Miami football sixth in USA Today spring ACC Power Rankings

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program has always been one of the most polarizing nationally. Expectations for Miami in the inaugural season under Mario Cristobal have varied nationally. USA Today in its ACC spring football power rankings has Miami sixth. Other outlets including 247 Sports expect a much better season for the Hurricanes.

Miami quarterbacks led by returning starter Tyler Van Dyke were efficient in the spring game. Thad Franklin and Henry Parrish who were the only healthy scholarship running backs in the Miami spring were also productive. It has been widely reported that Miami football players received more hands-on coaching this spring.

Miami will be tested this season with games at Texas A&M on September 17 and Clemson on November 19. Van Dyke returning at QB sets a good foundation for Miami in the inaugural season under Cristobal. Paul Myerberg of USA Today has Miami third in the ACC Coastal behind Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

Myerberg ranks North Carolina third and defending ACC Champion Pittsburgh fifth overall in the conference. Each ACC team was ranked from one through 14 with Myerberg summarizing all of the teams in the conference. Miami finished fifth in the ACC during the 2021 season with a 5-3 record.

"6. Miami (7-5)“Mario Cristobal won’t reverse Miami’s direction from the start, though his focus on recruiting, development and an embrace of the program’s long-dormant swagger seems like the perfect recipe for the Hurricanes. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is the face of the team after a superb rookie year, and rightfully so.But the Hurricanes will contend for the conference championship game only if the pass rush and overall team tackling is far better than in 2021.”"

Cristobal and his staff have already upgraded the recruiting and development for the Miami football program. The swagger for the Miami football program will happen if Cristobal can lead Miami to win consistently and contend for ACC Coastal Division and conference championships.

Cristobal added help for the pass rush during the offseason. Miami signed four-star edge rushers Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss and added Mitchell Agude as a transfer from UCLA. New co-defensive coordinators Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong have been working on the tackling for Miami this spring.

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Miami needs to improve defensively in 2022. The Hurricanes have regressed defensively from what was a dominant defense in 2018. Linebacker play has been inconsistent for Miami in the last two seasons. Consistent productions from their LBs will be critical for success defensively from Miami in 2022.