It’s nearly November, and the Miami Hurricanes are undefeated. At 7-0, the Canes weathered a literal Hurricane, had a game canceled (robbing the Canes of an easy win vs Arkansas State but whatever), and dispatched all 7 teams who have challenged them this season.
With November around the corner, the first installment of College Football Playoff rankings are set to be debuted on Tuesday evening. With only 5 undefeated teams, and several 1-loss teams with LOSSES ON THEIR RECORD, but maybe bigger “wins” also on their record, that leaves me asking a relevant question:
Should the Miami Hurricanes be ranked in the first CFP rankings?
Before I get to my answer, let’s talk some numbers, both positive and negative.
- 7 wins, no losses
- one of 5 undefeated teams (Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin, and UCF being the other 4)
- Current 12 game win streak (dating to last year) is longest in Nation
- 8.86 TFL/game (3rd nationally)
- 3.57 sack/game (4th nationally)
- +10 turnover margin / +1.43 TO margin/game (7th and tied for 6th nationally, respectively)
- Allowing only 18.7 points/game (#20 nationally)
- Scoring 32.0 points/game (43rd nationally, but imagine if Miami scored TDs to end drives not FGs! That would skyrocket)
- 92.59% Red Zone drives end with points (13th nationally)
- 465.6 yards per game on offense (24th nationally)
- 6.75 yards per play (14th nationally)
- 4.73 yards per play allowed (18th nationally)
- 97.90 opponent passer rating allowed (3rd nationally)
- No “marquee” win yet (FSU is trash, nobody talks about 7-1 Toledo, who Miami blew out, blowing everybody out, Duke was “on a new level” until Miami blew them out now they suck, and that counts against Miami)
- Allowing 39.37% 3rd down conversions (72nd nationally)
- Converting 30.68% 3rd downs (119th out of 130 nationally)
- Only 51.59% TD rate on RZ trips (101st nationally)
- 11 RZ trips end with FG (tied for 7th most nationally)
- 40.74% FG rate on RZ trips (7th most nationally)
- 179.71 yards rushing allowed per game (83rd nationally)
- The optics of narrow wins in each of the last 4 weeks (last play win at FSU, close win vs GT, close win vs Syracuse, close win at North Carolina)
Miami is undefeated, and there are only 4 other teams who can say that. No, it hasn’t been perfect. Yes, there’s room for improvement. But, in the end, Miami got Wins when other teams would have and DID lose.
Now, for the CFP rankings, people are not sold on Miami. While Wisconsin has played a similarly bad slate of teams as Miami, the Badgers had a higher preseason ranking, so they’re 5th while Miami is undefeated and 9th in the AP poll (but 6th in the Coaches poll, to be fair).
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: if there was any other name on the front of the jersey, then close wins would be “championship mettle” and “a great display of perseverance”. But, for Miami, it’s “they’re not good” or “they’re frauds” (that one was Dan Wolken) or similar. While that narrative — Miami being lucky and bad, not tough and finding ways to win — is being trumpeted by journalists and fans around the CFB world, I think that that will cross over into the CFP rankings on Tuesday.
SHOULD Miami be ranked in the CFP rankings tomorrow? Yes. Absolutely. Undefeated is undefeated and you can take your narrative and shove it.
But, that’s not how things work, and people are still looking at Miami as though this is an Al Golden outfit, and unless/until the Canes win big games (this week vs Virginia Tech and/or next week vs Notre Dame), the voters and pollsters will continue to overlook Miami.
So, after all of that, what’s my prediction?
Miami will be 2nd-3rd in the “next 4” on the CFP rankings, constituting a ranking of 8th or 9th. I don’t like it, but that’s how I see it.
You will have thoughts and feelings about this, so vote in the poll and hop in the comments. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow.
Where will the Canes be ranked in the first CFP Playoff Rankings of 2017?
This poll is closed
Next 4 out
The CFP committee will obviously make their choices known on Tuesday evening, and this is speculation. But, after some thought, here’s what I predict the CFP Playoff Rankings look like when released tomorrow:
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Clemson Tigers
- Wisconsin Badgers
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know.