The optimism is refreshing. It’s OK for fans to get swept up, to anticipate a big season rather than assume everything will crumble again.
Hope is free, and it feels good.
“Mustn’t look ahead,” you say?
Forget that, too!
Coaches and players can never admit to looking ahead. For media and fans, though, it’s fine to indulge — that’s human nature.
No laws against it. Plus, isn’t anticipation half the fun? So let’s look ahead.
Unabashedly, we’re going to see the glass for each team’s outlook not only half full, but maybe carrying champagne, OK?
Collegians first, then pros.
Fast start for UM
Savannah State next and then woeful USF should see UM 4-0 before the first Atlantic Coast Conference game, Oct. 5 against Georgia Tech. Yellow Jackets are pretty good, but Canes have beaten them four in a row, and the game is here.
The only remaining game where Miami will be a clear underdog is Nov. 2 at eighth-ranked Florida State.
Don’t get me wrong here. The optimism isn’t blinding us. I’m not saying, “look out, Alabama” and I do not assume unless they prove it that the Hurricanes are better than the third-best team in the ACC after Clemson and FSU.
But with a break or two including some fairness from the NCAA, this has a chance to be a big season for the Canes. I’m talking ACC title-game big, top-10 big and major-bowl big.
I didn’t have a lot of company in predicting Miami would make the playoffs this season, but I now think that more than ever. Again, don’t get this wrong. I’m not saying the Dolphins are close to Denver’s echelon or a championship contender.
What I am saying is Miami looks like the best team in the AFC East right now; yes, better than New England. The Patriots rallied to edge Buffalo 23-21 then unimpressively survived the Jets 13-10, with Tom Brady yelling at his receivers over dropped passes the snapshot from that one.
Even when the Pats get fully healthy, they still have lost a lot of weapons and have defensive issues. They convey a club fighting to stave off decline and stay out front of a Dolphins team gaining on them fast.
And the player at the forefront of that ascension: quarterback Ryan Tannehill. His progress is palpable.
“His play-speed is better,” Philbin described it Monday. “More experience. Seeing things on the field quicker.”
Enjoy this feeling while it lasts, Dolphins and Canes fans — and resist the calloused urge to assume it won’t.
Meantime, if the complainer in you is feeling cheated by all this football success and you miss having calamity and failure to gripe about … well, there’s always FIU.