No doubt about it, this 2019 offseason has been filled with incredible moments that have rejuvenated the University of Miami football program. If you were to look around the Canes and see the kind of moves they’ve made, the progress they showed during spring practice, you would’ve never thought that this team went 7-6 just a few months ago.
Now, even with all of the great things that Manny Diaz has been able to do since the new year with this team, there’s still a fine line when it comes to managing expectations for the 2019 season. Does this team have the talent to be an 11 or even 12-win team? Absolutely. And if you don't think so, then go look at our roster again, because the players are there.
However, there’s been a lot of talk recently about what we should expect this year from our beloved Hurricanes. While you’ll always have a few negative people out there, predicting another seven win season for Miami, there’s also a large amount of fans that believe the Canes are primed for a dream year in 2019 and to possibly go undefeated.
I’m looking around on Twitter and I'm seeing expectations set at a 12-win season, and honestly it’s pretty amazing. Diaz is walking into a much different situation then say Dennis Erickson or Larry Coker. Both those coaches were hired and when they entered the HC position, they took over a team who was contending for a National Championship the year prior to their hiring. And while I said that this team has loads of talent, because they do, they still lost to Duke at home, at Boston College, and at Virginia last season.
Two games. Chill out. Remember Nick Saban was 6-6 his first year at bama. Kirk Ferentz won 4 games his first two years at Iowa. Hell is arising.— Old Husker dude (@KumarxKnot) September 16, 2018
Now before you start accusing me as a negative fan, know this. I know this team, I know this team very well actually. I also understand that changing a culture takes more than one year in most cases. I can handle the fact that if Miami doesn’t go 12-2 this year, I won't be pushing the panic button. Nick Saban went 7-6 his first year at Alabama, Jim Tressel went 7-5 his first year at Ohio State. Heck, Dabo Swinney went 6-7 even in his third year at Clemson.
Drawing conclusions about a coach’s destiny after a half of a season is hilarious. Nick Saban lost to UL-Monroe his first year at Bama. Can there be red flags? Certainly. But don’t jump to conclusions. Frost is still the guy for the job. Give him time. https://t.co/WbeCHqKDIJ— Michael Dugan (@m_dugan44) October 14, 2018
Let’s take Miami’s opening game against Florida for instance. Yes, I know that the Gators have only beaten the Canes once in the past 30 years, but guys, please don't let that be the reason you think UM is going to win on August 24th. Do I think that Miami can win this game? Absolutely! I wouldn’t be planning on flying cross country for it if I didn’t think so. That being said, people are acting like this Gators team won three games last year. I absolutely understand being confident in the Canes, but let’s be smart about this. Same goes for when UM heads up to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles. There’s people talking about how that game is going to be a cakewalk, even though Miami hasn’t beat FSU by more than four points in 12 years.
Another point, let us remember how new this coaching staff is. Diaz is a first time HC, with an entirely new offensive staff, as well as a new defensive coordinator and DL coach. I mean come on, there’s a reason why only three first year head coaches since 1936 have won a National Championship. Also don’t forget that the Canes play three out of their last five regular season games away from the city of Miami and on the road (FIU doesn’t count).
So what I'm saying is this: it’s ok if Miami isn’t in the College Football Playoff in 2019. And if the Canes lose 23-20 against the Gators, don't be ready to fly the banners. I’ve said it many times and I'll continue to say it for the next several months: my realistic expectations for Miami this year is to win 10 games at the most, capture the Coastal Division, and book a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship. I believe that is very likely and extremely doable. And let me also add this, while I don’t believe we’ll be seeing the Canes line up against Alabama or Ohio State in the Playoff this year, I do believe that Manny Diaz is the right man for the job, and this is an honest and realistic man talking. So in closing, what I'm basically saying is this, there’s a process, and we just need to trust it.