Miami football: Resetting season expectations

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Around the world we hear this saying that may be a bit of a cliché to some but in my eyes has proven to be the perfect way to kick off a story, especially in college football. That saying is “It’s not about how you start, but how you finish.” Yeah sure, the start plays a role in motivating your finish but you ultimately want to end better than you started.

Coming in unranked, this Miami football team has been seated in a few different spots in the college football rankings starting off at No. 17 after beating UAB in its season opener, all the way up to No. 7 before facing Clemson. Oddly enough for the past two weeks, the Miami Hurricanes are sitting at the same No. 11 spot after a win against Virginia, which got me thinking what the future holds for this team in the rankings.

Stating the obvious?

It’s clear we won’t see the Canes crack a top-four spot in the College Football Playoff sitting at #11 and with the Big Ten now kicking off its season, we can kiss Miami’s chances of a national championship this year goodbye. It’s just not going to happen.

Well what’s the upside?

The best chance of Miami getting a chance to compete in the Playoff would’ve been a win against Clemson, and while this team hasn’t shown me championship caliber, it’s possible we may see the Hurricanes in the top 10 at the end of the season. Right now it may seem the odds are stacked against them, but its only up from here.

Miami’s strength of schedule will do them just enough to get into the top 10 but with five games left in the regular season for the Hurricanes (none of which are walks in the park), Miami can still finish strong with its only loss being to Clemson and if so, we may see the Hurricanes in a ACC Championship game. As of now Miami sits third in the ACC standings with Clemson and the conference newcomer Notre Dame, both undefeated teams go head to head this week in what’s going to be a great game that’ll shake some things up in the rankings.

If Miami wins out, it will revisit Clemson in the ACC championship, where it will have another chance to redeem itself and stir some things up in the rankings. Where we go from there is unclear, but 2020 is full of surprises and I’m looking forward to this team really gearing into focus and creep into a promising spot. The tough part about this is even with what I believe is going to be a loss for Notre Dame against Clemson, it will still be the better one-loss team in the conference in the eyes of the committee and vice versa if Clemson loses.

My Prediction

I don’t think any of my scenarios mentioned are a toss up or out of reach. In fact, they’re all very possible. Miami will win out these last five games of the season, but I see Clemson or Notre Dame (whichever wins this weekend) as being looked at as the better one-loss team in the conference, leaving Miami on the outside looking in, a step out of reach of a New Year’s Six Bowl. I project Miami to finish at No. 9 overall.

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