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College Football Predictions: No. 21 Miami Hurricanes

The big move within the Miami program was hiring former Cane Mario Cristobal from Pac-12 power Oregon. Cristobal brought two of his former Oregon players with him as Miami was among the more active teams in the transfer portal with more than 10 players transferring in and out.

Miami’s recruiting classes in 2020, 2021, and 2022 ranked either second or third among ACC programs so there is plenty of talent for Cristobal and his staff to work with.

College football predictions: No. 21 Miami Hurricanes
Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Heisman Trophy candidate Tyler Van Dyke is back at quarterback and despite some losses at the receiver position, there are enough players coming back for Miami to have one of the better offensive teams in the ACC.

Miami (+475) is second only behind Clemson in the odds to win the ACC title according to college football odds. The odds moved from +550 a couple of months ago. The Hurricanes (+110) have the best odds to win the ACC Coastal Division title.

Miami (+8800) is tied for 13th in the odds to win the national championship according to the sportsbook.

Miami Hurricanes

  • 2021 record: 7-5
  • 2021 conference record: 5-3
  • Head coach: Mario Cristobal
  • Odds to win conference title: +475

Any talk of the offense has to start with Van Dyke. He stepped in for an injured D’Eriq King in 2021 and had 25 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 62.3% of his passes. He threw for 1,869 yards and 16 touchdowns over the last five games. He is listed by the College Football lines with the fifth-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy.

Jaylan Knighton is back after rushing for 561 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games. Knighton had a four-game stretch during the middle of the season when he ran for 417 yards and five touchdowns. Expect to see more of that from Knighton during the upcoming season.

Thaddius Franklin Jr. is another returning running back. He averaged 7.5 yards on his 23 carries during the five games he played in during the 2022 season. Henry Parrish, who ran for 553 yards and had 21 receptions in 2021 at Ole Miss, will also push for time. He ran for 111 yards and had 23 more on three catches against nationally ranked Arkansas to provide a glimpse of his potential.

The top two receivers (Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley) are gone. Six receivers and two tight ends who caught passes for the Hurricanes last season were freshmen. That group is led by Key’Shawn Smith (33 catches, 405 yards) and Xavier Restrepo (24 catches, 373 yards).

Junior Will Mallory led all of Miami’s tight ends with 30 receptions and four touchdowns. Knighton should factor into the passing game after making 20 catches last season. Don’t be surprised to see both of them more involved in the passing game during the 2022 season.

 Frank Ladson, who had 31 catches and six touchdowns in three years at Clemson, figures to make an immediate impact.

Zion Nelson is one of three starters back on the offensive line. He is expected to be one of the top linemen in the ACC. Former Oregon offensive linemen Jonathan Denis and Logan Sagapolu followed Cristobal to Miami.

Leading tackle Corey Flagg is among the top returnees on defense. Waynmon Steed (55 tackles), Kamren Kinchens (44 tackles), Tyrique Stevenson, Gilbert Frierson, Keontra Smith, and Te’Cory Crouch are other key returning players on defense.

There are plenty of incoming transfers on the defensive side of the ball.

West Virginia defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor (80 tackles, 14½ tackles for loss, 5½  sacks) and cornerback Daryl Porter (46 tackles, six pass breakups), UCLA defensive lineman Mitchell Agude (54 tackles, two sacks), and linebacker Caleb Johnson (45 tackles), UAB defensive end Antonio Moultrie (62 tackles) and USC defensive lineman Jake Lichenstein (six tackles for loss, four sacks) will help improve a defense that was ninth in the ACC in points allowed per game and seventh in yards surrendered.

Kicker Andres Borregales, who was 17 of 21 on field goals, and punter Leon Hedley (44.9 yards per punt) both return.

Outlook

There have been plenty of recent transfers out of Miami. That is hardly surprising with a new coach calling the shots. It will be worth monitoring the roster to see if any potential starters opt to head elsewhere.

Miami had three losses by three points or less so the Hurricanes weren’t far from being a 10-win team in 2021.

The Hurricanes will be tested with a Week 3 road game against Texas A&M out of the SEC, a program led by former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.

Playing North Carolina, Florida State and Pittsburgh at home could aid in the Hurricanes’ hopes for a division title and a spot in the ACC championship game for the first time since 2017.

Miami has a projected regular-season win total of 8½, according to the NCAA football odds, with the odds at -125 for the Hurricanes to go over that total and -105 to finish under.

Something for those who bet online to ponder, Miami covered in five of its last seven games last season while there were at least 50 combined points scored in the last 10 contests.

Take a Look at Other 2 NCAAF Special Articles for The Upcoming Season

2022 Schedule

  • Sept. 3 vs Bethune-Cookman
  • Sept. 10 vs Southern Mississippi
  • Sept. 17 at Texas A&M
  • Sept. 24 vs Middle Tennessee State
  • Oct. 8 vs North Carolina
  • Oct. 15 at Virginia Tech
  • Oct. 22 vs Duke
  • Oct. 29 at Virginia
  • Nov. 5 vs Florida State
  • Nov. 12 at Georgia Tech
  • Nov. 19 at Clemson
  • Nov. 26 vs Pittsburgh

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