Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss No. 7 Miami’s trip to Death Valley this weekend to take on No. 1 Clemson.
DAN WETZEL: I want to start with number one Clemson versus number 7 Miami. The U. Is the U back? Both 3-0. it's going to be the 7:30 prime time Saturday night game on ABC. Won't have the crowd quite the same, unfortunately. Huge test, obviously, for Miami. They have made great strides this season. Obviously I don't care who wins. I am not a Miami fan. I am not a Tiger fan. I am just here. But I think college football will be a lot more interesting if there is a challenger in the ACC to Clemson. You know? I mean, look. Clemson is a two-touchdown favorite in this thing. It is what it is. But I think there is a chance for Miami here. Pat, what do you think?
PAT FORDE: I agree. This is everything the ACC needs. It's a splashy game. With the name-brand team in the conference by far against a former name-brand program that people can still attach on to and say, hey, it would be fun if Miami is good. Also, I mean, it's a heck of a quarterback match-up. D'Eriq King has been excellent since he got to Miami. Trevor Lawrence we know. Got really, really good quarterbacks in a game that will bring some real juice to the season so far. But we have all seen how many times a year, Pete, you know, several times a year somebody looks like that promising up-and-coming team in September, October. And then they run into a Clemson or Alabama. And we see what the reality is.
PETE THAMEL: Yes. And I have a feeling that's going to happen to Miami here. Because the gap to get in the conference title conversation is much bigger. It is much easier to get to. And Miami has done that. They've gone from a middling team to a conference contender. But to be competitive with the conference winner, the assumed, presumed, and often. I believe five times in a row.
PAT FORDE: I think so.
PETE THAMEL: So many in a row we've forgotten. Like you've just taken for granted. And I really think the most fascinating thing I'm going to look for on Saturday is Miami's offensive line. Miami's offensive line was wretched last year. I believe they gave up 51 sacks. They were the worst in the ACC in sacks allowed. They were downright brutal. Now they have the least sacks allowed in the ACC. Now some of that is the way they're playing. Right? If you are playing some tempo offense, you wear out your opponent. There's myriad things. Because you're getting rid of the ball quicker. Because D'Eriq King is slippery, so he's not going to get sacked as much. There's many, many factors that go into that. But that does not necessarily mean your rancid offensive line has become a great offensive line. It means you've mitigated it. Now Miami's group has clearly gotten better. Now we're going to take a pause and say, OK, are they actually good enough to go toe to toe with Clemson?
DAN WETZEL: Yeah. And look. This is, again, I said, 14-point dogs on the road. This isn't just the conference bully. This is a national bully. And, you know, Miami, we talked about this during COVID. We thought that COVID really helped Miami's recruiting, oddly. Because they just started dominating South Florida talent, where kids could not travel around and visit last spring. And they just started loading up on kids. They've got the 11th-ranked recruiting class in the country, which is really good. They've got a bunch of four and five stars. Now these kids are in high school. But that momentum is all there. And a really big-time performance here, even in a loss, would go a long way for Miami. And I think that it will be a challenge. And I think it'll be a good chance to see exactly what this Clemson team is. Because that offense has not been pouring up huge points. And, you know, maybe there's a little something missing. So really, really good Saturday night game, though. I think, for the first time in a while, you have-- I mean, I'm probably forgetting some. But it's certainly a game in the ACC that you kind of make a point with viewing towards.
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