National CFB expert ranks Miami football most ready to win in Florida

Jan 22, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Longtime college football expert Mike Farrell ranks the Miami football program as the readiest to win in-state ahead of Florida and Florida State. Florida hired head coach Billy Napier from Louisiana during the 2022 offseason and Miami hired Mario Cristobal from Oregon. Mike Norvell is entering his third season at Florida State.

Cristobal has far more experience as a head coach than Napier or Norvell. Napier is entering his first season as a Power Five head coach. Norvell did not have Power Five experience before he was hired by Florida State from Memphis. Florida State is 8-13 in their first two seasons with Norvell as the head coach.

Norvell was 38-15 in four seasons at Memphis. Prior to the Tigers, Norvell was on the staffs of Todd Graham at Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Graham has a 106-72 career record. Napier was 40-12 in four seasons as the head coach at Louisiana. As an assistant, Napier coached under Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney.

Cristobal is also on the Saban coaching tree. From 2013 through 2016, Cristobal and Napier were on the Alabama coaching staff together. Cristobal has a 62-60 career record but was 35-13 in four-plus years as the head coach at Oregon. The Miami football program with access to recruiting is the best opportunity for Cristobal.

Miami will have a significantly different-looking roster in 2022. After losses to early entry to the NFL, graduation and transfers, plus the additions of freshman and 11 players through the transfer portal, Miami will have 25 new players. In 2021 Miami had the 13th best roster in college football according to 247 Sports.

Florida had the seventh-best roster in 2021 and Florida State 20th. Miami signed the 16th best 2022 Class, Florida 17th and Florida State 21st. Florida has the difficulty playing in the SEC East. The Gators have to compete with defending National Champion Georgia. The ACC path will depend on where Clemson is in 2022.

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The Tigers had their worst season since 2014, finishing 10-3. Florida State is in the ACC Atlantic with Clemson. Miami plays Clemson this season, but will not play the Tigers again until likely 2029. Miami has the clearest path of the three Power Five Florida universities with readiness for success in the next four years.