As I’m sure you know by now, the Miami Hurricanes were ranked 10th in the first College Football Playoff rankings of 2017 when they were released on Tuesday night.
Miami Hurricanes ranked 10th in first @CFBPlayoff rankings. PLENTY of work to be done for the #Canes. #TheU https://t.co/uAUnOKsbuh pic.twitter.com/KFIQ2m8iCB— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) October 31, 2017
Despite being one of only 5 undefeated teams along with #1 Georgia, #2 Alabama, #9 Wisconsin and #18 UCF, Miami is looked at poorly by the committee based on close wins throughout the course of the season, including last week’s 5 point win over then 1-7 North Carolina.
The low ranking from the CFP committee sends a clear message to the Canes: “show us something.”
The opportunities for Miami to do that are right around the corner. In the next 2 weeks, #13 Virginia Tech and #3 Notre Dame travel to South Florida to face the Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Wins in those games will give Miami the marquee victories that the committee is openly looking for.
While every game matters (some more than others, if you listened to the CFP and their chairman, former UM Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, about whom I have plenty of bad things to say but I’ll refrain for the time being, explain on Tuesday night), the next 2 games for Miami are incredibly important. Not only will these games affect the W/L record, but they will alter Miami’s CFP ranking, for better or worse.
Many around the UM program have said that if Miami wins out — a huge if — then the Canes will be in the final 4 for the college football playoff.
STORY: Coach: If Miami wins every game, even by 1 point, it's in the playoffs. https://t.co/F8w2Kl6SeA @HeraldSports @CanesFootball pic.twitter.com/wUBtWYD9sZ— Susan Miller Degnan (@smillerdegnan) October 31, 2017
But, to me, the end of the season isn’t when the playoffs will take place.
For Miami, the playoffs start now.
While other teams are debating which loss is better, Miami is undefeated and in complete control of their CFP destiny. Before the season, I said that Miami really had a 3 game season: at FSU, vs VT, and vs ND. Georgia Tech was resurgent this year, so that game had added consequence (GT only had 1 loss before playing Miami), but in large part, I’ve been proven right on that statement.
Having beaten FSU (and GT, and every other team on the schedule to this point), Miami now has a 2 week season: November 4th vs Virginia Tech and November 11th vs Notre Dame. Yes, there are other games on the schedule, but Miami’s next 2 games will determine the ceiling for this season.
With the CFP committee already having a low estimation of Miami, despite an undefeated record, the Canes can ill-afford a loss in either of the next 2 weeks. For Miami, there will be no such thing as “a phenomenal loss”, as analyst Jesse Palmer described ND’s loss to Georgia. Any loss this season, even to #3 Notre Dame, will drop Miami from CFP consideration. I don’t like it, but that’s the fact of the matter.
Just to be clear, we win out and we're in, but we are being judged differently. Several teams got mulligans, we didnt. 1 loss and we gone— Vishnu Parasuraman (@vrp2003) October 31, 2017
So, for the Canes, the playoffs start now. You want to be in the final 4? Win out.
Anything short of an undefeated record and I can guarantee that Miami will be on the outside looking in.
So there’s only one thing left to do:
Let’s make it happen.