When the Miami Hurricanes joined the ACC in 2004, John Swofford had dreams of epic Florida State and Miami battles. The Hurricanes were going to be one of the ACC’s flagship football schools. It never happened. Since the Miami has been in the ACC, Wake Forest has won an ACC Title. Virginia Tech has 4 ACC Titles, Georgia Tech has 3 ACC Title game appearances, Boston College has 2.
Florida State and Clemson have their ACC Championships too. Miami has 0 ACC Titles, 0 Coastal Division Titles…. 0, zip, zilch. That’s not what was expected of the Hurricanes when they were brought to the ACC. Given their tradition, winning history, and recruiting base, Miami has been the conference’s most underachieving football program for nearly a decade.
That said, last season there were signs that Miami may make a return to the top 25. RB Duke Johnson had an outstanding freshman season, and returns as the ACC’s best running back. With a solid 2013, he could be a Heisman candidate in 2014.
Stephen Morris is an excellent quarterback, and offensively this should be one of the ACC’s more potent offenses. Defensively is where the Canes struggled. They gave up 30.5 points and a whopping 486 yards a game. Even a marginal improvement by the defense would probably result in the Hurricanes first 9+ win season since 2009.
Miami’s recruiting is also something that should give Hurricane fans hope for the future. A class that’s currently in the top 5, with 4 top 100 players and 3 5 Star players. I watched the Booker T. Washington vs Norcross high school game Saturday. This was expected to be a matchup of top 10 Highschools from Florida and Georgia. Booker T. Washington destroyed the Norcross team from Georgia 55-0 in a game that featured 3 Miami commits on defense.
It was an impressive showing. I should also mention that Florida State recruit Treon Harris was equally as impressive at Quarterback. What are they feeding those kids down there? You have to give head coach Al Golden credit here for recruiting at an elite level despite the NCAA investigation still hanging over the head of the football program.
It’s rather ridiculous if you ask me that Miami has had to deal with this issue for this long, even self imposing post season bans the last two years. Of course nothing NCAA does ever makes sense. A harsh punishment can still stunt the growth of Miami football, and that would be something beyond their control.
I’ve predicted that Miami will win the Coastal Division and go 9-3. I think unless NCAA cripples Miami, 2013 could be the year Miami football starts turning that proverbial corner.