After a 2-2 start, there are definitely mixed emotions about the Hurricanes going forward as far as the 2019 season goes. Manny Diaz and his team had much hype throughout the offseason, but after losing their first two games and a bad performance against Central Michigan, expectations from fans are not as high as they were a month ago.
Thankfully for Diaz and the Canes, this Saturday they remain at Hard Rock Stadium as ACC Coastal rivals, the Virginia Tech Hokies come to town, with Miami desperately needing a strong performance.
Manny Diaz: "We probably had our best practice of the year yesterday."— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) September 30, 2019
Saturday doesn’t simply present another gameday for the Hurricanes, but a chance for them to get back on track for the year and instill some confidence not just in the fan base, but in themselves.
Sitting only four games into the season, Miami’s main goal of winning the Coastal division, is still very much there for the taking. Though their ACC record is 0-1, they’ve only played one conference game thus far, with matchups with UVA, Pitt, Duke and FSU still on the schedule.
Prior to the season starting, I wasn’t expecting a national championship or anything like that in coach Diaz’s first year, but I was definitely predicting 9 or 10 wins in the regular season and winning the Costal. Heck, even the famous Phil Steele predicted Miami to be his second surprise team in the country and win the Coastal.
Phil Steele’s 2019 surprise teams:— CFB Hype (@CFB_Hype) July 9, 2019
4. Iowa State
9. Virginia Tech
10. Stanford pic.twitter.com/xFU0qUAlV2
Yes, I'm not as confident in my prediction anymore, but Saturday can change that. Virginia Tech is coming off a 45-10 home loss to Duke, so they’re reeling. Even though the Hokies come into the game with a 2-2 record like Miami, the Hurricanes always get up whenever they play Va Tech. A once fierce rivalry in the early to mid 2000’s, the Canes understand the hatred between both teams.
Miami has an opportunity to go out there and beat the tar out of the Hokies, get their swagger back and realize that their season is far from over. If they’re able to do that, how much will their confidence raise for when the #23 Virginia Cavaliers come to Hard Rock the following Friday?
While their game against CMU wasn’t fun to watch at all, let me bring up the 2017 season. In week six of that year, #8 Miami went to Chapel Hill to play the lowly 1-7 Tar Heels, and everyone was expecting a blowout victory for the Canes. Well, it was just the opposite, UM struggled all game, and barely survived with a 24-19 win.
With a lot more doubters now, Miami returned home the following week to host #13 Virginia Tech. Feeling that chip on their shoulder and having that extra motivation, they took of business, 28-10. The next week was a 41-8 win over #3 Notre Dame, and then a 44-28 victory over Virginia.
Now I'm not saying that this is exactly the same situation, but perhaps after that 17-12 win against Central Michigan, with everyone doubting them, perhaps the Canes can take that fire and rattle off these next three games at home. I’ve said it many times, all it takes is one game for a team to get their swagger back.
However, if Miami is trying to get their season turned around, it must start on Saturday with a big game against the Hokies. If they lose, that’ll put them in a very bad situation at 2-3, and that UVA team will look a whole lot better if you lose to Va Tech. You can’t be in an 0-2 position in the ACC, with recruits expecting to see results, you have to save the season, and it starts Saturday.