Do the Miami Hurricanes Have the Toughest Path to the College Football Playoff?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 21: Travis Homer /

The old saying is that good teams find a way to win. The Miami Hurricanes have done that over the last four weeks with wins all decided in the last two minutes.

In spite of that, the tenth ranked team in the College Football Poll is getting repeated criticism as the most overrated team in the country. The Miami Hurricanes will have a chance to rectify that in the next two weeks.

The Miami Hurricanes won the last four games by a combined total of 18 points. They have received a lot of criticism for not yet defeated a ranked team. The majority of pundits have criticized Miami for a soft schedule.

The Hurricanes schedule has been hindered by a variety of factors. Florida State’s 2-5 season have hurt Miami’s profile. The Seminoles were ranked third in the preseason polls but have struggled this season. They lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois in their season-opening loss to Alabama.

The next two weeks against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame plus potentially the ACC Championship will strengthen the Miami argument over the next month. USA Today laid out the Hurricanes season.

Erick Smith

"Miami (Fla.) has emerged as one of just four major unbeaten teams left standing. Yet, the Hurricanes are only No. 10 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings because of a weak schedule and too many close wins against inferior competition. Though the snub might seem unfair, consider their best win probably is Toledo. Strength of schedule won’t be a problem going forward. Virginia Tech and Notre Dame visit South Florida in the next two weeks.If Miami can somehow survive those two games, there is a likely matchup against Clemson in the ACC title game. That’s three teams in the top 15, including two in the top four. Other teams may have comparable scheduled, but you also have to consider the Hurricanes are probably the weakest of the remaining contenders, making their gauntlet much more difficult than the others. On the bright side, successfully making it through (no matter how close the wins) would leave no doubt about their participation in the College Football Playoff."

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  • Inferior competition is subjective. The wins have all been in the ACC. Ultimately each team in the discussion for the college football playoff will be judged on its victories and strength of schedule. Toledo is 7-1. It’s not Miami’s fault that Florida State and North Carolina are having down seasons.

    USA Today’s Dan Wolken also singled out the Miami Hurricanes as having the toughest path to getting to the College Football Playoff.

    Dan Wolken

    "“For Miami to get to the playoff, the Hurricanes will have to beat three of the top 13 teams in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s first set of rankings. In other words, they’ll very much have earned it if they can pull this off. The good news for Miami is none of the three would be on the road. The bad news is, it’s hard to envision this team beating Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Clemson over the next five Saturdays.Miami has been hanging onto its undefeated record by the thinnest of margins, beating Florida State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and North Carolina by a combined 18 points in its last four games. On the other hand, if you squint hard enough, maybe this Miami team will turn out like Auburn in 2013, which was barely hanging in the race but turned into a monster down the stretch. Obviously, if Miami finishes off an undefeated run to the ACC title, they’re getting in the playoff. And if they can somehow win two big home games, then defeat Clemson for the ACC title, it won’t even be an argument.”"

    It’s questionable if it’s hard for Miami to win the three aforementioned games. Virginia Tech and Notre Dame are at home. Luxuries the Hurricanes did not have last season.

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    Clemson would be on a neutral field in Charlotte. At least neutral in theory. Clemson is about a 135-mile drive from Charlotte where the ACC Championship will be held. Miami beat Syracuse at home. Clemson lost to the Orange at the Carrier Dome