Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the season of change in Coral Gables. Yes, it’s going from the dog days of summer to the cool, crisp afternoons of fall but there’s something else brewing at the University of Miami. The big question is if the Miami Hurricanes will break through in the 2015-2016 football season and become a dominant force once again. For Al Golden and his staff, they’re hoping the answer is a resounding yes. They’re hoping that by visiting other collegiate and professional coaching staffs over the last offseason and tweaking their own ranks has paid off. They’re hoping that even though they lost a tremendous amount of NFL talent from last season’s squad they’re better than ever with more of a team focus and less on individual accomplishments.
Now, what’s truly going to be fun about this season (if you look at it like that) is that there will be a finalization to it, a "finality" if you will. If the Canes are successful next season and everything goes right, get ready for a long string of success. Why is that? Because the recruits rolling in and the players in the program that are being developed are probably some of the best this team has had in 10-15 years. However, if Golden can’t post the much desired victories this fan base craves then he’ll be relinquished of his duties. See guys, those are the two paths here. Finality.
With that said and the two paths paved, it’s time to give my prognostication for the season. As many of my fellow State of The U writers know, I’m usually pessimistic and sometimes borderline trolling when it comes to the Canes. I grew up with the Canes of the early 2,000s to now so, to be honest, I’m really only used to seeing the squad playing down to competition, not showing up for games all together or playing well for a half and then collapsing. It happens and I’m used to it, unfortunately.
Heading into this season I’ll be honest, I’m not buying the shtick. I don’t care about the unity or whatever they’re preaching out at the Schwartz Center. I care about football players making plays and the coaches putting them in a position to make them. I care about the team having a mentality of "we’re not scared of you, you circle US on your calendar, not the other way around." The hunter must become the hunted and you must be able to accept that role to be truly dominant.
Sorry to get off on my tangent.. I guess the point I’m trying to make is... When breaking down this team and the talent, I’m not looking for the whole "rahh rahh concept" but rather "do we have a better team?" and "will they play better than the others during this contest?"
SoooOOOoo with that said I’ll go down each game, make a comment per game and the we’ll tally up the win totals and I’ll break it down afterwards..
BETHUNE-COOKMAN – Win. We’ll see lots of Malik Rosier and Gray Crow (looking at you, Dorseyitis).
@FAU – Win. I will say though, this game kind of scares me because FAU will play this all out and this is a possible sleep walk game for Miami.
NEBRASKA – Win. I think Nebraska may have better personnel than Miami, haven’t really researched their team but the main reason I go UM is simple: Nebraska has a new coaching staff. What compounds the issue? Mike Riley is used to running a west coast passing attack. Nebraska is used to a ground a pound style, as I’m sure we all remember last season…
@CINCINNATI – Win. This game scares me more than the FAU game when it comes to the "let down-ometer" but I’ll go Miami. Unless something happened drastically over the offseason with the Bearcat defense, I still expect them to be atrocious in the open field allowing Joe Yearby and Stacy Coley to run free.
@FSU – Win. Alright, now you all are going to call me a homer, right? I picked Miami against the Noles.. ohhh buddy.. Two reasons for this. First, the Noles will be breaking in almost as many new players as the Canes when it comes to those who left for the NFL Draft/graduation. The difference is Miami has the QB position set as well as skill positions to boot. FSU had only one wide receiver last year, Rashad Greene and he is gone as well as of course with Mr. Jameis Winston to the NFL so I very much see this season as a "reloading" season for FSU. Second, the Canes will have been tested by a slightly competitive FAU team, a good Nebraska squad and a potentially explosive Cincinnati offense. FSU will have played Texas State, USF, Wake and Boston College. Edge in 2015 gameday experience goes to Miami and that’s my selection.
VT – Win. Sorry, almost as much as the Cane’s unity shtick, I’m not buying the offense being better from the Hokies. Beamer again goes 7-5 or 6-6 and the Blacksburg faithful will start to openly question his tenure moving forward.
Clemson – Loss. For me this comes down to the Miami secondary versus the Clemson wide receivers and I don’t see Miami keeping up. This could be a shootout but Clemson pulling away in the 4th.
@Duke – Loss. This is what Miami does. They lose to better coached teams. After coming off a heartbreaking loss the letdown will be felt even further throughout the lockeroom leading up to the probable noon kick off time.
UVA – Win. I refuse to believe the traveling circus Mike London brings to town this season will beat the Canes in Miami. They’ll right the ship and London will probably be getting his resume ready for other programs afterwards...
@UNC – Win. This game is cringe worthy like the Cincinnati contest due to UNC having a tremendously potent offense but a swiss cheese defense. Even with Gene Chizik, I don’t believe the defense makes tremendous slides. Hell, even if they do show improvements, they could still be terrible.
GEORGIA TECH – Loss. This game was a tough one for me to pick. Golden is 4-1 against Georgia Tech, last year being the sole loss. However, if Justin Thomas and the rushing game come rolling into Miami with the confidence they had after the big bowl game victory to cap off last season, Miami probably gets beaten down and run over.
@PITT – Win. This game is also another one that scares me, primarily because of the weather. Yea, the Canes have played off that they’re better in the elements the last few years than they historically have been (remember the Champs Bowl in ’09?) but last year’s flubbing at UVA still resonates with me. With that said, I still go Miami because of the new coaching staff at PITT.
So that’s what I got, 9-3, not too bad of a year. Is that what Canes fans will accept? That’s up for debate. However, to me anyways, I think that’s enough for Golden to keep his job at least for one more season. 9-3 this day in age isn’t too bad and they’ll get a solid bowl game. Yes, we want Miami to be the perennial 9, 10 or 11 win team every year but you have to start somewhere. I think, assuming the above happens, the Canes can be on their way to that. With the talent running through the program from the local high school ranks and one more year of Brad Kaaya after this season I have hope.