It was just announced yesterday that the College Football Playoffs would remain a 4 team endeavor until the end of the contract in 2026. How does this effect the ACC? Can Miami become a participant before the playoffs ultimately expand?
Let’s start with the Canes. Miami has only made one serious run towards the playoffs when they were ranked 2nd in 2017, and entered the ACC Championship game with a win and in scenario. Unfortunately we all know how that ended with a blowout loss and ultimately an Orange Bowl loss to Wisconsin. Since then, the Canes were over ranked in the preseason in 2018, and reached number 7 in 2020, but for the most part were an afterthought by October. Miami’s schedule is advantageous to at least hang around the discussion until November, especially if they’re able to upset Texas A&M in September.
The ACC has only had 2 participants in the playoffs, with FSU in 2014 and Clemson making multiple trips which included 2 National Championships. Entering 2022 the ACC seems as far away as any other power 5 group. Clemson is replacing both coordinators and that’s after a 10-3 offensively challenged season. Can Dabo Swinney reload? Can DJU become the 5 star QB they thought he would be? The remainder of the conference is in disarray. In the Coastal multiple coaches were fired, and in the Atlantic Wake Forest is pretty good but nowhere close to playoff consideration. The ACC could’ve used expansion to get a guaranteed spot or have the opportunity for an at large birth. It is embarrassing how bad the conference is in football.
Can Mario Cristobal help get Miami back into the national mix? His 2nd year at Oregon saw them finish 12-2 with an NFL QB in Justin Herbert. Tyler Van Dyke showed a lot of those characteristics and Miami finished 5-1 down the stretch even with questionable coaching and a bad defense. Miami is not a playoff caliber team in 2022, but if recruiting continues at this level and Miami catches a break or 2, by 2023 they could be in the mix.
The Big 12, ACC and PAC-12 sat at home in 2021, and will be hard pressed to get back to the playoffs in 2022. These 3 conferences should’ve been fighting tooth needed nail for playoff expansion. Instead, they will all need to up their respective games to potentially get back in the mix. 8 or 12 would be my preference but for four more years, 4 will be the number. Can the CANES become the ACC team that makes it? History shows us it’s Clemson or bust, who can change that narrative?