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#25 Miami Hurricanes Preview – 2014

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Miami Hurricanes Preview – 2014

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Reminder for first time readers: The CFBMatrix is built on simplicity. For predictions and previews I use only my trends and rankings of Talent, Location (schedule) and Coaching. T.L.C.

Talent:

Do you know how much talent has passed through Miami this century? Their average class was #11 over the last 14 years which is ahead of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, and Tennessee to name a few. That includes the #21, #13, #34 slide in the final years of the Shannon Era. The last 3 have gone #8, #17 and #11 and the attrition rates have been normal for a Big 5 conference program. The result is the #2 ranked roster talent in the ACC behind only FSU and #16 in the country. Excuses are nice, but it is go time for the Canes. I put the bar of expectations at division titles right now and next year, with another top 20 class it will be raised to playoff berths. With good coaching (that strongly remains to be seen if it is this current staff), this is a program that should be playing stride for stride with the Seminoles in the coming years. Their returning starter production is nearly exact to ACC averages. 65% of the offense, 64% of the defense and 3 out of 5 offensive linemen is a normal season.

Coaching:

Here is where I see the biggest issue for the Hurricanes. In Coach Effect rankings (it measures the level at which coach perform beyond the recruited talent) Al Golden is #40 in the country and #9 in the conference. It is not a terrible number at -1 game per year given his talent level, but the other CFBMatrix measure of coaching, Coach Result, is much more telling. If you are a Canes fan feel that watching them the last few years is a roller coaster, Coach Result agrees. They only win 65% of the time when picked to win in the CFBMatrix. That is well below the average of every major conference. When picked to lose, Coach Golden has above average winning rate in the ACC and nationally. It is an odd combination, but one that shows that the key is winning at home and against less opponents. Until that happens on a regular basis I see this as a program with semi-elite to elite talent with below average coaching results.

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Schedule:

It is one of the tougher schedules in the ACC. I have their Talent SOS (ave team talent rank) at #3 in the conference and the Coaching SOS (ave. coach result against the CFBMatrix) at #9 for a total SOS of #2 in the ACC. When it come to SOS you start splitting hairs so it is easier to say top 3 SOS in the ACC. What is really nice about their schedule is only 5 road games, five of nine conference games are in Miami and no Clemson on the schedule.

Miami is one of the few teams in the country that is trying to free base the schedule with no early byes. 3 of the frist 6 are on the road including 3 ACC games. It all starts with a road trip to Louisville. Knowing the propensity of Coach Petrino to win football games with any talent level against any talent level, I feel catching the Cardinals early, even on the road, is a break. I have the Canes winning that game, but it would be an awful start to get beat by a much less talented and new to the ACC coach at Louisville. Week 2 is a home victory over Florida A&M and in week 3 over Arkansas State. The Canes are 3-0 heading out on the road for a true OOC test in Lincoln.

Though they have a better talent ranking this year than the Huskers, Golden is a .500 guy on the road and Pelini wins over 83% of the time I pick him to win at home. This is a huge game for a potential top 15 finish for either team. The home field and coach result trends sway me to Go Big Red. The next 3 games are all against teams outside the top 50 in team talent. These should all be wins, and are picked as such for Miami. However, it goes back to coaching. Lose to Duke and you have been worked over by Coach Cutcliffe. At Georgia Tech in week 6 should be a near lock but again, Golden is a coin flip on the road. The one lock is Cincinnati at Miami. Coach Tuberville was solid in year 1 for the Bearcats, but on the road he does not win a lot of game against better talent. I have the Canes going into the bye week in the top 15 at 6-1. Every game under that I put on coaching, not talent. The gap is too far for the Hurricanes to label it anything else.

Coming out of the bye is a road trip to Blacksburg. The Hokies are tougher on the road than at home and the talent gap between these two are close enough where the home field strength and the coach effect of Beemer push this pick to Virginia Tech. The next week, the opposite occurs when the home field and the very poor coach effect ofCoach Fedora make the pick easy to take the Canes at home against North Carolina. 9 games and 10 weeks in they are 7-2 heading into their final bye of the year. What is it with the week after byes in the ACC? They love to put you on the road are against a conference heavy. Sun Life Stadium should be packed for this game with Florida State. I am still of the opinion the Canes are two more top classes and better coaching away from taking them to beat FSU at home. This one drops them to 7-3. Winning these last two should put them right there for the division title with Virginia Tech. The Hokies should have the tie breaker, if not this is all Canes, but Miami still needs to wins to finish this strong. If the FSU hangover is not too bad, the Canes go to Virginia and get the win. London has been under performing everywhere the last 2 years, so the Canes are my pick on top of their higher talent ranking. The wrap it up with a win at home over out manned Pitt. What I have not accounted for is the -1 game annual coach effect net loss by Coach Golden to drop them to 8-4. Maybe they don’t get bit this year, but if they do look to the road and good coaching.

 

Dave’s Quick and Dirty CFBMatrix Preview:

Talent (T) leads the way and the Canes have a higher roster rank in the Matrix than 11 of the teams they play this year. Other teams in similar situations would be Oregon, Oklahoma and LSU. The field locations (L) of away games are poor and the Canes get adjusted down two games to where the game is played to drop them to 9-3. -1 game for coach effect average by Golden over the last 3 years to finish with an 8-4 season.

2014 Win Loss Schedule Pattern

W, W, W, L, W, W, W, bye, L, W, bye, L, W, W (-1 game coach effect) Finish 8-4

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