Miami football third best ACC strength of schedule per CBS Sports

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami football program has the third toughest strength of schedule in the ACC according to Chip Patterson of CBS Sports. The season opener against Alabama will draw the eyes of college football for a matinee at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Miami has three challenging non-conference games after Alabama.

The Hurricanes host Appalachian State, Michigan State and quality FCS opponent Central Connecticut State to conclude non-conference play. Earlier this week the Miami non-conference scheduled was ranked sixth nationally by USA Today. Miami has seven home games this season, for on the road and one neutral site game.

The Miami football team opens the season against an SEC team for the third time in the last four years at a neutral site. The Hurricanes lost 33-17 to LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in 2018 and 24-20 to Florida at Camping World Stadium in Orlando in 2019. Miami defeated UAB 31-14 at home in the 2020 season opener.

The Miami strength of schedule will be focused on Alabama, particularly in the non-conference. A trip to North Carolina on October 16 is projected as the de facto ACC Coastal Division Championship Game. Miami also travels to Florida State in ACC play. North Carolina State and Virginia Tech highlight ACC home games.

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"“3 Miami (Fla.)Opening the season with Alabama is the starting point for any discussion regarding Miami’s schedule strength, but if you are going to play Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, I’d argue that this is the most ideal spot.It’s going to be the first game of the season after a mass exodus of NFL talent, particularly on offense, and some of the most single-season turnover that Saban has seen on his coaching staff since arriving in Tuscaloosa.After Alabama, it gets no easier with one of the top teams in the Sun Belt (Appalachian State) and a competitive Power Five squad (Michigan State), but at least those games are at home, along with a tough rotating cross-division opponent in NC State.If Florida State were closer to where it wants to be and Michigan State was further along in its rebuilding process, Miami might have the toughest schedule in the ACC. Instead, it’s one of the most dangerous because so many of these apparent wins against quality opponents could potentially flip the other way.”"

Appalachian State and Michigan State will be challenging, but it seems like a stretch for Patterson to say “it gets no easier.” The Miami football team recovered after their 42-17 loss to Clemson last season to win their next five games. Not playing well after big games have been a problem for Miami frequently in the last 15 years.

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If the Hurricanes can remain focused no matter what the outcome is against the Crimson Tide a successful season should transpire. With 19 starters returning including quarterback D’Eriq King, expectations will be high for Miami in 2021. The schedule has potential roadblocks that will determine how the season plays out.