Cory Mccartney
Friday December 25th, 2009

No. 14 Miami (9-3) vs. No. 24 Wisconsin (9-3) Dec. 29, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Reason to watch: Tune in for the clash of speed versus power. With Jacory Harris at the controls of Mark Whipple's wide-open attack, Miami has the potential to erupt (five games this season with at least 450 total yards) or implode (Harris threw three or more interceptions in two 'Canes losses). Harris, who threw for 3,164 yards and 23 touchdowns, has plenty of weapons at his disposal, including 10 players who recorded at least 10 receptions and a versatile backfield.

For Wisconsin, it's all about John Clay and the running game. The Badgers ranked 14th nationally in rushing behind Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Clay. The 6-foot-2, 247-pound sophomore rumbled for 1,396 yards and 16 touchdowns on 265 carries and went over 100 yards in each of his last five games. The downhill runner will face a Hurricanes D that has allowed just one 100 yard rusher all season, so he'll need some help from QB Scott Tolzien and Wisconsin's 71st-ranked passing attack to prevent the 'Canes from loading up against the run.

Keep an eye on: The battle between Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield and Miami's new left tackle. Jason Fox protected the blind sides of Miami QBs through 47 career starts, but season-ending surgery will leave the 'Canes without the rock of their offensive line. That could mean more trouble for a group that allowed 30 sacks this season and will have to try to slow down Schofield, who has 10 sacks on the year and is tied for second nationally with 22.5 tackles for loss. The task will fall to Orlando Franklin, who moved over from left guard to fill in for an ill Fox against USF. This matchup should dictate just how effective Harris can be against a Badgers defense that allowed 20 passing touchdowns.

Final analysis: Harris has looked like a future Heisman contender at times, but he's also offered plenty of reminders that he's still a sophomore, throwing 17 interceptions, tied with Ole Miss' Jevan Snead for the most among FBS passers. With an offense that can chew up the clock and a great pass rusher going against a green left tackle, Wisconsin has all the markings of a team that could give Harris fits.

The pick: Wisconsin 27, Miami 24.

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