Miami Hurricanes Football: Season Preview

allCanesBlog guest columnist Scott Alan Salomon takes an early look at the Miami Hurricanes’ upcoming football season, breaking down the schedule and personnel changes.

The 2015 schedule is not the friend for the University of Miami football team as they could conceivably win their first two games, which are essentially pre-season games, as they take on Bethune Cookman at home and then travel to Boca to take on Florida Atlantic. However, they have a rough road ahead of them after that and what happens after that, is anyone’s guess. The Canes will face 10 teams that went to bowl games last season.

Phil Steele has the Hurricanes schedule as the 14th toughest in the country. That is a tall order for a team that has a lot of holes to fill. NFL teams have four preseason games to work on filling those holes and a whole training camp. Miami has no preseason games, and only two tuneups against BC-C and FAU to get it right before their real season starts against Nebraska.

The Hurricanes could be in deep hole to start the season and could have the fan base calling for a coaching change after the Georgia Tech game or they could be riding high, depending on lady luck and how well the freshman and new starters gel and take over last season’s squad that finished 6-7 and faltered down the stretch.

How they fare in the middle part of the schedule will depend largely upon whether or not the depth comes through and the Canes offense can generate enough points to stay with some of the top teams in the ACC as they face some tough competition on the road. Miami’s out of conference schedule is also very competitive, as it is every season, as the Canes play cupcake games against BC-C and FAU, but the rest of the schedule is arduous at the very least.

Miami will open the meaty part of their season with a home game against Mike Riley’s Nebraska Cornhusker’s that defeated Miami last season in Lincoln and the Miami turns around and plays at Tommy Tuberville’s Cincinnati Bearcats in a nationally-televised Thursday night game. The Bearcats, which gave Miami a handful last season at Sun Life with an injured Gunner Kiel at QB, are always tough at home and this season will be no exception. It is a night game on the road, and Al Golden does not like road night games and has gone on record saying as much.

The next game for Miami will be against the always dangerous Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee with former Notre Dame starting quarterback Everett Golson as the projected starting quarterback. Florida State has owned Miami during the Golden Era and Coach Golden has not defeated Florida State since he started at Miami in 2011.

That is the first of two multiple-game stretches for Miami that will be very tough. The Nebraska, Cincinnati, Florida State troika will be difficult. The next two games will not be any easier. The folks at the ACC did not do Miami any favors scheduling FSU, Virginia Tech and Clemson all in a row. That will be an exciting time in Hurricane-land. There is no ACC team that plays a more difficult schedule during any one given stretch than Miami.

Miami then comes home for a game against Virginia Tech, who they destroyed last season behind Duke Johnson’s record-setting performance, but El Duque is no longer on the team. Tech also improved with a great recruiting class and did not graduate many starters on their two-deep depth chart.

The Canes then face the Clemson Tigers, who represented the ACC in the Orange Bowl two years ago and then went on to win the New Year’s classic. Clemson comes in with a top 10 team and is extremely tough on both sides of the football. Coach Dabo Sweeney had a great year recruiting and capitalized on some key recruits and will bring in his best team in years. He also recruits well in South Florida and will use this game as a showpiece to recruits that they should choose Clemson over Miami when on the recruiting trails.

The last game of the stretch pits Miami at Duke, the ACC Coastal Champion two years ago, who was a heartbeat away from winning the division again last season before losing to Georgia Tech. Duke replaces their starting quarterback, but they will be tough to beat at home where they have learned to dominate and win.

After two games that Miami should win, against Virginia and North Carolina, despite the fact that they got spanked by the Cavaliers last season in Charlottesville, the Canes will then return home to face Georgia Tech, who is still running for first downs from last year’s game. They will then close the season on the road against Pittsburgh and new coach Pat Narduzzi.

The Las Vegas lines have Miami winning an average of 5.5 games this season and that is not going to cut the mustard in Coral Gables this season where they start the season with high expectations. Miami can win more than that if they gel together early and if Stacy Coley can infuse the offense like he did as a freshman and prove that last season was a misnomer.

They will also need a three-headed monster backfield of Mark Walton, Joseph Yearby and Gus Edwards to run the ball as if El Duque was still still donning his No. 8 jersey and lining up behind All-American candidate Brad Kaaya.

The squad has been working hard in the offseason and is coming off of a very productive spring camp. Their work in the training room has been paying off any many of the players have surpassed their own previous bests on bench press and squats and other dead lifts. While the Canes are getting physically stronger in the weight room, they are out to prove the field wrong and set the tone for a quality 2015 campaign.



2 thoughts on “Miami Hurricanes Football: Season Preview

  1. I have to say that anyone watching this team under Golden for the last four years can never say “After two games that Miami should win, Virginia and North Carolina…” Golden has shown he can’t win consistently even again Coastal foes. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of average teams in the division and Golden has a conservative, reactive, non-adjusting scheme that plays right into others’ hands. Unless he completely does a 180, I see another 6-6 year and hopefully a regime change. Do I hope we lose 6 games? Heck no, but look at the pattern of the last four years and who we have lost to – ACC bottom feeders. On top of that, we have yet to beat FSU since Al arrived. That’s inexcusable! 0-4! That’s a fireable offense in itself. I pray that I am wrong, but as the saying goes, you are what your record says you are: 28-22; 55-56. This is a bottom-line business. I’m sure he’s a great guy off of the field and tries very hard on the sidelines, but he’s not getting it done. What he does may work at Temple against questionable opponents, but not in The Power Five. I hate to be what some might call pessimistic before a single kick-off, but what else do I have to go on except the last four years? The ONLY two gimme games are Bethune Cookman and Florida Atlantic in my opinion. The two toughest teams, Clemson and FSU will have field days against D’Onofrio’s bend-and-let’s-have-a- slow-death defense. This HAS to be their last year is we don’t win the Coastal. No more excuses.

    1. The theme I’ve tried to touch on the past few articles and especially here; Golden is going all in with his way and it will either work, or it will blow up in his face.

      I’m done with the prediction game and notion that Miami should win this, or lose that. Fully agree. To date Golden hasn’t shown he can win here or there, but the x-factor this season is the mindset of his team and what those guys are willing to do.

      Looking back, talent-wise the gap between 1997 and 1998 wasn’t THAT huge … but the Canes went from 5-6 and some serious embarrassment to 9-3 and some respectability. In a one-year span Miami was worked at Florida State, 47-0 and knocked off No. 2 UCLA, 49-45 to wrap the next season … a week after falling at Syracuse, 66-13.

      Agree that it will take a huge turnaround and shaking off of old habits for Golden to show what he’s made of. In the same breath, maybe this is the year he finally has the personnel to run his system. We’ll see.

      As for Florida State, have to give him a pass on that. Last year was winnable and could’ve stolen one up there in 2011, but you’re talking about a program that’s been on the rise since Jimbo Fisher took over—and one that was in NOWHERE near in as bad of shape as Miami when Golden got the keys.

      On the rise in 2013, National Champs in 2014 with a Heisman winner and a one-loss team this year. I’ll beat the guy up for a four-game losing streak last year, that boneheaded loss to Virginia Tech in 2013, or a putrid record against Mike London and lowly Virginia—but even the praised Butch Davis went 0-5 against the Noles before finally turning it around; FSU in a good place and UM in a shit one Davis’ first five years. Golden is in the same boat there.

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