In 2016 -- a season which contained a 4-game losing streak, Miami played and dominated West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl -- the Mountaineers were ranked 16th at the time. After defeating West Virginia, Miami went on to win 10 more games in a row; climbing as high as number 2 in the national rankings, and reaching the ACC Championship game for the first time in school history.
The 2017 campaign was a mostly-positive one -- far from what 2018 has been for ‘Cane fans.
Miami has returned to their winning ways in recent weeks, beating Virginia Tech on the road and Pitt at home, and now carries some momentum heading into bowl season -- similar to 2016. Given how streaky Mark Richt’s ‘Canes are, they might be due for another double-digit win streak. That streakiness plays a factor in why beating a ranked team in a bowl game would be so beneficial for Miami’s program.
As of now, it’s likely that Miami will end up in the Independence, Gator, or Music City Bowl -- all of which in Miami could face an SEC opponent. According to some analysts, the possible SEC teams include South Carolina, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Mississippi State. From this group, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Mississippi State stand as the ranked teams and would offer the toughest test based on their performances this season.
Having the chance to play a ranked opponent would put Miami in the spotlight, giving Seniors a chance to shine against a non-conference opponent. The stage would serve the ‘Canes, as with a tougher matchup, the ceiling for success climbs higher.
A bowl game against a ranked team could also go poorly of course, as Miami hasn’t performed adequately in primetime this season. A contest against a weaker opponent would still help the ‘Canes, but it wouldn’t give them the same morale as beating a ranked team would. Regardless, 8-5 looks and would feel better than 7-6, despite just one win separating the two records.
Who Will Miami Face in Their Bowl Game?
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