Should Miami football be considered one of 2021’s most disappointing teams?

Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team began the 2021 season ranked 14th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 16th in the USA Today coaches poll. Three weeks into the 2021 season, Miami was out of the rankings. Miami dropped from 14th to 22nd in the AP Poll after losing the season opener 44-13 to Alabama.

The Hurricanes dropped two spots after a 25-23 victory over Appalachian State in Week two. Following a 38-17 home loss to Michigan State, Miami fell out of the rankings for good in the 2021 season. The Hurricanes rebounded with a 69-0 victory over FCS Central Connecticut State. Miami dropped its next two games.

Tight losses with chances to win games against Virginia and North Carolina gave Miami a 2-4 record to begin the season. Miami had to win five of its final six games to finish with a winning record. Along the way, Miami lost multiple starters including quarterback and team leader D’Eriq King.

The Tyler Van Dyke era was born out of the King injury. Van Dyke was exceptional, especially in the final six games of the season. The first start for Van Dyke was against Central Connecticut State. There were high hopes and expectations for the Miami football team in 2021. The season was a disappointment.

Should Miami be considered one of “College football’s most-disappointing teams during (the) 2021 season.”? Brad Crawford of 247 Sports did not include Miami as one of his 10 most disappointing teams in 2021. Nine of the 10 teams on Crawford’s list began the season ranked. Crawford’s list of 10 is below.

"INDIANA HOOSIERS (2-10) Preseason ranking: No. 17IOWA STATE CYCLONES (7-5) Preseason ranking: No. 7USC TROJANS (4-8) Preseason ranking: No. 15CLEMSON TIGERS (9-3) Preseason ranking: No. 3NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (6-6)  Preseason ranking: No. 10LSU TIGERS (6-6) Preseason ranking: No. 16TEXAS LONGHORNS (5-7) Preseason ranking: No. 21PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (7-5) Preseason ranking: No. 19FLORIDA GATORS (6-7) Preseason ranking: No. 13NEBRASKA HUSKERS (3-9) Preseason ranking: N/A"

Only four of the disappointing teams on Crawford’s list began the season higher ranked than Miami. Throughout most of the last 15 years, Miami has not reached the expectations they had at the beginning of the season. Recently, the 2016, 2017 and 2020 teams are the only Hurricanes teams to exceed preseason expectations.

Miami finished 9-4 in 2016 in the first season under Mark Richt. Miami entered the 2017 season without all-time leading passer Brad Kaaya. The Hurricanes finished the 2017 season winning its only ACC Coastal Division title, making their first ACC Championship Game appearances and played in the Orange Bowl.

Miami entered 2021 with 19 returning starters. Many of those starters including King were lost for the season with injuries or were beaten out by young players throughout the year. Miami enters 2022 with a projection of 13 returning starters. In the first season of the Mario Cristobal era, Miami will have high expectations again.

Most of those expectations will come from the Miami fanbase. The Hurricanes will be a borderline top 25 team. Despite the disappointment of a 7-5 record, Miami had a lot of growth in 2021. Van Dyke and running back Jaylan Knighton had breakout seasons. Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo set Miami receiving records.

Next. Herbstreit spoke to Cristobal about Miami head coaching job. dark

The 2022 offseason will be another one of transition for the Miami football program. Cristobal has to hire a new staff while continuing to recruit looking forward to National Signing Day in February. Miami currently had nine signees plus one transfer. The Hurricanes 2022 offseason will be interesting.