Miami Hurricanes still in the hunt for an ACC Coastal title

What did people really expect of the Miami Hurricanes this season?

Did fans expect a spot in the College Football Playoff? Did they expect a hammering of Florida State in Tallahassee or an undefeated record in the ACC? For any sane fan, the answer should have been no.

Despite all the upheaval and criticism, the Canes 30-20 win over Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon kept them alive for the goal they truly are shooting for this year: winning the ACC Coastal Division.

“We took that tough loss that we felt like we shouldn’t have taken,” junior wide receiver Stacy Coley said of bouncing back after a tough loss to FSU. “We just knew though that we have the teams from the Coastal in front of us and we still have a shot at winning the division.”

Maybe fans don’t want to hear that Miami’s main goal at this point is competing for the Coastal title, but you have to be realistic. Coming from a 6-7 team in which seven players were drafted, that team will rarely vault into College Football Playoff contention.

Based on the way the Hurricanes have played up till now, you’d probably say they have no shot at getting that spot in the ACC Championship game, but after Saturday, at least they still have a chance.

People are underrating how big of a win this was against the Hokies. No, they aren’t the most talented team, but coming off playing your biggest rival and with a matchup against No. 6 Clemson approaching, there was a great chance for a letdown. The Hurricanes (4-2, 1-1) came prepared, though, and certainly didn’t let it ruin their season for good.

“We said Sunday morning the biggest thing is that we can’t worry about last week,” sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya said of the team’s preparation this week. “We said in the meeting we want to play Florida State again, but at the same time, in order to do that we’ve got to handle business when we get a time, one practice at a time, and one play at a time. It started with Virginia Tech this week.”

At this point, just taking it one game at a time is the only way the Canes will be successful. They’ve had a few key injuries, like senior linebacker Raphael Kirby’s on Saturday, but this team can still win out and compete for the Coastal crown.

It’s fun to think about Miami having an instant revival and returning to the glory it once had, but it’s fairly unrealistic. Over time that could happen, but for now, the first step is winning that ACC Coastal.

After beating Virginia Tech, at least that hope is still alive.