Last November Miami thoroughly demolished what would become a 10-win Notre Dame team 41-8. That win made the Hurricanes 9-0. A week later Miami beat Virginia 44-28 to clinch its first double-digit win total since 2003. It was only the second year at his Alma Mater for coach Mark Richt but it appeared, for a moment, that "The U." was back.
There was talk of the Hurricanes making the College Football playoffs. It was premature.
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The following week Miami came out flat at Pittsburgh and never got it kicked into gear, losing 24-14. Then the Hurricanes got outclassed in the ACC championship game against Clemson, losing 38-3. Miami still got an invitation to the Orange Bowl, where it fell to a 13-1 Wisconsin team, 34-24 to finish 10-3.
The lesson learned: Miami made a big leap under Richt in 2017 and at times looked like the Miami of old. But the 'Canes weren't quite ready for Prime Time.
This season they just might be if--and it's a big IF--Richt can get the quarterback situation where he wants it.
It's simple: Starting quarterback Malik Rosier simply didn't get it done at the end of the season, completing only 44.9 percent in those final three games. Richt has made it clear that if Rosier can't do better, there are some talented players waiting their turns. But here we are, one week away from the opener with LSU in Arlington, Tex., and the position remains unsettled.
And Miami flat out has some weapons, including wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, who had 934 receiving yards two seasons ago and battled injuries all of last season. He's a big-time deep threat.
Defensively Miami made some noise in the 10-0 start with its "turnover chain." But in the final four games opposing offenses completed 70.1 percent of their passes.
We're going to find out a lot about Miami in the first game. LSU has its issues but the Tigers are a solid, physical SEC team that won nine games last season and really, really needs a win to get the heat off their head coach, Ed Orgeron. It will feel like a home game for LSU. If Miami can win, the Hurricanes are set up for a nice little run to November, when they have back-to-back road games at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.