1. Miami Hurricanes
AP & Coaches 8
Final record: 7-6
To be fair, the 2018 Hurricanes were more about hype than reality.
The amazing run in 2017 – with a 10-0 start before getting clobbered in the final three games, including by Clemson in the ACC Championship, and by Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl – was built on a decent schedule and a few too many close calls.
The offense fizzled late, and the defense that was so talented couldn’t handle anyone with power.
LSU showed that things were about the same for Miami with a 33-17 win in the 2019 opener, but the defense managed to more than do its part all year long. It was the offense that was a nightmare, averaging just 15 points per game over an ugly four-game losing streak.
Going bowling was fine, getting defrayed against by Wisconsin – 35-3 in the Pinstripe – to finish 7-6, wasn’t.
But the program is about to do a reboot.
New head man Manny Diaz appears to be the shot in the arm needed after Mark Richt got things rolling again. A few terrific transfer talents are coming in, the linebacking corps should be among the best in the country, and if Ohio State transfer Tate Martell is allowed to play right away by the NCAA, Miami look out. If not, don’t expect the quarterback situation to continue to be such a dud.
It’ll still be a distant second behind Clemson in the ACC talent-wise, but the defending national champs aren’t on the schedule.
Even with the moved-up-to-August-24th date against Florida in Orlando, the schedule works. There’s a week off to prepare for Virginia Tech at home, Florida State isn’t likely back to being Florida State again, and in all, a ten-win season is possible.
And so is a second trip to the ACC Championship in three years.