be able to stretch the field with him, as he is nursing a bad shoulder. No Miami receiver had more than 321 yards through the air, so that aspect of the game will be a struggle. Cal is known for having a rock-ribbed defensive front (3.2 ypc allowed), which could easily contain Miami’s Graig Cooper (144 yards in last three games).

Miami fell asleep at times on its defensive line, giving up 691 yards rushing in its last two games. That is about the worst news one can imagine when faced with the prospect of facing California’s speedsters in the backfield. Not only do you have to deal with Jahvid Best, who averaged 127 yards a game and EIGHT yards a carry, but also Shane Vereen, a big recruit in the Bay Area who gained 679 yards as a freshman.

Unlike Miami, California has two quarterbacks who are experienced and can get the job done. It is likely that both Kevin Riley (14 TD’s, 6 INT’s) and Nate Longshore (9 TD’s, 4 INT’s) will see action in this game. While Miami gave up only 169 yards a game through the air, they didn’t take the ball away much, intercepting only four passes. Meanwhile, the Bears not only put pressure on the passer (33 sacks) but also force turnovers (23 interceptions). As far as the comparison of the turnover ratio, Cal is at +12, while Miami is minus-9.

California, which covered five of its last six games and faltered in four road contests, will benefit by staying close to home against this Miami squad, whose talent will come around; this is just not the most opportune time for that to happen. We’re going to lay the points with California, the eight-point favorite in the BetUS NCAA football betting odds.

JAY’S PLAY: CALIFORNIA -8 ***

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