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Matchup of the Week: Notre Dame Edition

The Canes are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and will be tested with another road game at former (current?) rival Notre Dame and will look to get over the hump and end October with a win.

Miami v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Another long ‘sigh’....the Canes are coming off of their third consecutive loss to Coastal rival Virginia Tech and fell to 4-3 (1-3 ACC) on the season, essentially knocking themselves out of the Coastal Division race. Miami is a team with loads of potential and good talent, but their depth in key positions has been tested and has been exposed over the past three losses.

With the Canes ailing and trying to regain health, they are set to face a Notre Dame (2-5) team that is honestly mediocre at best - the Irish are 1-2 vs ACC competition. They also have Brian Kelly as their head coach, and we all know how awful of a human being he is.

Catholics vs. Convicts. We know the ordeal. The game is set to kick off at 3:30 on NBC, giving the Canes ANOTHER opportunity to shine for a nationally televised audience. We can pray that they regain a bit of health and add to their depth issues.

Mark Richt vs. Brian Kelly

Kind of an odd pick on my end, but it seems to be extremely relevant at this point in the season. We’re past the halfway point of the 2016 regular season and both teams, Miami and Notre Dame, are underachieving. Albeit, Miami hasn’t quite entered the realm of the Irish. ND has been TRASH and was ranked No. 10 to begin the season, and will need to be lucky to finish the season above .500.

To start, Brian Kelly is awful. Not sure if I can say that enough...Cam can explain to you why because I don’t even like to talk about it. But Kelly consistently blames his players and coaches for their shortcomings on the field and REFUSES to take blame for their losses and inconsistencies. He blamed center Sam Mustipher (HE’S FROM BALTIMORE!!!) for “atrocious snapping in their loss to NC State. You know, the game PLAYED IN THE MIDDLE OF A HURRICANE! Not defending ND’s poor play, but that game should have been postponed. No question. However, Kelly and the offense kept snapping the ball out of the shotgun formation...again, in the middle of a hurricane. Instead of claiming responsibility or saying the gameplay was (clearly) faulty, he blamed his center.

Kelly also got the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from his athletic director, which basically indicates that something is wrong with the direction and play of the program. With Miami coming to town, as well as VT, a Navy team that beat then-No. 6 Houston, and a road contest at USC, ND may not even be able to get to .500. And there is NO way Kelly can player/coach blame his way out of that one. He seems to have lost his players and people are beginning to doubt him and his message. As a coach, there’s really no coming back from that. As lack of trust within a program can grow grow and act like a parasite.

Mark Richt, on the other hand, is in a decent spot. Yes, Miami has played very poorly recently, but Richt is in year one, or even ‘year 0.’ Richt will need a couple seasons to build Miami’s talent and depth, because the Canes desperately need it in many positions.

The reason Richt is in this article is due to the fact that his offense has played like dumpster juice. The Canes were supposed to have a great offense, led by QB Brad Kaaya, and a suspect defense at worst. Halfway through the season, it’s the other way around. Despite losses and big plays given up to UNC, VT and FSU, the defense, for the most part, has kept Miami in these games. VT was an ugly showing in all phases, but Miami’s defense was beat up and depth and inexperience showed last Thursday. It sucked, yes, but it isn’t the end of the world.

Richt and Kaaya will need to get on the same page offensively and turn the team back into a threat anytime they have their hands on the football. Predictably was a major problem with former OC James Coley, but it appears that Kaaya and Richt have fallen victim to it as well. With a bad offensive line, no motion or movement, and pedestrian play calling, Miami’s offense has scored 19, 13, and 16 points in their losses. Even if the VT game happens, all Miami had to do was score 20 points to potentially win these games. Easier said than done, but go back and watch the tape. Miami’s offense has left SO MANY points on the board.

Winning in college football isn’t easy, and winning on the road makes it much more difficult. The Canes will go on the road at Notre Dame and will look to snatch a victory from a falling program desperately looking for answers. Despite injuries, there is much more confidence in the defense than in the offense right now, and that’s telling, considering the defense is the same maligned defense as past seasons.

With Notre Dame being as bad as they are, Miami should win this game. But DO NOT SLEEP ON THE IRISH! They know everyone hates Miami and know that this game is a former rivalry, so they will bring their A-game and try to take it to the Hurricanes. As long as Miami’s offense comes to play in the cold, there should be no problems leaving South Bend with a win.

Canes 27-ND 21