Miami football finishes fifth in 2021 ACC Power 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 /

After concluding the season with a 7-5 record, the Miami football team was ranked fifth by 247 Sports in the ACC following the conclusion of conference teams playing in bowl games. Miami finished 5-3 in the ACC two games behind conference champion Pittsburgh. Miami won 38-34 at Pittsburgh in October.

Miami has not lost to the ACC Coastal Division Champion since 2016. The Hurricanes won the Coastal Division in 2017, defeated the Panthers when they won in 2018 and Virginia in 2019. ACC Divisions were eliminated in 2020. The Miami football team gave Pittsburgh its only ACC loss in 2021, the Panthers were 6-2 in 2018.

The highlights of the Miami season were the emergence of quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and record settling performances of wide receivers Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo. Harley became the all-time leading receiver in Miami history and Rambo set the single-season record for receptions and receiving yards.

Van Dyke completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. Harley had 57 receptions for 543 yards and five TDs. Harley also set the single-game record with 13 receptions in the last game of the season against Duke. Rambo had 79 receptions for 1,172 yards and seven TDs.

"5. MIAMI (7-5)After a 7-5 finish to the regular season, Miami was not able to participate in the Sun Bowl against Washington State due to COVID-19 protocols. Of course, the big news surrounding the Hurricanes this offseason was the hiring of Oregon’s Mario Cristobal to be the program’s next head coach."

After beginning the season 2-4, Miami won five of its last six. The loss was to Florida State which is probably what cost Manny Diaz his job. Miami began the season with a 44-13 loss to Alabama. A 38-17 loss at home to Michigan State left Miami at 2-2. Miami later had close losses to Virginia and North Carolina.

Miami had a stretch of six straight one-score games. After the losses to Virginia and North Carolina, Miami defeated North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech followed by the loss to Florida State. Pittsburgh was ranked the top team in the ACC at the conclusion of the 2021 season and North Carolina State second.

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Although Miami defeated the top two teams in the conference this season their inconsistencies as usual hindered them. North Carolina finished seventh in the final ACC Power Rankings, Virginia ninth and Florida State 12th. If Miami is going to return to be an elite program in college football they need to beat teams ranked below them.