Canes Football is back, and headed up to Tobacco Road, JUST as we thought.
Just not how it was originally planned.
The Twist and Turns Down Ole Tobacco Road
ORIGINALLY, as in, when the first non Covid schedule came out, we were tabbed to take TWO trips to Tobacco Road.
We were set to take on Wake Forest in an early season foray, October 9th, that was to be our first big test. At the time, and still, Wake Forest was seen as one of the best offenses in the ACC, pacing the country in plays per game, 45th in points per game and 19th in yards per game. As it stands now, they haven’t changed much. They currently rank 8th in pace, 25th in points and 38th in yards per game.
As for the second, none other than this weeks opponent, the Duke Blue Devils, with whom to end the season, on November 28th, similar to last seasons scheduled game. The difference in offense for Duke compared to Wake is staggering. Last season Duke was 38th in plays per game, 92nd in points per game and 121st in yards per game. In the year of Covid, Duke has improved substantially, ranking 11th in pace, 77th in points and 60th in yards per game.
It was in August of this year, however, that the ACCs change to a conference heavy slate, similar to the model followed by most conferences, actually REMOVED Duke from the schedule for the Hurricanes, despite the two additional conference games.
So instead of Wake Forest on October 9th, we got Clemson, October 10th (thanks ACC). As for the November 28th slate, we swapped Duke out with Wake Forest, making the late game much tougher than previously drawn up.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
In the year of Covid, EVERYTHING is fluid in sports, seemingly none more than the schedule of games in college football. What first started out as a Miami/Georgia Tech storyline, quickly evolved to include nearly half the ACC. After Miami and Georgia Tech postponed their game to December 19th, the Hurricanes pushed the Wake Forest game to December 5th, leaving the 11/28 date open. Wake Forest THEN cancelled (I say cancelled, though it is marked as a postponement at the time of this article, there is no makeup date set) the December 5th slate due to an outbreak of its own.
Enter the the Florida State Seminoles.
After the cancellation that went viral versus Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers (that had the Tigers travel to Tallahassee only to get cancelled, leaving Swinney furious) FSU repeated the same with the Virginia Cavaliers last week and then again with the Duke Blue Devils this week, the latter was left without an opponent for December 5th.
Despite Canes Nation clamouring for a more attractive mathcup like the BYU Cougars r a Notre Dame headliner, the introduction of the Blue Devils gave the Canes and the ACC the easiest and most logical match they could find. Duke was back on the schedule, nearly 4 months after being removed, and only a week later than previously scheduled, in the game slot previously hosted by rival Wake Forest.
ACC Taketh and Giveth
After taking the “Anything But A Sure Thing” sure thing in the Duke Blue Devils off the table (UM has lost two in a row to Duke but only four times since 1976), and replacing them with Clemson, the ACC has “gifted” Miami with their return.
How is a team we have lost to twice in a row a gift? For one, it’s a team, this year more so than any other in the last 15 years, that the Hurricanes should beat. Don’t give me the “we said the same thing the last two times” because the last two times Rhett Lashlee wasn’t here and D’Eriq King wasn’t here, so stop.
Secondly, the opportunities that lie ahead for a one loss Miami team in bowl season and beyond are limitless. It would signify a successful rebranding of the school to recruits and prospective coaches alike, tremendously enhancing Miami’s ability to stack talent going forward.
This all remains to be seen, but as 2020 has taught, anything is possible.