When the University of Miami coaches look at their 2017 game schedule, they must be licking their chops. The ACC Coastal Division is in rebuilding mode, giving Miami a clear path to the ACC Championship game if it can find a viable option for quarterback and take care of business.
Coach Mark Richt’s second year at the helm may be a good one, and while Canes fans expect to compete for ACC and national championships every fall, they have more than enough justification to hold those expectations this upcoming season.
9/2 – Bethune-Cookman vs. Miami: With all due respect to the Wildcats, this should be nothing more than a glorified scrimmage for the Hurricanes. However, it’s important that the Canes emerge from this game with a solidified starting quarterback if there is no decision by the end of fall camp.
Prediction: Miami 38 – Bethune-Cookman 10
9/9 – Miami @ Arkansas State: This match should have similar results to the previous game. It will present a good opportunity for a rather young team to get a road game under its belt before diving headfirst into a raucous crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium the following week.
Prediction: Miami 31 – Arkansas 14
9/16 – Miami @ Florida State: Be sure to have your TV tuned to ABC on Saturday night. This heated rivalry will undoubtedly be played on primetime as the Canes and Noles face off. Expect yet another epic battle, but this time, expect a gritty road win for the Hurricanes.
While expectations for Miami are extremely high, they pale in comparison to what Florida State will face. Just about every fan, media member and talking head in the nation will forecast an FSU appearance in next season’s edition of the College Football Playoff. Anything less will be an utter failure. What’s been lost in the shuffle of all that pressure and those lofty expectations is that arguably the best running back in school history, the two best defensive players from a year ago and the top three receivers are all gone. Finally, factor in the high likelihood that the Seminoles begin their season with a loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Two losses would all but tank Florida State’s hopes of reaching the playoff. That’s the type of pressure that makes inexperienced teams fold. Meanwhile, Miami will stroll in with a 2-0 record and absolutely nothing to lose. I’m just saying, UM will steal this one and move to 3-0.
Prediction: (OT) Miami 34 – Florida State 31
9/23 – Toledo vs. Miami: Toledo vs. Miami: Toledo should be a nice breather after an absolute war against FSU, but don’t take it too lightly. Its offense has been one of the best in the nation in recent years, and that spells upset for many teams coming off big wins. But Miami is not one of those teams. UM takes care of business.
Prediction: Miami 45 – Toledo 24
9/29 – Miami @ Duke: It will be year two of the rebuilding process for the Blue Devils, and the Hurricanes will have no trouble on the road in this one.
Prediction: Miami 27 – Duke 13
10/12 – Georgia Tech vs. Miami: The triple option is always tough to defend, but with almost two weeks to prepare, Miami’s stout defense will get the job done.
Prediction: Miami 38 – Georgia Tech 21
10/21 – Syracuse vs. Miami: Syracuse vs. Miami: Fans of the Orange will have shifted their focus to the upcoming basketball season at this point. This one will be over by halftime.
Prediction: Miami 49 – Syracuse 14
10/28 – Miami @ North Carolina and 11/4 – Miami vs. Virginia Tech: These two games will be an excellent indicator of how far the football program has come in one year. Last season, Miami suffered consecutive losses to these teams, vanquishing all hopes of a Coastal Division championship. With both teams having to replace star quarterbacks, all signs point to the Canes flipping those results around. They will win both, improve to 9-0 and probably clinch the Coastal title in the process.
Prediction: Miami 42 – North Carolina 35, Miami 35 – Virginia Tech 24
11/11 – Notre Dame vs. Miami: Miami will suffer its first loss of the season in a close one against rival Notre Dame. While it will certainly be a heart-wrenching defeat for the Canes, there will be no shame. The Irish are going to boast a very talented roster, and, more importantly, will be hungry after one of the school’s worst seasons in program history in 2016. It’s also important to keep in mind that one loss to a good team will not hinder Miami’s postseason aspirations.
Prediction: Notre Dame 34 – Miami 28
11/18 – Virginia vs. Miami and 11/24 – Miami @ Pittsburgh: The Hurricanes will end the regular season on a high note with big victories over two ACC opponents. They’ll finish up with a regular-season record of 11-1 – the best the program has faired in 15 years. This would set Miami up nicely for the postseason, and one win in the ACC Championship game would most certainly catapult it into that College Football Playoff spot that everyone said was Florida State’s to lose. More importantly, fans will finally be able to declare that the U is officially back.
Prediction: Miami 45 – Virginia 13, Miami 38 – Pittsburgh 24