We are just 17 days away from Miami playing Alabama to open the college football season. Since the loss to Oklahoma St I have seen 7000 different reasons why Miami will not only lose to Bama, but get blown out. On my local radio show in Atlanta on 680 the Fan, my own co-hosts have said I should be happy with Miami keeping it close. What universe are we living in where keeping it close should be applauded? Miami is preseason #14 in the AP pool which means writers across the country think the Canes should be good. How good will be determined in 17 days, but 14 beating 1 is not impossible, especially in game number 1. Today’s Top 5 Tuesday is the 5 reasons why Miami can beat Alabama.
5. Neutral Site - The game is being played at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and this is a much better environment than if the game was being played in Tuscaloosa. Alabama just played here in December, but the crowd will not just be a Bama crowd. Canes fans will travel and probably occupy at least 30-35% of the crowd. Weather will not be a factor either as the roof will either be closed(in event of bad weather, or open in good weather). Miami needs to get their fans into the game with a quick start and make it feel like a Canes home game.
4. Playing in the Opener - Game 1 of the season typically is a crap shoot for both teams. If there is a vulnerable time for the Crimson Tide it will be early in the year. Nick Saban has done an unbelievable job having his teams ready to thrive in these kickoff games having blown out FSU, Virginia Tech, USC, and others. Bama though, is inexperienced on offense with just 3 starters back from last years National Title team. Miami will have to come in uber prepared, but with the experience edge, the Canes can take advantage of an early season tilt.
3. The OC - Rhett Lashlee has coached against a Bama defense before and knows how to attack it and exploit it. His 1st 2 games as the Auburn OC, the Tigers scored 34 and 44 points against the Tide. It went downhill in his last 2 years, but the argument can be made that Miami has superior talent than Auburn did in those games. Lashlee is in year 2 at Miami and the hope is the offense is even better than in Year one when the Canes averaged 34ppg. If Miami can get into the high 20s they will have a chance to get this one done. Lashlee will undoubtedly have a trick play or 3 in store for Bama.
2. Big Boys Have Played a Ton- Experience on the offensive line is huge for Miami. According to stats and research he Canes will enter 2021 with the most veteran offensive line in college football history. Part of that has to do with the covid rules allowing kids to have an extra year of eligibility and the other piece is Miami getting guys like Navaughn Donaldson back from injury. Bama will be exotic on defense, so having a group that has worked together before will be huge for Miami to pull the upset.
1. The King is Back - D’Eriq King. Simple and plain Miami has an advantage at QB, and has a kid in King who can be special in 2021. Look throughout the teams that have beaten Alabama in the Nick Saban era and a big part of their success had to do with special QBs. Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson and others were enormous talents who could will their team to victory. King might not be in the level of those guys, but he is close. Miami will need everything D’Eriq can give them, and then some.
Can Miami win this game? Absolutely, but the Canes will need everything in their arsenal to be clicking at once. Win special teams, don’t give up big TDs, win the turnover battle, and play like the older team with nothing to lose.
See you in Atlanta!