[Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll now up and accepting votes in a separate post here in the blog just above this post. Vote!]
FINAL THOUGHTS: Miami got dominated in a way I'm sure no fans thought possible. Jacory Harris was a mortal 9-for-25, beset by poor protection much of the game. Jacory can leave his pink pimp suit earmarked for the Heisman ceremony on the coat-hanger for the time being. Defensively, UM tackled poorly and got beat up by the Virginia Tech ground game. Don't imagine Miami will fall much below 15th or so in the polls,with a chance to get back on title-trtack vs. Oklahoma next week. Your thoughts welcome.
FOURTH QUARTER: Jacory Harris intercepted. It does not appear the momentum that was briefly UM's shall be recaptured. Tech parlays pick into another TD and a 31-7 lead. Too big a deficit too late. Not happening.
THIRD QUARTER: V-Tech adds short FG for 24-7 lead. I always hate to single out a player in college ball, but it must be said those two Graham dropped passes took palpable momentum from UM and gave it right back to the home team. ..... Two huge drops by Jimmy Graham. ..... UM back in it, now down 21-7, after 1-yard Javarris James TD run to open second half, set up by a 30-yard Harris-Hankerson hookup.
HALFTIME: Not to use jargon, but the technical term for what's happening is "an ass-kicking." It's 242 total yards of offense to 54. Virginia Tech defense dominating, and getting enough pressure on Jacory Harris to turn him mortal. I am not writing off the Canes. This is a team built for comeback football. but Randy Shannon and his staff better have a little magic going on in the visitors' lockerroom right now.
SECOND QUARTER: Shouldn't UM have tried a deep pass or two in final 30 seconds to at least try to get on board with a late field goal? ..... Hokies block a punt and score on it for a 21-0 lead. VT always known for special teams and reminding why. This is becoming a bit embarrassing for UM. Must score before halftime to have a shot. ..... Va Tech goes Fox News (wide right) on a short FG try. One of the few breaks so far for Miami. ..... Canes get a takeaway and ball at VT 20 but go backward, get nothing. Not looking good.
FIRST QUARTER: Uh oh. Virginia Tech 14-0 now on 48-yard TD pass. Canes defender slipped on wet turf but was getting beat anyway. Now we get to see Jacory under max pressure: Really bad weather. On the road. In a big, early hole. ..... VT up 7-0 on 2-yard Ryan Williams TD run after Jacory Harris fumble set up Hokies at Miami 11. Close call on whether Harris' arm was moving forward. Tech also benefitted from iffy interference call in end zone against UM safety Vaughn Telemaque. Inclement weather, but that did not seem to affect Harris on turnover.
[Your thoughts on today's UM-Virginia Tech duel are invited here before, during and after the game. Also welcoming chatter on Gators, Noles, FIU, FAU and more].
There is no question the Miami Hurricanes are the "it" team in college football right now. They forge a thrilling upset win in Tallahassee to go from nowhere to ranked. They convincingly beat a then-higher-ranked Georgia Tech to crash the top 10. Now they are favored on the (very) hard road, in Blacksburg, Va.
Chatter even arises about a Canes-Gators BCS title game!
If No. 9 UM wins at No. 11 Virginia Tech today beginning at 3:30 (Canes favored by 2 1/2), The U will have left behind most every doubter and positioned itself for a chance -- a chance -- to think of a national championship as being realistically in play. Likewise, keeping Jacory Harris out of the Heisman Trophy conversation will be harder and harder if UM gets out of this thing 3-0.
Make fun of the VT mascot if you will. After all, honest and lengthy debates could be held on which is the more embarassing nickname: "Hokies" or "Gobbers." But give either respect even as you stifle a snicker. This is a tough, tough game.
I'll admit I have reservations this week. For the first time this season I do not feel great about Miami's chances but will be happy to be found wrong. I root for good stories, and the Canes going from an irrelevant 7-6 to where they are now is a fun ride. I am not rooting for it to end.
[Remember to check back after the conclusion of today's UM game for the latest installment of our Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll. You'll find it in a separate post in the blog minutes after the game ends].
WEEK 4 COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Week's other FBS (Division 1) state games and select others, all today:
South Florida 17, No. 18 Florida State 7: Seminoles were a somewhat modest 14-point favorite. I think part of that was this as a natural-letdown game for Team Dadgumit, coming off last week's huge upset win at BYU. Well the Noles got stunned in Tally by a USF team relegated to backup QB B.J. Daniels because of Matt Grothe's injury. FSU losing won't help UM any in terms of strength-of-schedule points.
East Carolina 19, Central Florida 14: A game only a (paticipating player's) mother could love. ECU favored by 10 1/2 points and gets by.
Louisiana-Monroe 27, FAU 25: Finally, after road losses at Nebraska and South Carolina, Howard Schenellenberger's Owls got a home game and, more important, an opponent their own size. The run for the Sun Belt crown started here for FAU, a 3-point fave, but with a tough loss. I was impartial of course. LET'S GO OWLS!!
No. 1 Florida 41, Kentucky 7:
The Gators beat KY a 23rd straight time, but the big news is QB Tim Tebow leaving game in 3Q with an apparent concussion. Should be OK for UF's next game Oct. 10 at LSU. My question: Why was Tebow still in there in the second half with a 31-7 lead when he had the flu to begin with? Not smart Urban. As for the photo at right, it's a Gators fan or should I say a fan of the virginal Tebow. The front of her T-shirt read, TEBONE ME. I would not make that up. You see the back of the shirt. BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!? I JUST DON'T GET IT!
Toledo 41, FIU 31: Home game. Dead-even, pick-'em. Great chance for FIU but instead: 0-3. I was rooting for the Golden Panthers of The Int'l, but mainly because I had bet big on local media references to "Holy Toledo!"
National game of the week: Oh it was Canes at V-Tech without a doubt. It's the only matchup of Top 25 teams. Plus little else thrilled me this week, although North Carolina-Georgia Tech looked good; GT won 24-7. I predicted (you'll have to trust me) No. 4 Mississippi losing at South Carolina Thursday night.
COTE'S TOP 30-PLUS:
Our own weekly national ranking. Top 30-Plus means I'll also list any state schools that have earned points but are outside my T30. This latest ranking is entering collball Week 4, so does not include (for example) Thursday's loss by Ole Miss:
Rank / Team / Points / (Last week)
1 FLORIDA 360 (1)
2 Texas 348 (2)
3 Alabama 324 (4)
4 Southern Cal 309 (3)
5 Penn State 299 (5)
6 Mississippi 290 (6)
7 California 272 (8)
8 Louisiana State 264 (10)
9 Ohio State 261 (7)
10 Oklahoma 258 (9)
11 Boise State 238 (13)
12 Virginia Tech 230 (12)
13 Oklahoma State 225 (11)
14 Brigham Young 193 (14)
15 TCU 182 (16)
16 Georgia Tech 164 (15)
17 Georgia 144 (17)
18 MIAMI 139 (21)
19 North Carolina 117 (20)
20 Cincinnati 116 (23)
21 Nebraska 113 (19)
22 Utah 108 (18)
23 Kansas 93 (24)
t24 FLORIDA STATE 77 (26)
t24 Notre Dame 77 (22)
26 Houston 62 (30)
27 Oregon 55 (25)
28 Michigan 49 (31)
29 Missouri 43 (29)
30 Oregon State 39 (27)
An explainer, especially for incredulous Canes fans, perhaps: Our formula is purely mathematical, does not factor head-to-head results, and is conservative. By that I mean, teams move more gradually -- up or down -- than they tend to in other polls. This may result in our poll seeming out of whack in spots on any given week (like this week to UM fans, maybe), but I want to see how the formula stands up over an entire season. I want to judge it a couple of months from now as bowl time approaches.