Miami football has five of ACC 2022 top 10 must-watch games

Oct 23, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

Five of the top 10 games in the ACC in 2022 include the Miami football program in a list recently compiled by 247 Sports. The “ACC football schedule: 10 must-watch games in 2022” was named by Austin Nivison by 247 Sports. Miami hiring Mario Cristobal as their new head coach will create a lot of buzz for the Hurricanes in 2022.

Miami football games versus Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Clemson are ranked in the top 10 of the must-watch games in the ACC in 2022. The game against Pittsburgh could decide the ACC Coastal Division title in the final game of the season. Miami needs to prove it can be competitive versus Clemson.

Virginia Tech hired their own new coach in former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry. North Carolina, Florida State Pittsburgh and Clemson have all had their own attrition in the 2022 offseason. North Carolina and Pittsburgh both have to replace quarterbacks who were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kenny Pickett who was the ACC Player of the Year leading Pittsburgh to the conference championship was the only QB selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Sam Howell who is the all-time leading passer in North Carolina history was a 2022 fifth-round pick by the Washington Commanders.

"“10. MIAMI AT VIRGINIA TECH | OCT. 15This game has intrigue because of the two first-year head coaches involved. Lane Stadium isn’t exactly a library, so Mario Cristobal and the Hurricanes have to be prepared for this one.For Virginia Tech, Brent Pry needs some big wins to pick up some momentum for his program, and beating a rejuvenated Miami team would do that. That would also be a bit of a reversal of fortune for Virginia Tech, which has lost four of its last five matchups against Miami.The Hokies have plenty of reasons to come out firing in this contest.”"

The Miami football team has won two in a row and four of the last five games against Virginia Tech. Miami was 38-26 against Virginia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium in 2021. Tyler Van Dyke threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns versus Virginia Tech in 2021. Will Mallory had a TD reception among the other Miami returnees.

"“7. NORTH CAROLINA AT MIAMI | OCT. 8This is another game between teams hoping to ascend within the ACC Coastal. Coming into the season, this division feels pretty wide open, and the Tar Heels and Hurricanes should be in contention to reach the conference title game.After a rather disappointing season from North Carolina in 2021, Mack Brown and his squad will try to bounce back, and this presents an opportunity for a quality win. That said, it won’t come easy because this will be a big game for the Hurricanes in Mario Cristobal’s first year on the job.The Tar Heels are riding a three-game winning streak in this series as well.”"

North Carolina enters the 2022 season with three straight wins versus Miami. Entering his second season with North Carolina, Drake Maye is the projected starting QB. Maye was a four-star signee with the Tar Heels in 2021. Former Auburn national championship-winning head coach Gene Chizik is the new UNC defensive coordinator.

"6. FLORIDA STATE AT MIAMI | NOV. 5This rivalry game is always important, but the stakes might be a little different in 2022. For the Seminoles, Mike Norvell is in his third season on the job, and this would be a major feather in his cap when it comes time to evaluate his performance at the end of the regular season.For the Hurricanes, this will be Mario Cristobal’s first time as the head coach in this rivalry, and he would love nothing more than to score a big win over his team’s bitter rival. Over the last five seasons, Miami has won four of these games, but Florida State eked out a thrilling 31-28 win in 2021."

The late loss by Miami at Florida State last season ended comebacks from 17-0 and 20-7 by the Hurricanes. In four years as a player at Miami, Cristobal was 3-1 versus Florida State. The lone loss by Miami was in 1989 when the Hurricanes went on to win the national championship. The tone of the rivalry will increase under Cristobal.

"3. PITTSBURGH AT MIAMI | NOV. 26This game might play a key role in determining the winner of the Coastal Division. Last season, the Panthers won the ACC Championship Game, but the Hurricanes handed them their only conference loss.Despite key losses like Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison, the Panthers could still be in the mix for another conference title berth. On the other side of the field, the Hurricanes will be looking to take down the defending champs while trying to reach the ACC Championship themselves.Miami won the last four games in this series, but two of those were decided by just four points."

Despite a mostly mediocre last four seasons, the Miami football team has not lost to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh last defeated Miami in the final game of the 2017 regular season to give the Hurricanes their first loss. In addition to losing Addison and Pickett, Pittsburgh also hired new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr.

"1. MIAMI AT CLEMSON | NOV. 19“If Mario Cristobal wants to make a big statement in his first season with the Hurricanes, what better way to do it than beating Clemson in Death Valley? This also serves as an excellent test for Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke as he tries to assert himself as one of the best in the league.Beyond that, these two teams have a lot of talent, and this game will have major implications on the ACC Standings. The Hurricanes and Tigers have only met three times since 2015, and Clemson has come out on top in each matchup.”"

Next. UM 3rd most favorable schedule among ACC title contenders. dark

The struggles the Miami football program has had in the last three games versus Clemson have been well documented. If both teams have good seasons, the Hurricanes and Tigers could be the biggest game in the ACC this season as is projected by 247 Sports. Miami has a lot to accomplish before playing Clemson.