J.D. PicKell breaks down if Miami will be a top 10 team: "Can they do it? I think they can"

On3 imageby:CaneSport.com Staff04/07/24


Will Miami Be a Top 10 Team in 2024?

Can the Miami Hurricanes be a top 10 team in 2024? Well, let’s consider for a moment that this is a program with just one 10-win season in the last two decades. So on face value perhaps that seems like a stretch. But with the roster that Mario Cristobal has built up off the last two years including the transfer additions with highly touted QB Cam Ward, perhaps this preseason has generated the most realistic belief it can happen.

And there’s also a believer in the On3 network – The Hard Count’s J.D. PicKell.

He recounts how every year it seems like the big, vocal Miami fan base is optimistic … only to see not much come of it in recent memory.

So why is this year different?

“A lot of people will talk about college football (and) what happened previously with no gauge of the idea of improvement and potential and what could happen,” PicKell says. “It’s `Oh, we hear this all the time about Miami.’ Those people will be quick to point to the game where Miami should have taken a knee to Georgia Tech and `one decision defines Mario Cristobal as a coach, as a team.’”

PicKell goes on to say he “really gets Texas vibes from Miami.”

“Texas vibes from a season ago,” he says. “Same narrative – `I can’t believe Texas is saying this again.’ Then Texas (went from records of 5-7 and 8-5 to 12-2) puts it together with a talented quarterback, makes the college football playoffs.”

PicKell acknowledges that perhaps Miami doesn’t have one of the most talented rosters in college football, but says the team’s got enough talent to beat most, if not all, the teams on its schedule. The toughest games, after all, are expected to be against an FSU team with a lot of personnel losses, Louisville, and at a Florida team that had a losing record in 2023.

“The reason I think this (a top 10 ranking) is very possible is because Miami’s schedule allows that to be a possibility,” PicKell said. “Game 1 is at Florida, in the Swamp. After that they should have the roster advantage in every single game until they get to Oct. 19 at Louisville. They get a bye right before Louisville. The game against Virginia Tech if it was in Blacksburg maybe you feel uneasy about it (but it’s at UM)…. The tough stretch is the two-game stretch at Louisville and then Florida State. You get to play Florida State at the crib. If Miami is playing well you’ll see a home field advantage. So there’s Florida State, Louisville, no Clemson on the schedule.”

PicKell also isn’t sure if Miami will just be top 10 at some point in the season or end in the top 10. But he feels good about a top 10 coming in some shape or form.

“If they split Florida State and Louisville and win the games they are supposed to from a roster perspective – 11-1 you are top 10, 10-2 in the conversation for top 10, making the college football playoff.

“Can they do it? I think they can.”
He goes on to say that “When you talk about Miami and their ability to do something like that this upcoming season – the conversation used to be `I don’t know if they have the dudes to do it.’ I don’t think that’s the case at Miami. Now, do they have the best roster in the ACC? That’s more of a question mark. But when you talk about Miami this upcoming season they are, in my opinion, at least within striking distance. If they have the best roster or not is a whole different discussion. But they have a good enough roster to quite frankly win every game on their schedule. Will they do it? It comes down to coaching, execution.”

PicKell also says a key will be QB Cam Ward’s play.

“Miami scored 30 points a game in 2023,” PicKell said. “The last couple of seasons tell us you have to score in the range of around 35 points a game to win a conference. … Cam Ward making you a touchdown better? That’s possible.”

The bottom line takeaway if Miami is indeed a top 10 team this year?

“That means Mario Cristobal is as advertised when he got to The U,” PicKell said.  “If this happens, the ripple effect in recruiting that Miami will see – it’ll be a tidal wave.”

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