College Football: #23 Miami @ Georgia Tech Preview
Four games are on the schedule before Saturday, with the big one being an ACC Coastal showdown between #23 Miami (7-3, 4-2) and Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3). The Hurricanes, currently in the driver's seat in the division, need a win to keep that status since North Carolina lurks just one game behind in the standings. And with the Heels due to take on NC State and Duke to end the season, a loss here could essentially hand the division to a Carolina team that has already defeated Miami and Georgia Tech. The young Hurricanes will have their hands full dealing with one of the ACC's best defenses, led by possible firt-round draft pick DE Michael Johnson.
Not to mention an option attack that once you focus too much on the ground game of QB Josh Nesbitt and RB Jonathan Dwyer, a big play through the air comes by way of WR Demaryius Thomas. How much have the young Hurricane quarterbacks (Robert Marve and Jacory Harris) progressed throughout the season? We'll learn here, but given the crazy nature of the ACC it would be fitting if the Yellow Jackets won this game at home.
6:00 PM ET Buffalo at Bowling Green
The MAC East is on the line in this one, with Turner Gill's Bulls one win away from clinching the division. A wild overtime win at Akron last week put Buffalo (6-4, 4-2) in this position, but they're going to be tested on the road in this one. QB Tyler Sheehan has played better football of late, helping lead the Falcons (5-5, 3-3) to wins over Kent State and Ohio. There's an equally capable quarterback on the other side of the field in Drew Willy, a major reason for Buffalo's recent turnaround.It'll come down to what the two defenses can do in this one, and with the Bulls leading the MAC in turnover margin they'll win a close one. Expect the phone of Coach Gill's agent to be ringing this offseason.
7:07 PM ET Miami (OH) at Toledo
The Redhawks (2-8, 1-5 MAC East) were expected to contend in the MAC East but they, like Toledo (2-8, 1-5 MAC West), are now playing out the string. This is also the final home game of the Tom Amstutz era, with "Toledo Tom" stepping down to take a fundraising position within the athletics department at season's end. His player surely want to send him out with a win, and they should do just that in a wild affair.
9:30 PM ET Fresno State at San Jose State on ESPN2
The Bulldogs (6-4, 3-3) haven't met expectations this season, currently sitting in sixth place in the WAC and in desperate need of a victory to guarantee themselves somewhere to go come bowl season. But they visit one of the WAC's best defenses in San Jose State (6-5, 4-3), which has found a way to win six games despite having one of the nation's worst offenses. Fresno State has better talent across the board, but I don't think they're admitting how much that early-season loss to Wisconsin took out of them. The Spartans win a close one, and keep an eye on their NFL-ready corners in Coye Francies and Christopher Owens.
-Will Muschamp designated "head coach in waiting" at Texas.
For all the talk about who could fill openings at Tennessee and Clemson, one man's name can now be taken off of that list. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has been designated head coach in waiting at the school, meaning that whenever Mack Brown decides to retire the job is his. This development, which has happened in college basketball in recent years, has even caught the attention of Virginia Tech athletics director Jim Weaver. With their defensive coordinator, Bud Foster, having interviewed at Clemson there is obviously some incentive to keeping him in Blacksburg besides the fact that he's an excellent football coach. This is an interesting development to keep an eye on this offseason in regards to possible head coaching openings.