Why the Miami Hurricanes Are Unranked
The Hurricanes entered the 2011 season with high hopes from a discouraging 2010 season.
They return a good amount of outstanding players on both sides of the ball, including eight that have been added to award watch lists.
The latest AP poll has Miami ranked just out of the top 25, receiving 32 votes (29th).
Here are the only reasons I can think of on why Miami is not ranked in the top 25.
By now, everyone knows that Miami is under some major heat from the NCAA stemming from allegations from ex-Miami booster Nevin Shapiro.
There are 72 players from 2002 to 2010 who are listed in the allegations, including 13 current Hurricane players.
Although Miami has a very deep team, a possible suspension of those players could prove deadly.
On that list are preseason award list nominees Ray Ray Armstrong, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston, Olivier Vernon and Travis Benjamin.
Those names alone are a majority of the reasons why the Hurricanes were supposed to turn things around from a dismal 7-6 2010 season.
This of course would be the least of their worries, as they now face the possibility of the "death penalty," which would eliminate a football season completely.
Only time will tell on what kind of punishment is handed to the Hurricanes from the NCAA.
Huge Question Mark at Quarterback
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The main reason why the Hurricanes aren't ranked are because of horrible quarterback play from last year's team.
Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris have been fighting for the starting position ever since the end of last year.
Both quarterbacks are very talented, but they each have one major problem: interceptions. They combined for 24 interceptions to just 21 touchdowns.
Without a true leader of the offense and questions if they are not corrected, there is no way the pollsters could put them in the top 25.
Huge Hole at Wide Receiver
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Leonard Hankerson had one of the best receiving seasons in the history of the program last year when he caught 72 passes for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns.
With Hankerson graduating, it leaves a gaping hole at the wide receiver position.
Although Travis Benjamin and LaRon Byrd are coming back, there is still a question if they were able to resolve their problems with catching the ball. Many of the 67 dropped passes last year from Hurricane receivers are the fault of Byrd and Benjamin.
The third receiver spot is still in limbo as well.
Aldarius Johnson, Tommy Streeter and Kendal Thompkins are all in competition for the third spot, but none of them really have the college experience needed to help struggling quarterbacks.
No Returning Cornerbacks
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The Hurricanes went from having two great cornerbacks last year in Brandon Harris and Demarcus Van Dyke to a backup running back and a converted safety.
Yes, you heard that right.
Lee Chambers and JoJo Nicolas are currently listed as the Hurricanes' starting cornerbacks, neither of them having played it at the college level.
Although head coach Al Golden has stated that both players are doing a great job, things will be much different when game time rolls around. If they are unable to perform at a high level, Miami will be in serious trouble this year in defending the pass.
Miami's two backups so far are Brandon McGee (the only player with college cornerback experience) and freshman Thomas Finnie.
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The Hurricanes normally have a pretty hard out of conference schedule the last few years and this year it will not be any different.
Miami starts the season at a very good Maryland team that was 9-4 last year.
The very next game they will face a ranked Ohio State Buckeyes team that are coming off a 12-1 season just a year ago (they did vacate all wins though due to NCAA infractions).
It doesn't get any easier during the season as they have to go on the road against ranked opponents Virginia Tech and Florida State.
The Hokies and the Seminoles played each other last year in the ACC championship game, and the Seminoles are ranked fourth in the country this year.
No Kicking Game
Not many college players kick and punt on their respective teams, but that is exactly what Matt Bosher did for the Hurricanes last year.
This year Miami will have to rely Jake Wieclaw to do one or the other, or both.
Wieclaw's only experience in college is a kickoff against Florida A&M last year.
If the Hurricanes offense is struggling scoring touchdowns like last year, not having an experience kicker could be a killer.
No Other Reason Why They Are Ranked out of the Top 25
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Other then the reasons previously listed, I am really uncertain why Miami is listed so low.
Baring allegations, the offensive line, running backs, defensive lineman and safeties are some of the best in the ACC, if not the nation.
The Hurricanes ended last year 7-6, but with a better coaching staff and over eight players on preseason award watch lists, it baffles me why Miami is left out.
The most irritating thing about the entire top 25 are those teams ahead of Miami.
Take Mississippi State: they are ranked 20th, but are scheduled to play seven ranked teams, meaning a possibility of them going 7-6.
Florida not only has a new coach and a totally changed offensive scheme. Playing six ranked teams, I don't see them winning eight games either.
What this all means to me, besides the obvious SEC favoritism, is the voters believe that Miami will lose at least five games.
Preseason polls are ridiculous.
Miami won't lose more than four; of course that depends on what happens with the ongoing allegations.