December 23, 2008

Emerald Bowl -- Miami (FL) (7-5) vs. California (8-4) (AT&T Park San Francisco December 27, 2008 8pm ESPN)

Tie Ins: ACC #7 vs Pac 10 #5

Dan: Miami +7.5

I realize the Canes dropped the last 2 games of the season. But they had won 5 straight before that, and I like what Randy Shannon is doing down there. California on the other hand had a pretty boring season. The team won the games it should have and lost the ones it should not have won. I think California has more experience and probably slightly more talent than Miami right now. Next year, I’m not sure that will be the case. But for one more game, California probably still has the slight advantage. That is enough to get a win but not cover.

California 28 Miami 24

Matt: Miami +7.5

I’ve been touting Miami all year, so if the ship is going down, I might as well go down with it. The last two games of the season were downright embarrassing for the U defense, giving up 41 to Georgia Tech and 38 to NC State. I’ll admit that I’m rooting for Miami to regain their swagger (and performance) of many years ago. Miami has displayed a willingness to play tough games, so they might as well be good. I think they’ll be able to keep this one close and wouldn’t be surprised if they win. The Pac-10 sans USC was plain bad this year.

Cal 34 Miami 30

Mike: California –7.5

There is a bit of a motivation concern here, as several Cal players expressed a preference to play in Las Vegas. After watching Georgia Tech dismantle Miami’s rushing defense, however, I cannot envision any scenario in which the Hurricanes will be able to stop Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen.

California 38 Miami 21

Doug: Cal -7.5

Another hilarious "blue state" bowl venue that has sprung up in recent years. The college football mecca of San Francisco. What percentage of Bay Area types even know there is a bowl game in Frisco?? Heck, what percentage of Bay Area people even know what college football is?? Maybe they could offer lattes and WIFI and provide a free lecture on the harms of globalization after the game to entice the locals. Or maybe they could stage a Prop 8 protest at halftime or something to put some life into the crowd. One of these years I would love for the Emerald Bowl to get a Big 12 affiliation just so we could get a bunch of cornfed folks from Nebraska to head out to Frisco for the weekend. The comedy of seeing Nebraska fans in the parking lot of AT&T park throwing down brats and Budweisers next to some effete Bay Area people sauteeing tofu burgers and sipping on a cabernet would be awesome.

I don’t know about this game. I don’t like that 7.5 point spread for a somewhat flaky Cal team, but why would I be confident that Miami is even going to bother getting off the bus in this game?? A random bowl game in the Bay Area has “Miami packs it in” written all over it. Plus, Miami’s QB is suspended in this game.

I know the Randy Shannon bandwagon is still relatively full, but I’m happy to remain on the side of that bus with a skeptical eye. I just don’t see what the fuss is about with this guy. They went 7-5 this year in a very weak ACC. It’s Miami. They have better raw talent than anyone in that league other than maybe FSU. A really great coach could win at Miami IMMEDIATELY. By year two, a good coach would have won the ACC at Miami. And yet Shannon goes 7-5 in his second year, fades late with a blowout loss to Georgia Tech and a bad loss to NC State, and yet people are still talking about him like he’s a coach on the rise. I don’t see it at all.

Look at what Paul Johnson did in his first year at Georgia Tech and what he has to work with compared to Randy Shannon. Randy Shannon appears to me to be a mediocre head coach, but he’ll probably stick around at Miami for 2-3 years too long because he’s black. And people wonder why black coaches aren’t getting hired. When you hire a coach who isn’t winning but can’t fire him because of his color, it makes everyone else terrified about hiring a black coach.

I still think Greg Schiano would be a great fit at Miami with his ties to the school. He may have quietly done one of the better jobs in college football this year by getting Rutgers to come off the mat from that awful start to win six straight games down the stretch to qualify for a bowl. The fact that 7-5 is considered a disappointment at Rutgers is a testament to the job that Schiano has done to elevate expectations at that program. He can't win a title at Rutgers, but I bet the right AD could get him down to Miami where he would have a great chance to win a national title.

Cal 30 Miami 17

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