The Miami Hurricanes are going to finish the 2018 season as the state champions in Florida. While the Hurricanes and Gators don’t play, sadly, the ‘Canes and Gators do share the common opponent in Florida State. Head-to-head is obviously the best determinant for success and here are the reasons why Miami is the best of Florida.
If you aren’t excited about this wide receiver corps, stable of running backs, defensive backfield, or linebacker trio- you have no pulse. Then there are guys like Joe Jackson, Gerald Willis III, Brevin Jordan and of course an upgraded Malik 3.0 to be excited about as well. Miami hasn’t recruited perfectly but the ‘Canes staff has done a great job of pulling in strong classes and finally brought a five-star prospect down to Coral Gables.
Even on the worrisome offensive line, Miami has Navaugh Donaldson, Tyree St. Louis, and Tyler Gauthier who are primed for All-ACC caliber seasons in 2018.
The Hurricanes were ranked 8th in the nation on the five-year recruiting rankings per SB Nation’s Bill C , ahead of state rivals FSU and Florida. (Edit: I took sloppy notes, Miami is ranked most improved over the past two-years... sorry dudes).
Miami has done a great job of compiling runners and hitters with backs like Lorenzo Lingard, Deejay Dallas and Travis Homer all being inside runners with size and speed. The linebackers have developed their bodies this off-season heading into the junior campaigns of the Bermuda Triangle 2.0. Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud lead the defense for Miami. Then there’s playmakers like Jaquan Johnson, Michael Jackson and Trajan Bandy who create a no fly zone at Greentree.
Of course fans will stay in the ballpark of cautious optimism until Miami wins the ACC title and has an appearance in the College Football Playoff but the talent is obviously there from an analytical standpoint.
3 The path to the title
The best route to the conference title game in the Power 5 is in Miami’s hands. Virginia Tech is down, Paul Johnson might be searching around on Football Scoop by November and Duke, Virginia and Pitt (don’t at me) don’t have the firepower to beat Miami in 2018. Oh yeah, and UNC is the lowly dud of the ACC Coastal this season.
Miami does have the tough opener against the LSU Tigers but it’s a neutral site game that won’t affect the Hurricanes ACC Championship Game plans at all. The Florida State rivalry matchup is at home this season and Miami is fast tracked to beat FSU once again with staff continuity and a stingy defense.
The biggest issues is back-to-back road trips to Atlanta and Blacksburg to face the Yellow Jackets and Hokies, respectively. The Hokies are ranked 21st per the S&P+ but have lost defensive backs since that release and the Ramblin’ Wreck slide into 53rd in the country based on analytics.
2 Don’t argue with Bill C
The second reason the ‘Canes are primed for a state title run is that the S&P+ says so. Bill C’s pre-season rankings have the Hurricanes sitting at 13th. The rest of Florida is ranked as follows: 17- UCF, 18- FSU, 31- FAU, 32- Florida, 56- USF, and 120- FIU.
Miami is the highest rated Florida team in the AP’s pre-season poll as well sitting at 8th in the country. The Associate Press college football writers see Miami as the top dog by far, with FSU at 19th and UCF 21st. The rest of the Florida schools didn’t crack the first Top 25 rankings of the season.
Bill C of the S&P+ is about as accurate with his analysis as Las Vegas is at picking football games and that’s saying a lot. I use his analytics in any post I write about team previews, rankings, or the valuation of teams as a whole. His analysis of offense, defense, kicking and other factors is quite impressive as well. Take a look at Football Outsiders for more details.
1 Mark Richt
The Hurricanes are the only staff without turnover of the big three, but the UCF Knights also lost their head football coach from the Group of 5 Florida schools. Miami’s staff has already overcome their growing pains and seem primed for another run at the ACC Championship. Richt was the right man for the job when he took over and has brought legitimacy back to the Hurricanes program. His staff has drastically improved the level of attitude, effort and attention brought into football games.
Whether you like it or not- the Turnover Chain has captured the attention of the college football world. What was the baby of Manny Diaz took on a life of its own and is truly what Miami football is about. Mark Richt hired the right men for the program in Diaz, Thomas Brown, Gus Felder, and Ron Dugans and they have worked well together in talent acquisition, development and now need to round out the trio into deployment on Saturday afternoons.
Mark Richt is the number one reason the Miami Hurricanes are state champions in 2018. Coach Richt is a head football coach that Miami fans should be proud to call their leader and he’s done so much in such a short amount of time to make the ‘Canes a national conversation again.