Hurricanes' Final Regular-Season Game in Pittsburgh Is a Huge Trap
Photo by Christina Mendenhall

Hurricanes' Final Regular-Season Game in Pittsburgh Is a Huge Trap

One. More. Win. That's all the University of Miami Hurricanes football team needs to complete a perfect 11-0 regular season. If the Canes can stiff-arm and sidestep a seemingly inferior 4-5 Pittsburgh Panthers team on the road today, they'll head into the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game, where they'll take on the Clemson Tigers at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium December 2, totally unscathed, just one final step from a berth in the College Football Playoffs.

It all seems so easy, doesn't it? Just beat a below-.500 football team. It's not that easy, though. It's never that easy.

Anyone who knows sports knows that sports have a way of sportsing their way into a zig just when you were certain they would zag. Last week it almost happened. Miami was down two touchdowns to Virginia in the third quarter. It looked like sports were about to sport so hard, but then the Canes reeled off 30 straight points to secure a comfortable 44-28 win.

This week, against an even worse team, things might not be as easy — because of sports, obviously.

On its surface, the 10-0 Hurricanes should have no problem with the 4-5 Panthers at Heinz Field. The Canes have beaten much better teams, and they certainly have much more to play for than Pitt. If the Canes don't bring their A-game, though, this matchup could get dicey. This is essentially the Panthers' bowl game. There is nothing bigger on their plate. The Canes are Pitt's turkey drumstick.

Pittsburgh lost a heartbreaker last week to Virginia Tech, 20-14, with Pitt ending the game on the Hokies' one-yard line after not being able to stuff it in the end zone on four straight tries. The Hokies' win moved them to number 25 in the rankings and probably helped the Canes jump to number two in the College Football Playoff poll thanks to their earlier win over VT.

Though the Panthers' wins this season aren't very impressive, they reeled off a pretty easy 31-14 victory in late October against the same Virginia team that UM had trouble with last week. They've also played three highly ranked teams this season, so facing Miami won't exactly scare them even though they lost to those three teams.

The biggest factor to worry UM fans, however, could be the most obvious: This is a Friday-night road game taking place the day after Thanksgiving. Weirder shit has happened. If it looks, smells, and feels like a trap, it might be a trap.

If the Canes can avoid a devastating loss in Pittsburgh today, it's smooth sailing into the ACC title game December 2. If they can't, it'll be one of the most devastating losses in the history of the program. No pressure, though!

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