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2016 Russell Athletic Bowl Preview: Season 124 Episode 13 - The One Against The U

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WVU takes on former Big East Conference inmate foe Miami at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Capital One Bowl - Nebraska v Georgia Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

OPENING THOUGHTS

Okay, here we go.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and are currently having a Happy Hanukkah (depending on your religious affiliation).

One thing that’s been on my mind going into the game is what some of the reaction has been from some fans about our bowl and our opponent. Some think that WVU is better than the Russell Athletic Bowl and that playing Miami is a slap in the face.

If you think that, you’re wrong.

When conference realignment occurred and WVU moved from the Big East to the Big 12 (among other moves), the bowl tie-ins changed. When the tie-ins changed, the some of the bowls’ prestige changed. Bowls like the Holiday Bowl and the Gator Bowl that typically featured two Top 20 teams all of a sudden became just another cash grab. Other bowls like the Alamo Bowl became major bowl games. The Russell Athletic Bowl is an example of a bowl that became more prestigious. In my mind, it takes the Gator Bowl’s place. It’s also nice to be playing in a bowl that fans can actually easily get to.

As for the U, I believe that if one or two things had gone their way, they’d be 10-2. If one or two things had gone wrong (in games like K-State or Texas), WVU would be 8-4. Also, the Hurricanes’ skid came after a heart breaking loss at home to Florida State. I believe that the following losses were due to team chemistry from the fall out of that game. Now that they’re on a bit of a roll (even if it is in the ACC Coastal), I think it will be a better game.

It should be very exciting and it’s an opportunity for West Virginia to earn some respect, because going 7-2 in the Big 12 apparently isn’t good enough.

WHEN/WHERE

Date: Wednesday, December 28th

Kickoff Time: 5:30 PM ET

Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Tickets: General Public

WATCH/LISTEN

TV: ESPN

Streaming Video: WatchESPN (or the WatchESPN app for smartphones)

Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates)

Streaming Audio: Locate the Mountaineers Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn app for smartphones)

Satellite Radio: Sirius 80; XM 80

THREADS

West Virginia:

NCAA Football: Cactus Bowl-West Virginia vs Arizona State Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Miami:

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the ‘Canes will be wearing their new wave-classic home uniforms in Orlando.

ODDS

Spread: Miami by 2.5-3 (According to OddsShark)

O/U: 57-57.5

Bill C:

Spread (Home) S&P+ Projection Margin Win Prob. S&P+ Pick (ATS) F/+ Projection F/+ Pick (ATS)
-3 Miami (34.8-23.8) 11 73.8% Miami Miami by 7.8 Miami

WEATHER FORECAST

Should be mostly sunny in Orlando with temps in the low 80s during tailgate time. The sun should be setting right around kickoff as temps go down to the low 70s/upper 60s. Absolutely perfect weather for a football game.

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Miami, Florida (basically); Coral Gables, Florida (officially)

Series History: Miami leads series 16-3

Last Time: No. 2 Miami 22, West Virginia 20 on October 2, 2003

SB Nation Blog: State of The U

Record: 8-4 (4-4 ACC)

Head Coach: Mark Richt

NCAA Football: Miami at Georgia Tech Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • West Virginia running game vs. Miami’s D-Line. I think this is the key battle of the game. Miami has the one of the best rush defenses in the country. It will be interesting to see if Justin Crawford, Kennedy McCoy and Rushel Shell can get some good positive yardage on Wednesday.
  • Good Skyler or Bad Skyler. If the run game can’t do anything it depends on Skyler. Fingers crossed Bad Skyler stayed in Morgantown...

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE (ON A SCALE OF 1-10)?

Nine. I’m as afraid of the U as I am of an actual hurricane.

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

I think both WVU and Miami will trade leads throughout the game, but the Mountaineers somehow someway come out on top. For the first time since joining the Big 12, we’re 11-2.

West Virginia 35, Miami 31