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Goal Doesn't Change For Miami, Win The Coastal Division

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The Canes are backed up against the wall, but a division title is still a very real possibility.

Miami v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Prior to the 2018 season for the Hurricanes, the simple goal for Mark Richt and his team was to repeat as ACC Coastal Division champs. Now at 5-2, even after a horrendous loss to Virginia, that goal remains the same.

Though, that loss on Saturday is going to make it a hell of a lot harder to do so.

The Hurricanes don’t quite 100% control their own destiny, but they have five very winnable games remaining on the season, three of those on the road. If the Canes can win all of them, there is a very good chance that the division is there’s again.

Why am I saying that? Because Virginia, who sits at 2-1 in conference play but obviously has the tiebreaker over Miami, still has to play Duke and Virginia Tech on the road.

Now, the Canes have to do there part, win out, and here’s why I think they’ll be able to do that.

  1. Their defense. Miami has the number-one overall defense in the country, yes you read that right. Manny Diaz’s unit is going to keep the Hurricanes in every game, that’s how good they really are. Miami’s offense played dreadful all game against Virginia, and was only it because the Canes forced three turnovers and allowed only 231 yards of Cavaliers offense. Four of the five teams remaining on Miami’s schedule average over 30 points a game, so we’re going to need the defense more than ever.

2. Winnable remaining schedule. I’m very hesitant saying this, but honestly its true. Boston College’s running-back AJ Dillon has missed two straight games. Duke is at home, which is almost a guaranteed win for Miami. Georgia Tech has looked dreadful at times. Virginia Tech is a team that beat UNC by three points and lost to Old Dominion, though Blacksburg will be very tough. Pitt is at home, again, almost guaranteed win for Miami. I mean, there is a reason why the Canes were favored in every regular season game in the pre season.

That’s right, I only have two very solid reasons right now. I so desperately wanted to put the Miami running game on there, but frankly, it’s disappeared the last two games. And don't even get me, or anyone else started on the quarterback situation.

For the Hurricanes to repeat as ACC Coastal champions, we must see more from the offense. 13 points against a 3-2 Virginia team is almost never going to win you games, and its certainly going to knock you out of the top 25. The Hurricanes haven’t reached 30 points on offense in any of the its last seven games against Power 5 conference teams.

In their last two games, the Hurricanes offense has managed just 13 first-half points, scoring just one touchdown. Something has to happen, whether its N’Kosi Perry or Malik Rosier under center.

That being said, this is why Richt is here. I know I'm going to get backlash from that, but he’s at Miami for this kind of situation. Maybe I'm just too optimistic and a Canes homer, but the Canes honestly have too much talent on both sides of the ball to not win the division again.

With nine wins his first season, 10 wins and a division championship his second year, coach Richt cannot afford to take a step back, especially with Miami looking to land a top recruiting-class. It’s now a five game season for the Canes, and all the Hurricanes worked for in the off-season is either going to shine or falter.