On Saturday the Miami Hurricanes defeated the Florida State Seminoles 27-10 for their third consecutive victory over their rival after losing seven in a row between 2010-2016.
It was a massive win for the program when you factor in recruiting implications and having Manny Diaz become the first Hurricanes coach to defeat Florida State in their first matchup since Randy Shannon did it in 2007.
So, what does that mean for Miami moving forward? Is a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game still in the cards despite suffering three conference losses?
The odds are heavily against the Canes, but that might be okay — this year.
Short thread on the ACC Coastal for those interested. But the summary is that it's basically impossible for us to win the Coastal. (1/8)— Vishnu Parasuraman (@vrp2003) November 3, 2019
But despite likely missing out on the teams highest realistically achievable goal for the 2019 season, this Miami team has the opportunity to finish the season as one of the nations hottest, most improved teams.
North Carolina’s 4th and 17, Jarren Williams’ worst quarter of his football career against Virginia Tech and missed field goals and a putrid fake punt coverage against Georgia Tech are just a few plays keeping the Hurricanes from being on an eight game winning streak.
I know that’s not what people want to hear and excuses are lame, but quite frankly the margin of 5-4 and 8-1 (potentially 9-0) lies in the paragraph above me. This is a football team that has had its fair share of struggles and other things certainly factored into the results of said losses — no doubt.
However, in the big picture of things, Miami has not only a first year head coach but a man in Manny Diaz who has NEVER been a head coach in his entire football career.
Yet, his team has allowed just two combined offensive touchdowns in their last four games and Diaz defeated Miami’s fiercest rival by 17 points on the road, the Hurricanes largest margin of victory since their last national championship in 2001.
He identified an athletic recruit from a small 2A school in Hialeah by the name of Greg Rousseau and he and his staff has developed him into a freakish pass rusher that is tied for the nations lead in solo sacks.
He hired an offensive coordinator in Dan Enos that has developed not one, but two quarterbacks that have helped Miami win games in 2019. Another full year for N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams his system could have them both in line for a meteoric rise in 2020.
And the idea of expanding and growing an offense throughout their second spring rather than installing and learning a new one is something to consider when projecting for this teams second year together.
The right people are in place for Miami to have a successful run and how Miami finishes in these last three games will have a major impact moving forward.
Miami’s last three are very winnable games — Louisville, FIU and Duke, who have a combined record of 14-11.
Louisville is a Saturday home game at 3:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium and then the Hurricanes will have a bye before taking on cross-town rival FIU at 7:00 p.m. at Marlins Park.
Then Miami has to travel one last time to take on Duke, who beat Miami last year.
Finishing the season on a five game winning streak would likely send Miami to a better bowl than many expected earlier in the year for an opportunity to get their second bowl win since 2008.
With the early signing period being in December, a strong finish to the season tells recruits that Miami is going to be a problem in 2020 and beyond under Diaz, who would have proved that he knows how to overcome adversity and, more importantly, win with this program.
So, no, not all is lost by missing out on an opportunity to take on Clemson in Charlotte this year. Improving weekly and finishing the year as a team that consistently finds ways to win is much more important to the future of this program.