College Football Lovers! No. 7 Miami faces it toughest challenge yet Saturday night when it travels north to face No. 1 Clemson. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET. Clemson, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, faces Miami in an ACC college football game at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina, on Saturday, October 10, 2020 (10/10/20).
Miami is 3-0, and its offense is white hot. The Hurricanes are fresh off a 52-10 thrashing of in-state rival Florida State. Leading the way is quarterback D’Eriq King, who was thrown for 733 yards and six touchdowns while running for 157 yards and another score.
Clemson is 3-0 with a blistering offense of their own. The Tigers beat Virginia 41-23 last week. Heisman Trophy hopeful Trevor Lawrence has thrown for 848 yards and seven touchdowns.
How to watch No. 7 Miami vs. No. 1 Clemson
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10
TV broadcast team: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Allison Williams
Watch online: Watch ESPN and ESPN+
Online radio: TuneIn
No. 1 Clemson faces No. 7 Miami in Death Valley on Saturday in a top-10 battle sure to set the tone for the ACC title and College Football Playoff races. There was not a ton of attention on the Tigers-Hurricanes game when the schedule was released in the preseason, but the impressive start by UM has made this early-season showdown one of the biggest games of the year — not only in the ACC but in all of college football.
After all, the ACC doesn’t get a ton of matchups between teams ranked in the top 10. This is the first such game since the 2017 ACC Championship Game when Clemson beat Miami 38-3, and only the 17th meeting between AP top 10 teams in the ACC in the league’s history.
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That adds an extra layer of intrigue to the perception portion of Saturday night’s events, as the quality not only of Clemson, the five-time ACC champs, and Miami, the most exciting 2020 contender so far, will carry implications that extend to the entire league.
There’s going to be a ton of talent on the field in Clemson with much of the nation’s eyes on the game. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect in this top-10 showdown as well as make some expert picks both straight up and against the spread.
Clemson: The events of last Saturday had so much for college football fans to digest that Clemson’s win against Virginia likely appeared routine and without worry or concern. After all, when eight ranked teams lose in the same day, there’s enough carnage around the country to focus on without getting distracted by a 41-23 Tigers victory. But in that game, we saw evidence of a Clemson team that is still very much rounding into form and far from the final product that we expect will be competing for a national championship. The defensive line is down multiple starters and the offense is still waiting for wide receivers not named Amari Rodgers to step up and help fill the absences of Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross. It wouldn’t be a big deal most years, as Clemson has been known to plan its season to peak around championship time in December and January, but most years don’t feature a top-10 opponent in the fourth game of the season. The Tigers are being tested with a championship-like setting weeks before they are used to hitting that championship gear, and the results will be telling for what’s ahead — particularly with a date against Notre Dame in South Bend coming up in early November.
Miami: How will Miami stand up against the champs? The Hurricanes offense has thrived against UAB, Louisville and Florida State, but going head-to-head against Clemson’s talented front and the best defensive coordinator in football in Brent Venables is going to be a tough test for Rhett Lashlee and D’Eriq King. Keeping Clemson’s defense off-balance with tempo and hitting on enough explosive plays is going to be the key to hanging in this heavyweight fight, because no matter how disruptive the Quincy Roche and Jaelen Phillips-led defensive line may be, there’s only so long you can go before Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne are going to find the end zone. Dabo Swinney prefers to let his defense lead when Clemson faces ranked opponents in the regular season, but most of those ranked opponents have not had the No. 1 offense in the ACC ranking No. 12 nationally with a 499 yards per game average.
Game prediction, picks
Clemson’s defense might not be mature enough (yet) to fulfill the full “Big Game Dabo” playbook of letting the defense lead the way, but he’s got the best backfield duo in the country to anchor what should be a patient rushing attack. In fact, it’s experience in big games on big stages like this that will ultimately be the difference, as Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne can lean on handfuls of different games and situations for mental advantages against a Miami team that is still on its way back to the top of college football. I expect Clemson to establish the run and lean on it to avoid mistakes and keep D’Eriq King off the field. Pick: Clemson (-14)