The 2019 Miami Hurricanes football season started off with a respectable, yet painful, loss to the rival Florida Gators in Orlando, FL. Miami dropped the neutral site season opener 24-20 after multiple chances to win and a late lead. Then the ‘Canes headed north to Chapel Hill, NC to face Mack Brown’s Tar Heels and choked again. After a slow start the ‘Canes lost 28-25 to a young and not that good UNC squad.
Miami bounced back with a home blowout of FCS Bethune-Cookman, but also after a slow start. The ‘Canes struggled on 3rd down early but eventually blew the Wildcats out by a score of 63-0. The Central Michigan game was an entirely different story and Miami barely escaped with a 17-12 victory.
The rest of the ACC (outside of Clemson) and specifically the Coastal has struggled, too.
The ‘Canes play four games in the month of October with three of those four being home games. Miami plays host to mini-rival Virginia Tech at 3:30pm on October 5th. The Hokies are 2-1 with wins over ODU and Furman but a loss to Boston College. VT quarterback Ryan Willis is struggling having thrown seven touchdowns with four interceptions and averaging only 7.7 yards per attempt.
On Friday, October 11th, the ‘Canes face the Virginia Cavaliers. The Hoos, on the other hand, are 4-0. UVA has knocked off Pitt, William and Mary, FSU and ODU. Bryce Perkins is struggling as well having thrown six touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s averaging only 6.8 yards per passing attempt.
On October 19th the ‘Canes host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Jackets are probably the ACC’s worst team right now but a program that will be on the rise in the near future. The Jackets were blown out by Clemson, beat USF in a close game, then lost to FCS Citadel to their old triple option offense. GT has played three quarterbacks, all with limited success.
Miami travels to Pitt at the end of October to face the Panthers on the 26th. Pitt is 2-2 with close losses to UVA and Penn State and wins over Ohio and UCF. The Panthers play aggressive defense and Kenny Pickett has struggled like the other October quarterbacks Miami will face. Pickett is averaging only 6.3 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The ‘Canes head to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles on November 2nd. FSU has a 2-2 record having lost to Boise State in the opener and to UVA. Willie Taggart’s ‘Noles have come away victorious in games against ULM and a tough out in a young Louisville team. FSU is led by Cam Akers who has ran for 499 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and six touchdowns while QB James Blackman has thrown nine touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Miami then hosts the Cardinals of Louisville who have a 2-2 record. Louisville has lost to FSU and Notre Dame (not a bad showing on Labor Day) and have knocked off Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky. Quarterback Malik Cunningham has emerged as a weapon averaging 10.3 yards per attempt with four touchdowns.
The ‘Canes will then play FIU “on the road” but at a neutral site in Marlins Park. I’m not sure how the experience will be playing in a baseball stadium but it’s safe to say a single Miami-FIU game will have more fans than a weekend series of Marlins baseball. Butch Davis’ FIU team has defeated FCS New Hampshire while losing to Tulane, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech.
The regular season ends on Thanksgiving weekend with the ‘Canes heading to Durham, NC to face the Blue Devils. Duke is currently 2-1 with wins over FCS North Carolina A&T and Middle Tennessee State while being demolished by the Alabama Crimson Tide. Quarterback Quentin Harris has emerged as a true dual-threat throwing for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions and adding 203 yards rushing with another score.
The Hurricanes are struggling, limping away from their second bye week of the season with a 2-2 record and narrow win over lowly CMU. However, as we all predicted, the ACC Coastal is currently anyone’s ball game with UVA being solidly in the lead and a bunch of other teams just hoping to knock them off.
That says a lot about the yeoman’s work that Bronco Mendenhall has done building the UVA program into a Coastal competitor... but it also says that much more about the state of Miami, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech who are expected to be competitive year in and year out.
Prediction: 5-3 to close out a bad season of ‘Canes football.