2021 is an extremely important season for Manny Diaz and his Miami Hurricanes. Coming off an 8-3 year, UM returns most of their players and starters from 2020, which adds even more pressure to perform even better than last season. Now entering his 3rd year as Miami’s head coach, Diaz knows that regressing at all won’t be tolerated.
So what are the 3 things that Miami and Diaz must accomplish in 2021?
- Beat FSU
Every season I say the same thing, just like Mike Rumph once said, “Coming in as a Hurricane, you know your number one objective is to beat the Florida State Seminoles.” To me, beating FSU will always be the number one goal of each and every season. They’re our biggest rival, and that’ll never change.
Heading into 2021, Miami is going for their 5th straight win over their rivals from Tallahassee, which would be their longest winning streak over the Seminoles since they captured 6 in a row from 2000-2004.
D'Eriq King is letting it fly pic.twitter.com/fIxEXQtI0L— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 27, 2020
Even after a rough 2020 campaign, second year head coach Mike Norvell seems to be steering the program in the right direction. They brought in several talented players from the transfer portal, including QB McKenzie Milton. Norvell is also putting together a very good 2022 recruiting class.
#FSU HC Mike Norvell on recent recruiting: “There is a lot of excitement around the program right now. To be able to have the spring game, and a couple open practices throughout the spring. We always want to attract people who want to see our football team."— Tomahawk Nation (@TomahawkNation) April 6, 2021
A good season and a win against Miami in 2021, could potentially swing the momentum up towards Tallahassee. Manny Diaz and his team cannot let that happen, and when they go up north in November, they better be coming out of there with another win, reminding the Noles who owns this rivalry.
The bad blood between FSU and Miami lives on pic.twitter.com/rhlE9Jtvu9— ESPN (@espn) October 6, 2018
2. Beat UNC
FSU will always be the number one rival for Miami, but as of late, the team that has been the biggest thorn in their sides, is the Tar Heels of North Carolina. In the two years that Manny Diaz has been head coach at UM, he's gone 0-2 against UNC, and his former mentor Mack Brown. 2020 was one of the worst defeats in program history, as the Tar Heels embarrassed Miami at Hard Rock Stadium, 62-24, registering nearly 800 yards of total offense, and 554 yards on the ground.
This year, the game will be in Chapel Hill, a place that Miami always struggles in. North Carolina has lost some of their players from 2020, but they do return QB Sam Howell, one of the top quarterbacks in college football. If the Hurricanes want to become Coastal champions, this is the team they’ll have to beat.
Which team is winning the ACC Coastal?— Saturday Gameday (@SaturdayGameday) March 16, 2021
RT for Miami
Like for UNC
Comment for other pic.twitter.com/vY5iYHT5kx
3. Win The Coastal
And finally, win the Coastal Division. Since Miami joined the ACC in 2004, they’ve only won the Coastal just once, appearing in just one ACC Championship, which sounds more depressing every time you’re reminded of that sad fact. In 2021, the Canes have no excuses. Manny Diaz has no excuses. He’s returning more production from the year prior than nearly any team in college football. D’Eriq King is back, the entire offensive line is back, and your schedule is EXTREMELY tolerable.
Manny Diaz has pretty much reached the "no excuses" stage. He's done everything possible this offseason to build good will and set himself up for success. Now he has to prove the on-field product is on track.— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) February 2, 2020
Yes, Alabama is probably a loss. At UNC, Miami will most likely be underdogs. But besides those two games, who’s the other opponent that UM should struggle with? Va Tech is at home, NC State is at home, NO EXCUSES. If coach Diaz can’t win at least 9 games with this schedule and this roster, we may have to ask ourselves some difficult questions after the season.
Need some opinions Canes fam...is anything less than a Coastal title next season with all this talent fireable?— Wasabi (@wasaabiii91) January 21, 2020
And if you can’t win the Coastal, you better win the bowl game.