D’Eriq King committed to the Miami Hurricanes on Monday afternoon after a two-day official visit this past week.
The former star Houston quarterback accounted for 50 touchdowns (36 passing, 14 rushing) during his 2018 campaign and threw for 2982 yards and rushed for 674 on 6.1 yards per carry.
With King’s commitment and Miami’s lack of a concrete incumbent at the quarterback position, a room that was labeled as a massive question mark in 2020 has suddenly become stable.
Hurricane quarterbacks combined for 3,239 yards 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The offense as a whole finished 98th in yards per game (367.2) and 129th out of 130 teams in third down conversion percentage.
So, naturally, Miami fans are excited about the prospect of bringing in King and haven't been shy of drastically heightening the teams expectations for the upcoming season.
People are even talking playoffs. I say slow it down.
The Hurricanes went 6-7 in 2019 and would have to double their win total in less than a calendar year to get to the playoff. Oh, and they'd have to beat Clemson.
Unless...never mind. Not going to go there.
Let’s take a look at the Miami Hurricanes opponents in 2020 and let’s decide together (not really) what we can realistically expect from Manny Diaz and his team.
Temple - The Owls went 2-1 against P5 opponents in ‘19 and beat two teams (Maryland and Memphis) who were ranked at the time. Their last game of the season resulted in a 55-13 loss to North Carolina in the Military Bowl.
A very winnable game for Miami, especially as Quincy Roche, Temple’s top defensive player last year, lines up for the opposing team.
Wagner - Sharpie it as a W
UAB - The Blazers played for the CUSA championship against FAU and Miami lost to two teams that fell below them in the standings. It’s hard to feel confident based on the Hurricanes 2019 performance. But with a guy like King and a full on spread offense, I can see Miami winning this one cleanly and gathering some momentum heading into the big one.
Michigan State - This is THE test of 2020. Miami could be riding a three game winning streak to open the season and they’ll probably be feeling good going into this week. In a perfect world, the offense is rolling, King is putting up numbers and people are talking about this team as one that could turn the corner.
Going into East Lansing, or on the road period, hasn't been easy for Miami. The Hurricanes lost five games away from Hard Rock in 2019 and would have to find a way to win in a hostile environment to keep the ball rolling.
The Coastal - Miami would need to go on a full on revenge tour because they lost four games to Coastal opponents in 2019. Sure, there’s a clear argument that a kicker, decent defense on a 4th and 17 and some better play-calling could have changed the result in at least three of those. Miami has also addressed a majority of those issues.
But there always seems to be that game (or two) a year that seems to slip away from the Hurricanes. Two teams Miami lost to in the Coastal (Georgia Tech and Duke) didn't even make a bowl game in ‘19.
With King, a guy who is currently listed third in the odds for the Heitman trophy, you have to like the Hurricanes chances.
However, the playoffs are nothing short of a pipe dream, even if King lives up to the hype. Miami would have to be flawless in the regular season in hopes of seeing another undefeated Clemson team in the ACC title game and the Hurricanes would probably have to win.
The ACC isn't strong enough to allow for a one-loss non-champion to sneak into the playoffs without a boatload of help.
Reasonable expectations, to me, include finishing with double digit wins and a New York Six Bowl victory. Not an appearance — a victory. This one year rental at quarterback has the potential to shift the state of the program and catapult them into the right direction for years to come and that is the way to do it.
It’s an exciting time, Canes fans. But let’s not go crazy here. Enjoy the moment, indulge in the hype for now. But remember there are still games to be played and stats from 2018 don't automatically translate to 2020. Work needs to be done, habits need to be broken and re-established and games need to be played on the gridiron.