Miami football clearly third best team in ACC

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Miami football team is clearly at least the third-best team in the ACC behind Clemson and Notre Dame following the loss by North Carolina at Virginia Saturday.

The upset by Virginia over North Carolina on Saturday night cemented the Miami football team as the third-best in the ACC. North Carolina lost for the second time in the last three weeks. The Tar Heels lost to Florida State and the Cavaliers who Miami has already defeated this season.

Miami won 52-10 against Florida State and defeated Virginia 19-14. Florida State beat UNC 31-28 two weeks ago and lost 44-41 to Virginia Saturday. The Cavaliers and Seminoles are the only common opponents Miami and North Carolina have played this season. Both teams play Wake Forest this month.

Miami is scheduled to play North Carolina State and Virginia Tech who North Carolina has already defeated. None of the teams the Hurricanes have defeated this season are on the Tar Heels remaining schedule. Miami is the only one-loss team in the ACC. Clemson and Notre Dame head to their Saturday showdown undefeated.

North Carolina has arguably the best offense in the ACC. Miami has one of the most explosive offenses but has been inconsistent. The Hurricanes allow six points less per game than the Tar Heels. North Carolina has an edge in total defense. Miami had to play Clemson who UNC does not play this year.

The ESPN Football Power Index ranks the teams nearly identical. Miami received a score of 10 from the FPI. North Carolina has a 9.9 FPI. The FPI projects Miami to win the remainder of its games this season except at Virginia Tech. Miami is given a 56.1 percent chance to defeat North Carolina.

Clemson is third, Notre Dame sixth in the FPI. The Fighting Irish and Tigers are the only ACC programs ranked ahead of Miami in the FPI. Football Outsiders has Miami ranked third in the ACC in their FEI ratings behind Clemson and Notre Dame. The Tigers are third, Fighting Irish seventh and Miami 20th.

Miami was 45th in the FPI in 2019 and 55th in the FEI ratings. The Hurricanes are greatly improved over 2019. In a normal season with Notre Dame an independent, Miami would clearly be the second-best team in the ACC. Having Clemson, Louisville and NC State replace Duke on Miami’s ACC made the season more challenging.

Miami future opponents allow more yards, less points. dark. Next

Other than Clemson, the final five games of the regular season for Miami will be more difficult than the first six. Three of the next four games on the road will challenge the Hurricanes. The toughness of the Miami football team on and off the field will be telling through the remainder of this season.