Miami football outlook ranked 15th nationally by ESPN

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 team hopes to improve on their 2020 8-3 record. Miami will be favored in nine or 10 out of their 12 scheduled games in 2021 depending on the source. Miami is a pro4hibitive underdog in the season opener against Alabama. At North Carolina on October 16 could be a tossup.

The Miami football program showed significant development in their second season under Manny Diaz after finishing 6-7 in 2019. The addition of quarterback D’Eriq King as a transfer from Houston and Rhett Lashlee as the new offensive coordinator transformed the entire Miami team. King and Lashlee return in 2021.

Miami won eight of their first nine games last season. The Hurricanes ended the regular season with a blowout loss to North Carolina before falling to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl. Miami enters the 2021 season with winning the ACC Coastal Division Title a realistic goal. Any goals beyond that begin with winning the Coastal.

Miami could have to beat North Carolina for a realistic goal of winning 10 games. Without a victory against the Tar Heels, Miami would likely have to win out assuming they also lose to Alabama. The Hurricanes enter the 2021 season ranked in the teens by most media outlets. ESPN ranks Miami 15th to begin the 2021 season.

"15. Miami Hurricanes2020 record: 8-32021 preseason FPI: 10Key September game: Sept. 4 vs. AlabamaSeason outlook: Quarterback D’Eriq King has navigated his rehab from another knee injury better than anyone had imagined when he got hurt in the bowl game, and his return has boosted expectations for a program still finding its footing under Manny Diaz.But the Hurricanes also start the season against Alabama, a tough first test that might end up defining the season. Beyond King’s return, there is optimism the defense will fare better with nine starters back, and Diaz is calling the plays again after making defensive-staff changes this past offseason. — (Andrea) Adelson"

King by all accounts from the Miami coaching staff is ready for Alabama. Miami has to avoid letting the game against Alabama define the season. In spite of the outcome against the Crimson Tide, Miami has to be ready to play their home opener against Appalachian State a week later. The Mountaineers finished 2020 ranked 18th.

Miami hosts Michigan State week three. The Spartans are rebuilding in their second season under Mel Tucker but still present a challenge as a Power Five team. Miami rebounded well after their loss to Clemson last season with five straight victories. That was unfortunately followed by losses to North Carolina and Oklahoma State.

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A loss to Alabama would extend the losing streak to three after the losses to the Tar Heels and Cowboys to end 2020. King has proven to be an adept leader that has helped changed the Miami football program. Head coach Manny Diaz has stated that King will have an impact on the QB unit after he leaves following the 2021 season.