As the Hurricanes roll into Blacksburg for this evening's clash with Virginia Tech, all the hype in the world is comes in riding their coattails.
After beating Florida State on the road and thrashing Georgia Tech at home on a Thursday night, the prognosticators have labeled "the U" as "back", as in back to the forefront of national prominence after a five-year hiatus.
After opening as a slight favorite last Sunday, the Hokies are now a three-point underdog.
Here's a little history lesson: the last time Tech was not favored at home was 2006, when a top-ten Clemson Tigers team was destroyed by an unranked Hokies squad on a Thursday night, 24-7.
It's not often opponents walk into Blacksburg truly as the expected winner, which is exactly what Miami is today.
The 'Canes' number nine ranking is so high, it leaves people wondering just how good they really are.
They beat the Seminoles on Labor Day after Jarmon Fortson dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass on the final play. A wide-open touchdown pass in fact. If Fortson makes that catch, not a soul is talking about Miami as a resurgent program just yet.
They crushed the Yellow Jackets at home, though it is hard to judge whether they were a worthy opponent or not. Tech's offense looked enemic, as they made plenty of unforced errors, along with the fact that it looked as if teams have figured out how to stop the triple option offense. By the end of the season, Tech might be 6-6 and the win last week in Miami won't be as impressive as many people are giving it credit for now.
The Hokies battled through a miserable offensive performance last week only to have Tyrod Taylor save the day at the last possible moment. The junior quarterback led Tech's offense 89 yards in the final two minutes to beat Nebraska 16-15.
The Hokies' biggest problem to this point has be its offensive line. Despite having more combined starts than 115 of the FBS' 119 other programs, it looks like they are having problems communicating. That lack of cohesiveness has resulted in a slew of unblocked defensive lineman and linebackers gunning for Taylor with no resistance. Taylor has already been sacked 11 times in three games.
Miami's defense will be the fastest Tech has seen this season, and that number 11 might grow tremendously if his protection does not improve.
Miami's Harris has looked fine as a passer in the early goings of the season, averaging 328 passing yards per game with five touchdowns.
He dominated a Georgia Tech defense that gave up over 250 yards passing to Clemson's Kyle Parker, and looked shaky though the first two and a half quarters against the Seminoles before coming up big late in the game.
Harris is talented, for sure, and his array of pass-catchers rolls nine players deep. The talent is almost endless at the skill positions for Miami, so while there is not one marquee guy on the outside, defenses still have to respect all of them equally.
The Hokies must tackle much better than they have the first three weeks. Bud Foster's crew has allowed more plays of 20 or more yards than any other team in the country this season, and that is mainly attributed to bad tackling. Every opponent so far this year has had a player rush for over a 100 yards.
Miami has two sensational backs that can carry the load in Graig Cooper and Javarris James. They form one of the best 1-2 punches in America, and compliment each other very well.
The forecast today almost guarantees rain, which means it could turn into a battle of the running games, and it will also be hard to tackle slippery runners.
If Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring wants to win Saturday, he can not forget about Ryan Williams. The star Hokies' running back carried the ball only six times after halftime last week. He is clearly the biggest threat on the Tech offense, and has proven he can carry the load. He is suffering from a lingering ankle injury, but the coaches say he is ready to go full speed this week.
The Hokies have heard nothing all week other than how awful they played last week and how lucky they were to win, as well as how incredible and intimidating the Hurricanes are. Something tells me Frank Beamer will play off of that buzz and use it to motivate this football team into making a statement win at home.
The Hokies can not fall behind early in this game, but if they take a lead early or stay with the 'Canes in the first half, they will have every opportunity to win this game.
The rain will serve as a great equalizer in this one, creating even more of a defensive slugfest.
Predicting this one is harder than a organic chemistry exam, but I'm going to go with the Hokies by a score of 20-17. Hereeeee comes Saturday!