National website projects Miami football could win 2022 ACC

Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program is projected to win the ACC as one of “five crazy things that could happen next season” by Mike Farrell of Rivals.Com. There will be high expectations for the Miami football program in 2022 with the hiring of new head coach Mario Cristobal and the return of starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.

Miami returns seven starters each on defense and offense plus kicker Andres Borregales and punter Lou Hedley. The Hurricanes will have to replace their entire defensive line. Miami returns three starters returning on the offensive line. The Hurricanes also lost starting wide receivers, Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo.

The defensive and offensive lines, linebacker and wide receiver are the biggest areas of concern for Miami entering the 2022 season. Miami hired Kevin Steele who is expected to coach LBs. Joe Salave’a is the new DL coach and Alex Mirabal is coaching the OL. All of those changes are expected to upgrade production.

Miami has gotten a few mentions for early preseason top 25s. The return of Van Dyke is an important foundation. Miami will be deep at the skill positions on offense. Cristobal and Mirabal should be able to improve the play on the OL. Farrell compared Miami to the 2021 surprise team in the NFL.

"3. Miami wins the ACC — This is the Bengals comparison. Zac Taylor wasn’t a new coach like Mario Cristobal is but Cincinnati was a talented team that needed confidence and playmakers to step up and Miami has the playmakers."

Cincinnati had playmakers on offense that returned from its 2020 team and drafted former LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase. Miami returns playmakers in 2022 and adds transfers, RB Henry Parrish from Mississippi and WR Frank Ladson from Clemson. Cristobal hired a nearly new coaching staff.

The additions of defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis could infuse more confidence to the Miami football program. Steele is an experienced DC who has been successful throughout his career. Gattis will change the culture of the Miami offense to make it more physical.

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Miami could be one of the favorites to win the ACC Coastal Division entering the 2022 season. Winning the ACC will likely depend on how improved Clemson is from what was a down season with a 10-3 record for them in 2021. The projection from Farrell does not seem as unlikely as it might have been in past seasons.