With Spring Football now in the rearview mirror, outlets around the country are releasing/have released their “way too early” top 25 polls. While there is no direct correlation to early poll placement and season success, it’s always better to be ranked higher than lower.
For the Miami Hurricanes, it seems that expectations for the 2018 are sky high. SBNation compiled a consensus top 25 poll using the rankings from multiple outlets this spring. In this compilation poll, the Miami Hurricanes are ranked 8th in the country.
Here’s the top 10:
- Ohio State
- MIAMI HURRICANES
- Penn State
To my eye, a couple things stand out from this:
- Miami is favored — heavily — to repeat as ACC Coastal Division Champions.
- Miami’s schedule sets up very favorably with games against ranked teams throughout the season (#17 LSU in the opener September 2nd in Arlington, TX, #18 Florida State at home in October, #15 Virginia Tech on the road in November) to give Miami multiple marquee wins....if they win.
- Clemson is still the top dog in the ACC by a wide margin (which, I mean, yeah)
A compilation ranking of 8th for the Canes is good and it brings up a logical follow-up question: What are the expectations for Miami Football in 2018?
Coming off the program’s first 10-win season in more than a decade, returning several key players on both sides of the ball, and with a favorable schedule, the Canes seem primed for a big year this year.
But what does that mean, exactly? 10 wins and a NY6 or Tier 1 Bowl? 9 wins and the ACC Coastal Championship? 8 wins including another W over Florida State (but admittedly a couple probably-bad losses along the way)?
A top 10 compilation ranking probably points to another double digit win season. Miami will probably be favored in every game this season, or every game but one. So, as long as the matchups on paper play out the way they should in real life, things should be good for the guys in Orange and Green.
But....what if things go wrong? What if inconsistent QB play costs Miami another game they shouldn’t lose a la the Pitt game last season? What if injuries play as big a role this year as they did last year, when the Canes lost their top RB, WR, and TE during the season?
Miami is in a good, but not great place, with a talented roster that still has some flaws. The depth isn’t where it needs to be yet, thanks to some attrition and early NFL Draft defections. Also, there is a clear need for improvement/upgrade at the QB position, which I wrote about previously (and still stand by every word, in case you were wondering). Even with that being the case, Miami will be as talented as, if not more talented than, every team they play in the regular season this year. And, that’s a good thing.
So, as far as expectations go, I think 10 wins is fair. But, assuming a berth in the ACC Championship Game and a bowl game (likely a premium bowl game if that first part happens), that means 3 or 4 losses on the year as well.
If Miami were to go, say, 10-4 with wins over LSU, FSU, and VT, with non-blowout losses to end the season (which wasn’t the case last year), finishing 2018 ranked in the top 10 is feasible. And that’s fine. But it’s not championship caliber, that’s for sure.
I expect to beat LSU to open the year.
I expect to beat FSU in October.
I expect to win the ACC Coastal Division.
I expect to win 10 games this year.
But I’m not sure that, at this point, Canes fans can, or should, expect more than that.
What are your expectations (not hopes, EXPECTATIONS) for Canes Football in 2018?
This poll is closed
1 Loss and/or CFB playoff spot and/or ACC Championship
ACC Costal Championship (regardless of losses)
3 losses/No Coastal Championship
Agree with me? Disagree? Have some other thought to share? Hop in the comments and let’s talk!