After beating Florida State, which is the number-one objective as a Miami Hurricane (just ask Mike Rumph), UM’s second goal is to win the ACC Coastal division title. Though they’ve been apart of the ACC since 2004, the Canes have captured only one division championship, which was in 2017. Last year was supposed to be a cakewalk to the Coastal, as were other years in the past, though they came up short.
In 2019, Manny Diaz and his team know that they have more than enough talent to win this division, and is the pick of many to claim that time.
Taking a look at the other teams in the Coastal this season, schools like North Carolina and Georgia Tech are expected to struggle with new head coaches. Then you have Pitt and Duke, who are right around the 5-to-7 win range when it comes to predictions.
When you think about what school will end-up winning the Coastal and move on to play (probably) Clemson in the ACC Championship in December in Charlotte, college experts around the country have decided on three teams; Miami, the Virginia Cavaliers and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
UVA, under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, went 8-5 in 2018, including a 16-13 upset victory over the Hurricanes, starting a four-game losing streak for Miami. The Cavaliers return starters such as quarterback Bryce Perkins (2,680 passing yards, 923 rushing yards), cornerback Bryce Hall, as well as receivers Hasise Dubois and Joe Reed.
Athlon Sports projects Virginia to go 9-4 and win the Coastal, while collegefootballnews.com predicts a 9-3 regular season, though losing to Miami and UM winning the division title.
Over in Blacksburg, it’s been a rough offseason for the not too long ago proud Hokies of Virginia Tech, as they’ve experience players going to the transfer portal, coaching changes, and just madness all-around. In 2018, Tech finished under .500 for the first time since 1992, ending with a 6-7 record, and was wrecked by Miami at Lane Stadium 38-14. Former QB Josh Jackson has transferred to Maryland, but they still have Ryan Willis under-center. RB’s Deshawn McClease and Jalen Holston return as well as LB’s Rayshard Ashby and Dax Hollifield.
Phil Steele has Va Tech as one of the top-10 surprise teams for 2019, which almost always guarantees you a better season than the one prior. Athlon Sports predicts Tech finishing second in the Coastal with an 8-4 record, behind UVA but in front of Miami.
It’s pretty safe to assume that these three teams are going to decide the Coastal, and luckily for Miami, they get to play both UVA and Virginia Tech at home. Even more fun, the Canes host the Hokies on October 5th, then the Cavaliers invade Miami Gardens the following Friday on the 11th. If UM can collect victories in back-to-back weeks here, then Miami will have a great shot at winning their second Coastal title in school history.
Head coach Bud Foster and his team begin the 2019 season with four fairly winnable games. They start off on the road at Boston College, then three straight home games against Old Dominion (don’t count out the Monarchs tho, right Va Tech???) Furman and then Duke. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Hokies roll into Miami in early October with a 4-0 record and a top-25 ranking.
The Hurricanes have currently won two straight meetings against the Hokies, and while their 2018 encounter wasn’t deciding a division title, the last time Va Tech visited Miami, that’s exactly what it was. #10 UM hosted #13 Tech in November, in a game that would decide the Coastal in 2017. Behind a smothering defense in their all-back jerseys, the Hurricanes bested the Hokies 28-10.
In their 2019 meeting, Miami could potentially enter October 5th limping, and possibly limping badly. Week-zero vs Florida will be tough, but the Canes also have to travel to UNC for a tough primetime road game against the Tar Heels, and you never know what North Carolina team is going to show up against Miami. Bethune Cookman and Central Michigan are the following games before the Hokies, but Miami has to at least enter this game with a 3-1 record. If UM somehow finds a way to upset the Gators, and enters their matchup with Va Tech and both teams are 4-0, very much in the top-25, the buzz surrounding Hard Rock Stadium will match what we saw in 2017.
This game between these once fierce rivals will take a twist in 2019, as defensive-end Trevon Hill, who transferred from Blacksburg to Miami in February, will get the opportunity to face his old team that dismissed him in 2018.
October 5th. Va Tech at Miami. It’s gonna be a bloodbath https://t.co/gKj7Wj2Gm8— MarshThomas (@hurricanesmarsh) February 24, 2019
On offense, the Canes were able to carve up the Hokies last year for 38 points, so expect DeeJay Dallas to carry the load on the ground, and Tate Martell or whatever quarterback to hit Jeff Thomas and Brevin Jordan for touchdowns.
Though I was nervous prior to the 2017 game, when Miami went to Blacksburg last year I was extremely confident, and I'm feeling that same way for the 2019 matchup. It’ll most-likely be a night game at Hard Rock Stadium, which always seems to give the Canes an extra boost. I’d pencil in a victory on October 5th against the Hokies.
When the Cavaliers come to Miami just six days later on a Friday night, the Hurricanes focus will switch to that of revenge, as they’ll try and serve Virginia a dish of payback for last seasons defeat. I expect a rowdy hometown crowd for the Canes, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if UM wins comfortably.
Perkins is a talented QB for UVA, though he was pretty rough against UM last year (92 yards passing, 3 interceptions) and I don’t see him finding his place at all against the Canes this season either. What I for-see happening is something similar to when Miami played UNC last year and won 47-10. I don’t think they’ll score three defensive touchdowns this game, but I believe it’ll feel like it did that night, where everything just seemed to go right in favor of the Hurricanes.
I realize that Miami will face several other conference foes throughout the 2019 season, but I’m confident if the Canes can grab these two wins from the Virginia schools, they’ll be in the front-runner seat of the Coastal, and coast all the way to Charlotte.