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SOTU Roundtable: W/L Predictions for 2023

Our record predictions for Mario Cristobal’s 2nd season back home in Coral Gables

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Miami at Georgia Tech
Lead us, oh captain!
Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the Miami Hurricanes 2023 football season just days away from kicking off, we’ve convened the SOTU crew to talk about expectations. It’s a simple question, so let’s get to it:

Prediction time: What will Miami’s W/L record be in 2023?

Cam Underwood: I think Mario Cristobal is well along the path toward flipping the roster to the kind of physical group of his desires. That improvement, along with some intentional changes/upgrades at OC and DC, are the main items in my mind that point toward improvement from last season. The real key to success here is the developed roster really hitting along the OL, and that group up front keeping QB Tyler Van Dyke upright. Van Dyke’s injuries last year were a direct result of bad OL play, and shoring that area up, and letting TVD get back to the “bombs away”/record setting form he showed in his first turn as a starter in 2021. Even with those developments, I still think this team is a year, or two, away from seriously contending for double digit wins. Still, a step forward from 2022 will be a welcomed sight for sure. PREDICTION: 7-5

Justin Dottavio: I agree with Cam on his prediction of 7-5. If you read my Summer Scheming ‘23 post about the Miami Hurricanes, you’ll know I have three main points that have to change in order to make this a ‘fun’ season: 1- stay healthy, 2- look well coached, 3- find real stars. The staff has to work hard to avoid 30 injuries; they can’t have mindless blown assignments, bad tackling, and penalties again; and they have to find real stars, not 247 or whatever stars. If this is a healthy, well coached roster that finds a few All-ACC guys in there it could be a 9-3 type year. PREDICTION: 7-5.

Craig T. Smith: Well, call me the cockeyed optimist of the bunch (and Rob, too, it seems), which is kind of weird because I’ve been doom and gloom for a lot of the offseason. Hey, I’m allowed to change my mind every now and then. I said that 8 wins would be a sign of real progress when I talked about expectations for the season last week, and I still feel that way. The schedule isn’t particularly daunting, although trips to FSU and UNC will be tough and Clemson is just better than Miami roster-wise. I have a lot of faith that this offensive line - with the influx of talent via transfer portal and talented freshman - will be significantly better than the previous few years, which will allow the offense to function at a much higher level. The defense has playmakers on the line and enough talent elsewhere to be adequate. I think it’s a step forward for Mario Cristobal this year. And it better be, because the honeymoon is over after ugly losses to MTSU, Duke, and several others last year. Progress. Now. PREDICTION: 8-4

KappaCane: Cristobal is doing the Lord’s work with flipping the roster and bringing in 7 new coaches, including both coordinators, after just 1 season at UM. I’m expecting significant improvements from the OL and LB groups this coming season. The Passing game will go as as far as the OL allows them, as will the Run game. Cristobal brings more than 20 years of FBS coaching experience to Coral Gables, including 11 as a head coach, and he likes a balanced and physical attack, so we’ll know after a few snaps in game 1 if we have that or not. I think our challenge this season will be the quality of depth of the 2nd and 3rd team players, but the attitude in Coral Gables is different this season, so a marked improvement is both expected and required. PREDICTION: 9-3

Jake Marcus: The offensive line unit led by Matt Lee, Javion Cohen, Anez Cooper, and Francis Mauigoa will likely be the most improved group as they have an opportunity to work with an offensive line-minded head coach in Cristobal. However, the wide receiver cohort has a golden opportunity to thrive under new offensive coordinator’s, Shannon Dawson, Air Raid system that blends principles of pounding the ball to open up the vertical threats, while also working in quick and gadgety slant routes. On defense, Lance Guidry brings a promising mindset as the new defensive coordinator but it will be returning AP All-American safety, Kamren Kinchens’ duty to ensure the entire defense remains disciplines and gets back to the fundamentals of tackling and preventing big plays, which was a blemish throughout 2022. Overall, Tyler Van Dyke has the pieces around him to have a bounceback season but Cristobal and company need to keep each player in line by limiting mistakes. Canes need to put away their favored games with ease and keep up with in the Clemson, UNC, Texas A&M, and, of course, FSU games. PREDICTION: 9-3

Chris Picaro: I don’t think enough can be said about having new coordinators, especially on offense. Last season, Miami scored more than 31 points just twice and six games of 20 or under. You can’t win many games in college football with such an inept offense. Shannon Dawson and a much-improved offense will raise the ceiling of the season. But I need to see it first. And the lack of depth on defense worries me later in the season. I could see the season going much better than my prediction if the offense is way better and luck with injuries. PREDICTION: 7-5

Mike Schiffman: I am bearish on this year’s team. I even wrote an article in June on how low my expectations are. There have been improvements on the roster and coaching staff for sure. That said, I don’t see the overall talent on defense or with the skill positions that is necessary to take this team to the next level. Also, are we sure the Canes aren’t going to blow at least one, if not multiple games they shouldn’t? I truly hope I am proven wrong and Coach Cristobal leads Miami to 9-plus wins. If TVD bounces back and plays like he did two years ago, there’s a chance they get there. I’m not buying it though, at least not in 2023. PREDICTION: 7-5

Rob Weaver: With new coordinators on both sides of the ball and so many freshmen and transfers expected to contribute, prognosticating 2023 is a crap shoot. I think the floor is 6 regular season wins (i.e. last year minus the Middle Tennessee disaster) and the ceiling is 10 regular season wins if everyone stays healthy (and in TVD’s case, upright). To hit 10 wins Miami would have to go 2-2 against Texas A&M, UNC, Clemson, and Florida State and sweep the rest of the schedule. Accomplishing that would put this season on par with the 2017 team, Miami’s last year of competitive relevancy. It’s unlikely this team is ready to hit 10 wins, but there’s too much talent to only muster 6 wins. I’ll split the difference and take the over on Vegas’ 7.5 line. Viva la optimists! PREDICTION: 8-4