FROM: Mike Sanchize
9:45 AM, 1/24/2019
There’s a new era in Coral Gables.
Last week, the ACC announced the release of their 2019 football schedule. With this comes hope, lies, and well, more lies. How Miami’s season will go really depends on these next 2 or so weeks. With Miami landing former 4/5 star Quarterback Tate Martell from Ohio State, my outlook on this season is much more optimistic. Now, it just depends on whether he can get a waiver for immediate eligibility. An improvement there might just have the ‘Canes back in Charlotte next season. Outside of Quarterback, Miami returns plenty talent, including the 3 junior Linebackers in Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud. If Miami wants to take that next step, they will need to improve on the offensive side of the ball. Dan Enos might just be that guy. The new ‘Canes Offensive Coordinator comes from Alabama and is said to have a huge role in the development of Tua Tagovailoa and the improvement of Jalen Hurts. I can go much deeper into this roster, but let’s save that for a later piece.
Without further ado, let’s take a deeper dive into the schedule and see what Miami is up against in the 2019 season.
WEEK 1: Aug. 31st vs. Florida (In Orlando)
It’s been 5 years since the ‘Canes faced Florida in the “Battle for the Seminole War Canoe” and in week 1, the two face-off again. Florida is going to be the favorite, and rightfully so. They’re coming off a 10-3 start in year 1 of the Dan Mullen era along with an impressive 2019 recruiting class. Florida will be returning Lamical Perine and Starting Quarterback Feleipe Franks along with a loaded secondary. Florida fans on Twitter have been saying they are going to blow out Miami. And honestly, if Mark Richt was still here, I would be inclined to agree. However, this is a new era, the Manny Diaz era. With that comes the unknown, and a bunch of hype. Until I know who Miami’s Quarterback will be, I’m going to reserve judgment on a prediction.
WEEK 2: September 7th at North Carolina
This will be a tougher game for Miami than I would have thought a few months ago. National Champion Head Coach Mack Brown left the ESPN booth and returned to the sideline to lead the Tar Heels. His first big win was snatching Top 247 Quarterback Sam Howell away from Florida State. He reminds me of a young Baker Mayfield, but that could just be my obsession with Baker and the fact that Howell looks a bit douche-y. Anyways, Mack Brown hired former ‘Canes Offensive Line coach Stacy Searels to coach Brown’s offensive line, meaning Miami should have about 10 sacks. But on a serious note, this game scares me as a ‘Canes fan, especially on the road. Facing a team for the first time with a new head coach is always a mystery because you never know what they are going to throw at you.
WEEK 3: September 14th vs. Bethune-Cookman
… Miami by a lot.
WEEK 4: September 21st vs. Central Michigan
I’m not even going to sit here and act like I know a single thing about Central Michigan other than the fact that they are the Chippewas and that Dan Enos used to coach there. Miami should not have a problem here and should win comfortably.
WEEK 6: October 5th vs. Virginia Tech
Despite being a literal trash can on offense last year, Miami still managed to beat Virginia Tech on the road last season, thanks to some clutch throws from N’Kosi Perry and am unbelievable punt return for a touchdown by Hurricane great, Jeff Thomas. Virginia Tech seems to be in disarray as Head Coach Justin Fuente’s seat will probably be scorching this season. It is unknown whether Josh Jackson, who is returning from injury, or Ryan Willis will start for the Hokies. However, at home, I like the ‘Canes here.
WEEK 7: October 11th (Friday Night) VS. VIRGINIA
LOL. I still can’t believe Miami lost this game last season. Richt yanked N’Kosi Perry for Malik Rosier in this game, citing a need for “maturity”. Bless you, Mark. Anyways, Miami lost to Quarterback Bryce Perkins, who no offense to him because he’s better than I am, but he has the worst throwing motion I have ever seen from a quarterback, ever. If Miami can put up more than 13 points this season, I don’t see us having much trouble beating the Cavaliers at home. I hate Friday night games, but with being at home, ‘Canes roll.
WEEK 8: October 19th vs. GEORGIA TECH:
This will be the most intriguing game of the year for me. Obviously, it doesn’t have the glamor of Florida or Florida State, but this is a new era for the Yellow Jackets. Former Temple Head coach (no, not Manny Diaz) Geoff Collins takes over and the only thing I know for a fact is that they will not be running that Jim Crow Law offense, aka the Triple Option. As a result, I really cannot make any sort of prediction here. I could always watch Temple’s old games but a) I’m in law school and really don’t have the time, and b) who wants to watch Temple? I’ll probably have a more solid prediction closer to the season.
Week 9: October 26th at Pittsburgh:
I still have nightmares about that game up in Pittsburgh two seasons ago. Miami was flying high. 10-0 and ranked 2nd in the country. I should have known the jig was up with Mark Richt during that game, but I was fooled by last years’ number 8 ranking. Anyways… Head Coach Patt Narduzzi always does an impressive job coaching up the Panthers, taking them to the ACC title game last season. Notwithstanding all of that, I like Miami here.
WEEK 10: November 2nd at Florida State:
Miami is going for 3 straight in the series against Florida State and I like their chances to do so. FSU is coming up a 5-7 season where not much went right for Willie Taggart in his first year at the helm. FSU also has Quarterback questions. It’ll be a battle between Deondre Francois and James Blackman to see who is going to lead the Seminoles this season. Ironically, Miami has beaten both. Supposedly, last week James Blackman entered himself into the “portal”, but that has been refuted. Luckily for Miami, Brian Burns declared for the draft. He single-handedly almost beat Miami last season and given Miami’s known offensive line problems, I really did not want to see him again. Obviously in a rivalry game, anything can happen. However, this is a year I feel fairly confident about Miami’s chances.
WEEK 11: November 9th vs. Louisville
Miami has not beaten Louisville in what seems like forever. Kidding, they beat Louisville in 2004 on that beautiful Thursday Night game where Devin Hester saved the day. Short side story, I was 10 years old and had to sneak up past my bedtime in order to stay up and watch that game. What a comeback. Anyways, Louisville has a new head coach in Scott Satterfield, the former Appalachian State head coach. I don’t know much about them or Satterfield, other than the fact that Miami went to Boone, North Carolina and beat the Mountaineers 45-10. Obviously, Satterfield will have better talent here than at App State, but after a 2-10 season by the Cardinals last season, Miami should win this one quite easily.
WEEK 13: November 23rd at FIU (Well technically, it’s at Marlins Park)
The ‘Canes return to the Orange Bowl! Well, sort of. FIU finally came to a decision Monday night to play next year’s game at Marlins Park. Tailgating is going to absolutely suck given the fact that there are now three massive parking lots where fans used to be able to tailgate at the old Orange Bowl. Oh, and yeah, Miami wins by a lot.
WEEK 14: November 30th at Duke:
Can’t believe I have to say this, but this will be a “revenge” game for Miami after Duke beat Miami at Hard Rock last season. But again, everyone beat Miami in Mark Richt’s last season as head coach of the ‘Canes. Luckily for Miami, Daniel Jones is gone. The Duke Quarterback should be hearing his name called on one of the first 2 nights of the upcoming NFL draft. Miami should win this one.
OVERALL, this season, while only his first, will be a big one for Miami. Diaz knows he has to fix this offense, and fast. This is Diaz’s dream job and I have faith that he will stop at nothing in order to get Miami back to what it was. Outside of Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and maybe North Carolina, Miami has a very easy schedule. I will refrain from making serious predictions until I know what is the update with Tate Martell and some of the other potential graduate transfers.
What I do know though? Manny is the right man for the job. On to 2019.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeSanchize13.
(Photo Via: @TJKalick on Twitter)