Manny Diaz projects Miami football with chance at the playoff

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 02: (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 02: (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /

During an appearance on Golic and Wingo on ESPN Tuesday, Manny Diaz stated “there’s no doubt” when asked if the Miami football team had a chance to reach the College Football Playoff in 2019.

The conversation about the destiny of the 2019 Miami football team was part of a broader discussion about the evolution of college football from the complete bowl system to the Bowl Championship Series to the College Football Playoff.

In the five seasons of the college football playoff, Miami has only come close to earning a bid in 2017. The Hurricanes started the 2017 season 10-0 and rose to second in the college football playoff rankings behind Alabama in penultimate rankings of the regular season.

Miami lost its final regular-season game at Pittsburgh and was blown out 38-3 in the ACC Championship game to end hopes of a playoff berth. Miami’s 2019 hopes likely hinge on their season opener against Florida and if they can reach the ACC Championship Game, a likely meeting with four-time defending ACC champion Clemson.

The Hurricanes will likely be favored in the 11 games between Florida and potentially the ACC Championship game. In the preseason poll released on Monday, Miami was picked to finish second in the ACC Coastal behind Virginia.

With games against the Cavaliers and Virginia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium, the Hurricanes have a realistic chance at winning their second Coastal Division title in three years.

Diaz is preaching a positive message to his team


"“There’s no doubt…We know this: if we can win our division, which is highly competitive, we know will be in Charlotte, we have a good idea who will be waiting for us in Charlotte if we get there.We know that we outscore that team, we will be in the playoff and we know that because we looked at them eye-to-eye two years ago. Now we flinched [in that game]. We didn’t play very well, but our guys at least have seen that setting, they understand what it takes to perform on that level.”"

Other than the all senior linebacker corps of Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud, offensive guard Navaughn Donaldson and running back DeeJay Dallas not many of the players on the 2019 Miami football players played key roles in the loss to Clemson in the 2017 ACC Championship game.

Dallas ran the ball seven times for 44 yards against the Tigers, frequently out of the Wildcat. A Michael Badgley field goal late in the fourth quarter prevented a shutout. This season provides opportunities for Miami to once again put themselves in position to earn a surprising place among contenders for the college football playoff.

A victory over Florida would be a huge start and give the team a boost to achieve big things in 2019. The Gators are coming off of a 10-3 2018 but were 4-7 in 2017.

Dan Mullen is entering his second season in Gainesville. Diaz was Mullen’s defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2010 and ’15. He knows Mullen’s offense as well as anyone.

If Miami takes care of business in the games they are supposed to win they should wind up in Charlotte in December. Diaz and the players that return from the 2017 team will have a much greater idea of how to play against Clemson in 2019. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos coached in the SEC Championship game at Alabama in 2018.

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As Diaz stated the goal is to get to Charlotte. If they accomplish that, a win the ACC Championship game will create many possibilities.