The Hurricanes played a gauntlet of a schedule in 2012, there's no two way around it. They opened with an in-conference road game, and from there only had to travel to play Notre Dame and Kansas State, not to mention the normally tough ACC games like FSU and VT. They made it through with a winning record, which is something that almost no one thought would happen, and they only look to build on that success in 2013.
This year's ACC schedule has been released (full schedule to be released in early February), and it bodes VERY well for a more experienced Hurricanes football team:
The bottom two teams are separated because those are what the conference has termed as the primary and rotating crossover. Basically, the primary crossover is a permanent opponent from the opposite division. The rotation crossover will change each year. It's a no brainer that Miami's permanent cross over is FSU. The ACC would be stupid to eliminate that game completely, or to make it a rotating match up. Rivalry intact. As far as the rotating crossover opponent, Miami draws Wake Forest, who I am not fully convinced actually played football in 2012.
Outside of those two, the conference schedule looks to be pretty much par for the course, with Pitt thrown in as a surprise. When Pitt and Syracuse were added to the conference, more than a few people thought that they would be a middling sort of addition, teams that would play well but wouldn't really challenge much. Well, that was before Cuse went bowling, and Pitt took Notre Dame to three overtimes or whatever it was. These teams are good additions, especially with other, standard ACC teams a bit down.
Duke and UNC are again on the schedule, and look to be tough games yet again. Duke is on the rise, although will be without Connor Vernon, and UNC is still UNC, although Giovanni Bernard is gone. Georgia Tech is always a fun game, although they just hired Ted Roof to run their defense, which just give Paul Johnson another year of having a scapegoat for the team's failures. Virginia and Virginia Tech wrap up the schedule, and look to be tough games. Virginia maybe the lesser of the two, with their coaching turnover and players leaving the team. Tech returns a lot of defense with Exum and Gayle returning, although if they still have Logan Thomas at quarterback, I like our chances.
Now, let's break down where these games will be played, because that is crucial in figuring out what type of year Miami will have. According to HurricaneSports.com, Miami will host GT, Virginia, VT, and Wake Forest at Sun Life. The road conference games will be Duke (again), North Carolina, Pitt, and FSU. Those road games are tough, but with a veteran team should be doable. Virginia Tech has to come to Miami for the second time in a row, which will hopefully be as fun as it was last time.
As far as the non-conference games, Miami looks to play Florida Atlantic, Florida, Savannah State, and USF. The first thing you'll notice is that Bethune-Cookman is no longer on the schedule, and that it's now FAU's turn to experience the Canes. Savannah State apparently wants to make the rotation of FSU to Miami, which is fine. The USF game is again on the schedule, and hopefully will be renewed going forward, as it's becoming sort of a cult rivalry game. The big fish on the OOC schedule this year is Florida. The Canes and Gators will meet in Sun Life for the final time for likely a long, long time, since the Gator's AD has a natural aversion to tough out of conference games. That game and the FSU game are already circled on this schedule, and will be gigantic match ups.
Here's a recap:
MIAMI'S 2013 NON-CONFERENCE FOOTBALL OPPONENTS
MIAMI’S 2013 ACC FOOTBALL OPPONENTS
at North Carolina
at Florida State (primary crossover)
Wake Forest (rotating crossover)
*all home games played at Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
For more info on how this new ACC crossover thing works, you can read the HurricaneSports post HERE, or visit the ACC's version HERE.
What do you think about this year's schedule?