Miami Football: 5 Teams the Hurricanes Could Beat in a BCS Bowl
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Less than 60 days separate Miami Hurricanes' football fans from the beginning of the 'Canes' 2013 regular-season opener against Florida Atlantic on August 30.
While the team anticipates challenging for the Coastal Division title and, consequently, the ACC championship, many college football fans are expecting the same from Miami.
Senior quarterback Stephen Morris will direct a potent offensive attack stacked with talented receivers, and stud sophomore Duke Johnson can make game-changing plays whenever he touches the ball.
While the dream of a national championship is certainly far-fetched at this time, the 'Canes could make some noise in a BCS game behind the arm of Morris and legs of Johnson.
Northern Illinois Huskies
Jordan Lynch is one of the most exciting NCAA players to watch.
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The Northern Illinois Huskies and its NCAA record-setting quarterback Jordan Lynch snuck into the 2013 Orange Bowl against the Florida State Seminoles, much to the chagrin of the Oklahoma Sooners. The Huskies stuck around until the fourth quarter, but FSU's stifling defense was too much for NIU to overcome.
Fast-forward to the 2013 regular season, and the Huskies are primed to again steal a spot from a power conference team. Yes, NIU must only deal with MACtion (so a weak schedule), but including the conference championship, Lynch can carry his team to an 12-win or undefeated campaign.
While Lynch would likely score a couple of touchdowns against an average Miami defense, the 'Canes offense will flat-out be better than the NIU defense.
The Huskies are a nice underdog story, but like FSU last season, the Hurricanes would simply be too much to handle by the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Tommy Rees will be under center for the Irish.
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Notre Dame was stomped by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS championship game and lost quarterback Everett Golson during the offseason, but the Irish still return a great defense.
If Notre Dame finishes in the Top Eight after the regular season, the team automatically qualifies for a BCS bowl. The Irish will definitely have to earn that spot facing the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, USC and Stanford, but Brian Kelly's squad is talented enough to defeat ND's rivals.
Yes, Notre Dame obliterated the 'Canes last season at the cold and windy Soldier Field, and Tommy Rees, in typical Notre Dame fashion, could lead the Irish to quite a few single-digit victories in 2013, but he is definitely not like the speedy Everett Golson.
Miami would be able to make the Irish one-dimensional on offense, and Morris is more than talented enough pick apart a weak Notre Dame secondary.
Texas A&M Aggies
That Johnny Manziel guy is pretty good.
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Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy, and Texas A&M has many of its offensive threats returning this year. Though an identical masterful performance cannot be expected from Manziel in 2013, the Aggies will be a fine football team with many talented running backs and reliable wide receivers.
Especially due to the Hurricanes' potentially porous defense, a Miami/Texas A&M matchup would undoubtedly be one of the most entertaining offensive battles of the season with a combined final score nearing the 90s. Last season, the Aggies defeated the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in a 59-57 thriller, and that is basically what this game would showcase.
Want more proof?
Texas A&M lost its top five sack-getters, including third-round draft pick Damontre Moore, who had 13.5, and the 'Canes return their top six offensive linemen.
Granted, the ACC has not faced the SEC in a BCS bowl game since 2004.
Driskel's dual-threat ability will cause problems for many of the Gators' opponents.
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How fun would this be?
The Hurricanes and Florida Gators square off during the second weekend of the regular season in Miami, and the September 7 clash should be a fantastic battle.
But because both Miami and Florida are legitimate BCS contenders and the Orange Bowl has the first choice in the 2014 selection order, a rematch is certainly possible.
As pointed out by 247Sports' Thomas Goldkamp, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel's average completion went just 3.94 yards. If the 'Canes defense can contain screen passes and quick throws, Miami will have a quality shot to take down Will Muschamp's crew.
Whether the Hurricanes take down the Gators in September is yet to be seen, but after Miami's defense has at least 10 games to improve, Al Golden's bunch could capitalize on another shot at its in-state foe.
Devin Gardner played admirably in Denard Robinson's place.
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The Hurricanes and Michigan Wolverines last faced each other in 1988 when Miami made a fantastic fourth-quarter comeback en route to a 31-30 victory.
But 25 years later, it is possible the two tradition-laden schools square off in a BCS game. The Orange Bowl pits the ACC champion against an at-large school, and if the SEC sends a team to the national championship has it perennially does, the Big Ten runner-up will be a high priority.
The Orange Bowl has the first choice as previously mentioned, so the Big East—unless Louisville does not make the title game—will not have an appealing option.
Michigan, while the Big Ten is never "easy" per se, plays a somewhat favorable schedule, getting Nebraska and Ohio State at home, so the Wolverines can manage a 10-win season.
Unfortunately for Michigan, the team lost starting linebacker Jake Ryan to an ACL injury and will need to replace the stud.
Though the Wolverines would not be a cakewalk by any means because of Ryan's injury, Miami can take advantage of the other UM's slightly weakened defense. And while Devin Gardner is a solid player, the Hurricanes will already have had experience facing dual-threat QBs in Driskel, Jameis Winston and Logan Thomas.