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Why Miami Needs to Win Big Against Duke

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After a confusing shuffle of conference games, ACC Coastal-foe Duke is Miami’s next opponent. 

Miami v Duke Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Miami vs. Duke may not technically be a rivalry, but for the Blue Devils, it’s arguably their biggest game of the year. Recent installments in the series show Duke’s transformation from a conference cupcake to a contender in Coastal chaos.

With that being said, Duke’s 2020 campaign is disappointing, to say the least. The Blue Devils recently fell to 2-7 on the year following a 56-33 embarrassment at the hands of Georgia Tech. However, records don’t indicate the mindset that players will have entering their matchup with the Hurricanes.

It’s well known that Miami receives every teams’ best effort—David Cutcliffe’s squad is no exception. Last season, Duke broke their 5-game losing streak in the regular-season finale against the ‘Canes, also beating them in an ugly, rain-soaked affair on the road in 2018. Surprising as it may be, Duke has a 2-game winning streak against Miami. While it’s frustrating to lose to teams you’re used to beating, credit must be given to Duke’s coaching staff for having their players well-prepared and motivated for the contests.

Now, in a year full of absurdity and unpredictability, Miami travels to Durham, NC for the second consecutive season.

So, what does a blowout win mean for the ‘Canes? It’s nearly impossible for Miami to make the ACC Championship Game, but a complete victory would put the team back on the right track, possibly moving up in the rankings as a result. The ‘Canes have only lost one game in 2020 so far, but their most recent victory didn’t satisfy many.

Miami played-down to Virginia Tech, a team currently sitting at 4-5, escaping with a 1-point victory. Surprisingly, Virginia Tech was favored in that matchup despite the ‘Canes entering the contest with a 6-1 record. Furthermore, Miami hasn’t dominated a team since they played Florida State, downing their rival by a score of 52-10. The games for Miami following their loss at Clemson have resulted in wins, but not by convincing margins.

With little-to-no chance of making the College Football Playoff or ACC Championship Game, rankings have little significance for the ‘Canes. However, winning big and proving why they’re a top-10 team is. Showing their cohesion and resilience now could be an important building block for 2021 when normalcy hopefully returns.