Four 2021 Miami football opponents in initial CFP rankings

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team has two win and two losses against teams in the initial 2021 College Football Playoff rankings that were released on Tuesday night. Alabama who defeated Miami 44-13 in the season opener is ranked second. Michigan State who beat the Hurricanes 38-17 in week three is ranked third.

Miami defeated number 25 Pittsburgh 38-34 on Saturday at Heinz Field. The Hurricanes defeated number 19 North Carolina State 31-30 on October 23. Number 17 Mississippi State, 21st ranked Wisconsin are the only teams in the College Football Playoff rankings with three losses at 5-3 this season.

Miami was a couple of plays away from being 6-2. The Hurricanes lost to Virginia 30-28 when true freshman kicker Andres Borregales hit the left upright on a game-winning field goal.  In the next Miami game against North Carolina on October 16, the Hurricanes were driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown or game-tying field goal.

A Tyler Van Dyke pass was tipped at the line of the scrimmage and intercepted at the line of scrimmage with six seconds remaining. The Tar Heels ran out the clock from there. Miami plummeted to 2-4 following the loss to North Carolina. That set up the last two games against NC State and Pittsburgh.

In part because of its strength of schedule, the Miami football team is ranked 23rd in the ESPN Football Power Rankings. Alabama and Michigan State control their own destinies to make the College Football Playoff. If Alabama wins out they will be the number one seed in the College Football Playoff.

If the Crimson Tide loses one more game this season they are almost definitely out of the College Football Playoff. The Spartans play Purdue and Maryland the next two weeks before traveling to College Football Playoff, fifth-ranked Ohio State on November 20. Michigan State finishes the season against Penn State.

The Nittany Lions are 22nd in the AP Top 25. Miami will have a difficult time breaking into the College Football Playoff top 25 this season. The Hurricanes will be favored in their last four games against Georgia Tech, at Florida State, versus Virginia Tech and at Duke. Only Virginia Tech is ranked in the FPI top 60.

After a 2-4 start, Miami can focus on winning out and finishing the season with six straight victories. For the first time since the College Football Playoff began, the ACC will be shut out. Florida State lost in the first College Football Playoff semifinals in 2014 and Clemson earned bids from 2015 through 2020.

Wake Forest who is 8-0 is the fourth ACC team ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Demon Deacons game against NC State on November 13 will decide the representative in the ACC Championship Game from the Atlantic. Pittsburgh still controls their own destiny in the Coastal.

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Miami needs both Pittsburgh and Virginia to lose at least once to have a chance to win the Coastal. If Miami were to finish in a three-way tie, the Hurricanes need Pittsburgh to defeat Virginia on November 20 to have a chance in the tiebreaker. The Hurricanes already lost to the Cavaliers.