Miami, FL - Miami is the top-rated ACC team in the first BCS standings, but its regular season has only hit the halfway point.
The eighth-ranked Hurricanes return to conference play for the first time in nearly a month Saturday when they host Clemson.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made Miami –4.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 80% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami –4.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
When the initial BCS rankings were announced this week, Miami (5-1, 2-1) was No. 10, ahead of conference foes Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, which were 12th and 14th, respectively.
Miami coach Randy Shannon, though, doesn't see much value in a computer ranking if his team cannot produce on the field.
"Everybody says it makes a difference, and when the computer rankings come out, that's what you base it on," said Shannon, whose team has won three straight and is off to its best start since an 8-1 mark to open 2005. "But for me and this football team, not really. We're back in our conference play now and conference games are more valuable than anything. We've got to keep worrying about our conference games and worry about Clemson this week.''
After a 31-7 loss at then-No. 11 Virginia Tech on Sept. 26, the Hurricanes defeated Oklahoma, Florida A&M and Central Florida.
In Saturday's 27-7 victory over the host Knights, Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris completed 20 of 26 for 293 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked a season-high six times.
"The thing coach Shannon said was, overall, it could be on everybody," Harris said. "It could be that I was holding the ball too long, missed assignments by the receivers, missed assignments by the offensive line. It's just a team thing when it comes to sacks."
He'll have to get rid of the ball quick Saturday, when he faces a Clemson team that is 11th in total defense (270.2 yards per game) in the Football Bowl Subdivision and has more sacks this season (17) than in 2008 (15).
"We just have to get to (Harris) and hit him," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. "We can't let him get comfortable because if we do it will be a long day in South Beach."
Clemson (3-3, 2-2 ACC), second in the conference in pass defense with 147.8 yards per game, looks for a repeat performance after recording season highs with 12 tackles for loss and five sacks in Saturday's 38-3 win over Wake Forest.
Junior safety DeAndre McDaniel picked off his ACC-best fifth pass of the season as the Tigers held the Demon Deacons to 178 total yards.
"The defense was relentless today and dominated," Swinney said. "They played smart and made tackles. I was proud of their effort."
He felt the same way about senior C.J. Spiller, who carried nine times for 106 yards and two touchdowns and became the 27th player in FBS history to accumulate 6,000 all-purpose yards. Spiller, the ACC's all-time leader in all-purpose yards, is sixth in the FBS in that category this season with 190.8 per game.
Spiller is third in the FBS in kickoff returns, averaging 37.1 yards.
"He's good," Shannon said. "He's one of the fastest and most athletic guys they have."
With senior Graig Cooper hampered by a hip injury, Miami's running game has been anchored by senior Javarris James, who has rushed for a team-high 362 yards and four TDs. He ran for 65 and a touchdown Saturday, when he moved past 2,000 career rushing yards.
"It's a good accomplishment,'' James said. "But I'm happy we won. I'm more excited with the win."
Shannon is happy about the expected return of senior safety Randy Phillips, who suffered a torn labrum in the Virginia Tech loss.
"He practiced well today," Shannon said Tuesday. "He flew around and had some fun. He's back into it. It always means a lot to get guys back."
Phillips and Miami's defense looks to slow down Tigers freshman quarterback Kyle Parker, who ran for a touchdown and completed 10 of 17 for 132 yards and a TD in Saturday's win.
In the teams' last meeting, Miami defeated Clemson 36-30 in triple overtime on Sept. 17, 2005.
The Tigers defeated the Hurricanes 24-17 in overtime on Nov. 6, 2004, in the most recent matchup in Miami.
Posted: 10/21/09 12:23PM ET