The Hurricanes plans have been derailed with the team pausing all football activities and postponement of games. In Miami’s most recent game, Miami squeaked past Virginia Tech on the road even after having 13 players absent due to coronavirus. Following the game, Miami received word that there were more positive tests, enough so that the decision was made to postpone games. Still, Miami is not out of the ACC Championship hunt.
The Hurricanes stand in good positioning with only one loss this season. That loss came on the road against the Clemson Tigers, the number one team in the country at that time. Head coach Manny Diaz, in his second season as head coach, already has more wins than his first season.
Miami Still in ACC Championship Hunt
When the Hurricanes lured Diaz back to Miami, they believed Miami wasn’t far away from an ACC championship appearance. With Diaz as the defensive coordinator, Miami reached the ACC title game in 2017. There are three games hanging in the balance and Miami still has a hope of getting back into the game. Currently, Miami is tied for second place with Clemson but Clemson would own the tiebreaker having defeated the Hurricanes.
With the ACC adding Notre Dame this season, there’s a chance Miami could miss the ACC championship game even with only one loss to Clemson. Miami would need help along the way and need Clemson to either lose another game or a tiebreaker situation over Notre Dame. For the Hurricanes their objective remains the same, just continue winning. With the rest of their schedule being postponed until December, Miami basically has a three-game season.
Last Stretch of the Year
Everything that Miami envisioned coming into the season is still ahead of them. Through eight games, Miami has shown that they’re capable of winning in a multitude of ways. Whether it’s through the air or running the ball or even depending on the defense, Miami has done it. There is one last road test heading up to Winston Salem, North Carolina at the beginning of December, a challenge for a team not used to frigid weather. Wake Forest is also producing at a high level offensively, prior to the postponement of its latest game. With additional time to game plan for one another, the Wake Forest offense against Miami’s defense will likely decide the game.
If the Hurricanes can get past the Demon Deacons, Miami gets North Carolina at home. Last season North Carolina upset the Hurricanes 28-25 in only Sam Howell’s second start. This upcoming matchup will determine more nationally with potential bowl games and possibly a playoff matchup. The final game for Miami for the regular-season will either be against Georgia Tech or in the ACC Championship. A win against Georgia Tech more than likely cements a spot in either the Orange Bowl or the Peach Bowl. While many in Coral Gables would prefer to see Miami in the ACC Championship no one would argue with the Hurricanes landing in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Miami has shown to be more competitive this season, even in an all ACC schedule. Just last season, the Hurricanes ended the year with a three-game losing streak to below-average teams. To be in the thick of a possible ACC championship is a major accomplishment for Diaz in his second season as a head coach. With only three more games left in this season and to be playing meaningful games is a well-earned privilege. It is up to Miami to stay in the ACC Championship hunt.