Miami football surprise team by national analyst Phil Steele

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program is mentioned as one of 12 surprise teams for the 2021 season by longtime analyst Phil Steele. Miami improved from 6-7 in 2019 to 8-3 in 2020. The Hurricanes return 19 starters as head coach Manny Diaz enters his third season as head coach. Winning the ACC Coastal Division is an attainable goal.

Steele is a longtime college football analyst who states in his annual preview that the Hurricanes could be one step away from the playoff. Miami would have to win out after a likely loss to Alabama in the season opener according to Steele. The Hurricanes and Crimson Tide play on September 4 in Atlanta.

The other marquee game for Miami in 2021 is at North Carolina on October 16. The Hurricanes at the Tar Heels is projected to be the de facto ACC Coastal Division Championship Game. Miami could have a path to the ACC Championship Game if North Carolina loses games they are not expected to as they did last season.

The Miami football team has to win out if they lose to Alabama to have a chance to make the College Football Playoff and Steele hypothesized. Clemson will almost definitely win the Atlantic Divison. If Miami wins all of their games except Alabama and a potential ACC Championship Game against Clemson, the CFP is a longshot.

"5. MIAMI HURRICANESWhat Steele said: “Last year they pulled Clemson out of the Atlantic and this year avoid them. Even if they lose to the Tide they can win the rest of their games to get to the ACC title game and putting them one step away from the playoff.”Our take: Will the U return to national prominence this season? Steele thinks so. We’re holding our breath to see how the Hurricanes fare in the early going, especially in their season opener against top-ranked Alabama.Winning a Coastal title this season is there for the taking with the showdown vs. North Carolina being of utmost importance."

Comments by Steele were quoted by 247 Sports who added their own analysis to the 2021 outlook for the Miami football team. National respect early for Miami in 2021 will depend on how well the Hurricanes play against Alabama. Alabama has not lost a season opener in the 12 seasons under Nick Saban.

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According to the ESPN Football Power Index, Miami will be favored in every game except Alabama. In likelihood, once the season starts, the Hurricanes are likely to be favored in every game except against the Crimson Tide and North Carolina. Miami needs to continue to win games they are expected to as they did last season.