The Miami Hurricanes are once again on a winning streak. They’ve started off the season in a big way by accomplishing a 3-0. This year it’s starting to finally look like the season that all of us have been waiting for. Since I don’t believe in jinxes actually working, it’s time to declare something major. We all should start to expect great achievements from this team.
This year we all should expect this Hurricanes roster to compete for the ACC championship before the end of the year is over. However, I myself believe that Miami will win around 8-10 games and will walk away with the ACC championship hanging over their shoulder. Here are five reasons why the Hurricanes can and most likely will win the ACC championship.
1. Brad Kaaya
The best quarterback in the ACC is none other than Brad Kaaya.
There’s no team in the conference that has an answer for his game. In his sophomore season, Kaaya has made the necessary adjustments in order to become one of the great Miami quarterbacks. This season he’s reading coverages much better and he’s gotten used to not making poor decisions with the football. What’s been most impressive about his game though is his poise.
Kaaya doesn’t flinch when he sees pressure coming instead he stands in the pocket and makes the accurate throw to open receivers even with pressure breathing down his neck. No one’s been able to get him rattled and that’s a scary sign. It’s a quarterback driven league and Kaaya’s the best one in the conference.
Before Kaaya’s time in Coral Gables is finished he’ll be up there with the great quarterbacks of the school such as Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Steve Walsh, and Vinny Testaverde and Ken Dorsey. All he’s missing is the wins, but that will come soon.
2. The running game
Need two yards? Give it to Joe Yearby. Need five yards? Give it to Joe Yearby. Need 45 yards and a game-breaking touchdown? Just give the football to Joe Yearby. If you didn’t get the game plan of the Miami Hurricanes, it’s this, make sure the football is in the hands of Joe Yearby.
This season in his first year starting Yearby already has 311 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Al Golden enjoys running the football in his game plan and Yearby is a living testament. Golden is wise to make sure Yearby gets the football because the Miami Hurricanes success this season is largely based on the ability of Joe Yearby to get to the second level of the defense and make defenders miss in open space. It also helps during the moments when Yearby gets tired Miami can sub in freshman Mark Walton. The two headed monster running back duo has been a problem for defensive coordinators and that’s something that won’t change for the next two years.
— #RapidReplay (@RapidReplays) September 20, 2015
3. The depth of Miami
Last season Miami saw seven of their most talented players make the leap from student-athletes into professional NFL players. Miami had seven players taken in the NFL Draft including Erick Flowers, Duke Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Anthony Chickillo, Jon Feliciano, and Clive Walford. With all of those players, Miami still only found themselves with a 6-7 record last year. One of the reasons for that is ironically this team didn’t have enough talent.
However, for all of the shortcomings of talent that Miami had last season the biggest difference between this year and last year is that Miami’s team doesn’t have all the superstar talent but they do have more depth. Each position the Hurricanes boast have players listed as second stringers on the depth chart that could easily start. The overall team is better and when players go to the sideline for substitutions, the team doesn’t miss a step.
4. Florida State isn’t the same
Want to know how to defeat the Florida State Seminoles? It’s simple, stop Davin Cook. Florida State’s sophomore running back is one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football. The only problem is it’s been nearly impossible for teams to do that. Nonetheless, this Florida State team isn’t as strong as it’s been for the last two years and that’s due to most of their top talent leaving to the NFL. When Miami travels up to Tallahassee in two weeks we’ll get to see how far a part these two teams really are.
It wasn’t a surprise that Florida State defeated Boston College during their ACC opener. It was a surprise though that Boston College took them to the wire, only losing the game 14-0. Florida State nearly isn’t as good as they once were. A part of that is on their quarterback’s shoulders. Everett Golson looks like a gamer, but at times he’s been mighty uncomfortable in the Jimbo Fisher coached offense. The real problem is the offensive line, and with the defensive line of Miami it will mean much trouble.
5. The rest of the field
There are only three ACC teams this year that are ranked. One of them is Florida State, the other two are Clemson and Georgia Tech. All three of those aforementioned teams have weaknesses that all play into Miami’s favor.
Many people assumed that Virginia Tech would win the conference outright, but the way that Virginia Tech played against Ohio State made that a very laughable statement. After people stopped riding the coattails of Virginia Tech, they thought that Georgia Tech would take the mantle. Georgia Tech this week went up to Note Dame and got themselves destroyed by a great defense.
Needless to say, Miami has gotten steadily better in each of their last three games. Their upcoming games will be a true test as they will travel up to Cincinnati and then up to Tallahassee. However, the tests will only get more difficult as they play their next two games at home against Virginia Tech and Clemson. If they can manage to win all of those games not only will they set themselves up atop of the ACC leaderboards, they’ll have more than enough confidence to end the season with an ACC Championship berth.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.