As part of the dwindling offseason, SOTU will preview each game on the Canes' schedule. During the season there will be much more in-depth previews the week before each game, but these will serve to get you ready for what is to come. Enjoy!
The 2016 Miami Hurricanes football season will start as many do for Power 5 teams: by playing and FCS school. This year, the Canes schedule gets started with a team who has been the early season matchup several times in recent years, when the Florida A&M Rattler visit a renovated (?) Sun Life Stadium on September 3rd.
Once a pillar of HBCU football, FAMU has fallen on hard times recently.
The Rattlers have not appeared in the FCS playoffs since 2001, and that streak probably will not be broken in 2016. Coming off a 1-10 season in 2015, the Rattlers are simply trying to become a mediocre team in the 2016 season.
Now, to be fair, the Rattlers played several close games in 2015, losing to Tennessee St 24-14, Savannah State 37-27, North Carolina Central 27-24, and Morgan State 21-7. The above listed team are okay to poor at the FCS level, and FAMU played them close but couldn't win.
Maybe the Rattlers start winning a few of those games in this and future years, but they're quite a way away from being the kind of team who can compete with Miami for more than maybe a quarter.
Miami and Florida A&M have played 10 times, with UM taking nine of the 10. FAMU's lone victory came in the team's first meeting back in 1979. Since then Miami has separated itself - scoring at least 38 points in their wins.
The last time these teams played in 2014, Brad Kaaya was making only his 2nd collegiate start. The Canes won handily, running up a 41-7 victory. Here are some highlights from that game:
Miami is moving to a pro-style offense featuring multiple running backs, and one of the best QBs in America, Brad Kaaya, throwing to a variety of receiving options. Florida A&M plays a multiple defense, but lack size to contend with Miami.
Florida A&M runs a spread based offense. Miami is transitioning to an attacking 4-3 defense, and has and advantage of both size and speed over FAMU's offense.
I've said this before: this game is more about the Jerry's and Joe's than it is about the X's and O's. Miami is by far the better and more talented team, and I fully expect that to be reflected in a lopsided scoreline by game's end.
Players to watch
QB Carson Royal. Leading returning passer out of 4 who saw time in 2015. Pro sytle QB.
QB Kenneth Coleman. Split time with Royal a year ago, figures to do the same this year. Dual threat QB used in read-option game more than passing.
RB Gerald Hurns. Leading returning rusher had 177 yards as a freshman.
DB Jacques Bryant. Leading returning tackler for the Rattler defense.