Miami football has top 10 non-conference schedule nationally

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 09: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 09: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami football team plays one of its most challenging recent non-conference schedules in 2021. Miami is ranked sixth in a post from USA Today on Sunday evaluating all 64 programs in Power Five conferences.  The Hurricanes open with Alabama at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Miami will conclude their non-conference schedule with challenging games against Appalachian State and Michigan State and FCS Central Connecticut State. Alabama has to replace six first-round draft picks that tied the Miami record for one draft set in 2004. The Crimson Tide reloads instead of replacing players.

Alabama is likely to be the consensus number one team in the 2021 preseason top 25. Appalachian State finished 18th in the final rankings in 2020, Michigan State is rebuilding under second-year head coach Mel Tucker and Central Connecticut State finished 11-2 in 2019 before sitting out the 2020-21 season.

Alabama is the third opener against an SEC team for Miami in the last four years. The Hurricanes lost 33-17 to LSU in the 2018 season opener and 24-20 against Florida in 2019. Playing Alabama is another level from their SEC rivals. Alabama wins season openers by an average of 25 points under Nick Saban, 23 PPG against ranked teams.

"6. Miami: Alabama in Atlanta, Appalachian State, Michigan State, Central Connecticut. Rough road for the Hurricanes. Michigan State is down, but Appalachian State is a rugged mid-major."

If the Miami football team can emerge 3-1 from their non-conference schedule is had to be considered a success. The Hurricanes would set up for a successful season. Miami hosts Virginia, Virginia Tech North Carolina State and Georgia Tech in ACC play. Miami travels to North Carolina, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State and Duke in the ACC.

Next. CBS Sports has high 2021 expectations for Miami. dark

The North Carolina game is the one being looked at nationally. Miami at North Carolina on October 16 is the likely defacto ACC Coastal Division Championship Game. The Tar Heels non-conference schedule ranks 15th. North Carolina hosts Georgia State, Wake Forest (yes a non-conference game) Wofford and plays at Notre Dame.