Miami Hurricanes ACC dark horse college football playoff contender

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; . Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; . Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes have gotten a lot of buzz during the 2021 offseason with 19 returning starters. Quarterback D’Eriq King is a Heisman Trophy contender. Games against Alabama and at North Carolina with Clemson likely waiting in the ACC Championship Game if Miami wins the ACC Coastal, the schedule is difficult.

The Miami Hurricanes would have to win at least two out of those three potential games and probably all three to qualify for the College Football Playoff. With a playmaker as dynamic as King Miami will always have a chance to win. The Hurricanes are going to have to prove they can compete in big games first.

The Miami Hurricanes lost by a combined 104-43 to Clemson and North Carolina in 2020. If Miami is going to contend for the ACC Coastal Division title and be a potential dark horse for the CFP they need to play better in big games. Miami was anointed as the ACC dark horse for the CFP by 247 Sports.

King has accomplished things at QB that no one else in college football has in recent seasons. The Hurricanes need to maximize the final season under King. Miami won their first 10 games including their first outright ACC Coastal Division title and Conference Championship Game appearance with Malik Rosier at QB in 2017.

"ACC – MIAMIStop me if you’ve heard this name before: D’Eriq King. There’s Clemson with DJ Uiagalelei and North Carolina with Sam Howell. But Miami boasts a great quarterback of their own.In his first season with the Hurricanes, King finished with 2,686 yards, 23 touchdowns, five interceptions, a 64.1% completion percentage, 538 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.  If King plays at his Heisman projected peak, there’s no reason to think Miami can’t get it done in a more open ACC in 2021.Since Trevor Lawrence is gone, there’s reason to expect a slight drop off for Clemson, giving an opening to a team like North Carolina and of course, Miami.  Miami opens up with Alabama in 2021, giving them a big time measuring stick to start the year. Just imagine if they beat them.The best single game example of the impact King can make on a game?  His performance during a dramatic 44-41 comeback victory at N.C. State, when he threw for 430 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 105 yards.There have been only two instances in the last three seasons where a quarterback threw for 400 yards and ran for 100 yards in the same game — and King is responsible for both. King became the first quarterback in the last 20 years to have two games with 400 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and five touchdowns.He also was the first Miami quarterback to have a 400-100 game and his 430 passing yards ranks eighth on UM’s single-game list."

Quarterbacks Howell, Uiagalelei and Bryce Young of Alabama will provide great challenges for the Miami defense and should provide great drama with King for the Hurricanes this season. It could take more 400-100 games from King for Miami to win against Alabama, Clemson and North Carolina.

North Carolina ran for 554 yards against Miami last season. The Tar Heels lost their top two running back from 2020. The Hurricanes for Miami in 2021 will likely come down to how well the defense performs, particularly in big games. Playing Alabama in the season opener, the defense has to perform at a high level immediately.

Next. Miami future could be determined by three 2021 events. dark

King has a chance to break the single-season total yardage record of 3,588 set by Rosier in 2017. If Miami plays 13 games this season as they did in 2017, King would finish with 3,325 yards at his 2020 pace. The Miami offense should improve in 2021 in the second season with King at QB and Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator.