The season is just over a month away for the Hurricanes, as Manny Diaz dials in for his first season as head coach for Miami. I thought I'd give my predictions for the 2019 season, and tell you guys what I think is going to happen for the Canes this year.
- Miami wins the Coastal Division and at least 10 games.
First and foremost, I think the Hurricanes are going to improve vastly in 2019, which will ultimately lead to wins and their second Coastal division title. I believe this team is far too talented and well coached to not win 10 games throughout the season. Yes, the Florida game will be tough, and I'm not giving a prediction for that game, but after UF, Miami’s schedule is very manageable. Whether they get to double-digit wins in the regular season or after, they’re reaching 10 victories for just the second time since 2003.
2. Miami will go undefeated at home in 2019.
One loss at Hard Rock Stadium in the previous two seasons is something to be happy about for Miami, and we’re going to see that home-cookin continued in 2019. This year, the most difficult stretch at home is playing Virginia Tech and then Virginia the following Friday. While I think those games will be closer than people think, I'm still very confident that the Hurricanes will go a perfect 6-0 at HRS in 2019.
3. Miami defeats FSU for the third straight season.
Even though for some reason the Hurricanes are underdogs to the Seminoles for their November 2nd matchup, don’t kid yourself, Miami is a better football team than their rivals in Tallahassee. FSU’s offensive line is atrocious, and their program just looks a circus from the outside. Now obviously, November is a long ways away and much can happen, but I’m very confident that the Hurricanes can beat the Noles by more than 10-points, defeating FSU for the third straight season.
4. For the second straight year, Miami will have a top-10 defense.
Last season, the Hurricanes were lights-out on the defensive side of the ball, ranking fourth in the country in total defense. Though they’ve lost Gerald Willis, Joe Jackson, and three starters from the secondary, don’t expect the production to go down at all. Jonathan Garvin, Shaquille Quarterman, Trajan Bandy, this defense is still stacked to the brim. With a loaded defensive-line, Miami will improve against the run and total more sacks. While the secondary is an issue, you have to be confident with the progression of guys like Gurvan Hall and DJ Ivey, and I see them developing quickly.
5. Tate Martell will start at QB against Florida week-one.
I’m very back and forth on this decision, and who knows, I may change my mind after publishing this article. Though at this moment, I believe Tate Martell will be named the starter against the Gators. The transfer from Ohio State has had a solid summer from what we’ve seen, and I believe his momentum from these past few months is going to carry into fall camp, where Martell will edge out N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams. Will he remain the starter for the entirety of the season? Not sure, but my bet is that he’s under-center in Orlando against UF.
6. Jonathan Garvin has at least 10 sacks.
In my opinion, Garvin is top-three overall players that the Hurricanes have in 2019. The junior defensive end took a huge step in 2018, and is on the Bednarik Award watch list for this upcoming season. New defensive coordinator Blake Baker has been able to develop DE’s, and Garvin is next. #97 finished 2018 with 5.5 sacks, and I’m calling it right now that we’ll see him reach double-digits in 2019.
7. Brevin Jordan will lead the team in receiving touchdowns.
I'm a huge Brevin Jordan fan, and for so many reasons. I truly believe that he’s one of the top three or five tight-ends in the country, and 2019 we’ll really see it. Dan Enos loves to use his TE’s, and you better believe that Jordan will be a huge target for Miami’s offense. Especially in the red-zone, look closely for #9.
8. Miami’s offense will improve tremendously, averaging over 30 points per game.
This is the one thing that fans are dying, almost praying daily to see happen for the Hurricanes. Under new OC Dan Enos, I fully expect to see Miami’s offense light up the scoreboards throughout the year. It may take a few weeks, but once the Hurricanes players get the full-feel of Enos’ offense, we’ll see points being scored for Miami like we haven’t seen in over 15 years. Enos realizes the playmakers he has on offense, such as Jeff Thomas, DeeJay Dallas, Mark Pope, and he’ll put the ball in their hands.
9. DJ Ivey leads the team in interceptions.
The sophomore cornerback is one of my players I expect to breakout for the Hurricanes in 2019. He has a ton of potential, and I believe Ivey will start week-one opposite side of Trajan Bandy, and hold that spot for the remainder of the year. Since opposing teams will try and not throw Bandy’s way, that’ll give Ivey a lot of opportunities to make plays, which I think he will, and ultimately lead Miami in interceptions.
10. Miami drops one ACC road game.
Save the bad news for last. At the beginning of this prediction list, I went off about how easy and doable Miami’s schedule is this season, but that doesn’t mean I think they’ll go through it without a scratch or two. The Hurricanes, since the mid-2000’s, have always had at least one hiccup against teams they should’ve easily beat. Whether it was at Pitt in 2017, Virginia last year, and so many others, there’s been one team that creeps up on the Canes. Unfortunately, I do see Miami falling on the road at some point in 2019. Maybe it’s at Pitt again, at UNC, or heaven-forbid at Tallahassee, I think UM drops one road game.