I haven’t always written the kindest things about the Miami Hurricanes. About a year ago I said Adding Miami to the ACC had been a failure thus far. As I said in that article it wasn’t that I was against the move to add Miami. I actually favored it.
The problem is that the Hurricanes had not come close to meeting any of the football expectations they came in with. Despite a NCAA investigation hanging over their heads in Miami, the Canes are off to a 4-1 and the ACC is better for it.
With Florida State in the hunt for the national title and Clemson firmly entrenched in the top 20, those two programs are carrying the ACC this year. Perennial ACC heavyweights like Virginia Tech who can’t beat anyone in the Big East, and Georgia Tech who’s defense is in shambles have left a big power gap in conference. That’s where Miami comes in. The Hurricanes are the only other ACC team outside of FSU and Clemson with any AP top 25 votes.
The Hurricanes still carry national name recognition, and Al Golden can still get elite players to Miami. Only FSU and Clemson have more 4 star or better recruits with verbal commitments to their school in the ACC. Dan Wetzel at yahoo.com has taken notice and compliments Miami on their perseverance. This week Miami takes on future partial ACC member top 10 ranked Notre Dame.
We all realize a top 10 Notre Dame team is a big draw, but add Miami and this week the game is prime time. That was decided months ago. Now that Miami is off to a fast start the game is still garnering national interest even in a weekend chock full of great games.
The Canes have scored 124 points in their last three games against Bethune-Cookman, Georgia Tech, and NC State. That’s not exactly elite competition, but winning breeds confidence and Miami offensively is on a roll. Stephen Morris is among the better quarterback’s in the ACC and Duke Johnson is the best freshman running back in the ACC. The defense has been a problem ranked dead last in the ACC, but the Irish are not great offensively.
This game sets up more evenly that you would think. You have Miami’s strong offense against the Notre Dame’s elite defense. Miami’s shaky defense vs a Notre Dame offense that struggles at times. Should Miami win they could really set themselves up for a very nice season and would establish themselves as the odds on favorite to win the ACC Coastal division. By far it will take Miami’s best effort to win this game, but people are again paying attention to the Miami Hurricanes.