Thursday Night Bites: 1000 U fans, assemble!
• Virginia @ Miami, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Cavs and 'Canes both sit at 4-3 overall, with Miami's two conference wins to Virginia's one giving it an edge for third place in the Coastal Division.
The Hurricanes mounted their first win streak of the 2011 season with back-to-back victories in Weeks 7 and 8, including last week's stunner upset of Georgia Tech. They're thisclose to being 6-1, having suffered a four-point loss to highly regarded Kansas State and a three-point crusher to Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers were the responsible party for the first half of GT's two-game skid, besting the Jackets in Week 7. They've also been playing fast and dangerous with margins of victory, recording a six-point loss to a very good Southern Miss team but beating Indiana by three, Idaho (Idaho!) by one in overtime and the Jackets by a field goal.
On paper, the 'Canes have the edge here. Virginia is scoring close to 35 a game, with Miami allowing just more than 21. Miami's good for an average of 29 points per game, with Virginia allowing around 23. A look at common opponents favors the Hurricanes: Miami beat UNC 30-24; UVA lost 17-28, and the 'Canes put a bigger hurt on the Jackets in a 24-7 win.
Don't look for much aerial action from the 'Canes' worse-than-middling passing attack versus UVA's top 15 pass defense. The Cavs are much more lax against the run, and Miami's backs came on strong last week. Mike James, Lamar Miller and special teams accounted for all scoring in the upset.
• Rice @ No. 18 Houston, 8:00 p.m., FSN: At the risk of sounding pat: Houston enters this game with the nation's top-ranked offense, averaging over 600 yards per game and close to 50 points, with the NCAA career offense leader under center. Rice ranks 115th nationally in total defense. Will I be watching this game? HAHA OF COURSE.