University of Miami

Can the Hurricanes reach double-digit wins? Breaking down each and every game

University of Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton runs the ball in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday October 8, 2016, in Miami Gardens.
University of Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton runs the ball in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday October 8, 2016, in Miami Gardens. dsantiago@elnuevoherald.com

Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the Miami Hurricanes 2017 schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 2: vs. Bethune-Cookman, 12:30 p.m. (FSFL)

This game could ultimately serve as the last opportunity for all three Canes quarterbacks fighting for the starting to job to impress coach Mark Richt. After this game, he will likely ride with just one guy. Prediction: Miami 38, Bethune-Cookman 0

Saturday, Sept. 9: at Arkansas State, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

USA Today says Arkansas State, which has been to six bowl games in a row out of the Sun Belt, has a front seven led by former Alabama defensive tackle Dee Liner that’s the best in its conference. UM won the last meeting 41-20 in Miami in 2014. Canes are a much better team now defensively. Prediction: Miami 27, Arkansas State 7

Saturday, Sept. 16: at Florida State, 8 p.m. (ABC)

The Seminoles, ranked No. 3 in the preseason, have won seven in a row in the series and the past three by five points or less, including last year’s 20-19 win in Miami on Michael Badgley’s missed extra point. The Canes simply have too many questions at quarterback right to end the streak on the road. Prediction: Florida State 24, Miami 16

Saturday, Sept. 23: vs. Toledo, TBA

Miami Heat captain and three-time NBA champion Udonis Haslem is a longtime Hurricanes fan, but he will be pulling for his son, Kedonis, a freshman offensive lineman at Toledo in this one. The Rockets have won at least nine game five times in the past six seasons and are loaded on offense again. But this Canes defense is good. Prediction: Miami 35, Toledo 17

Friday, Sept. 29: at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

UM is heading back to Durham, N.C., for the first time since its miracle, eight-lateral game-winning kickoff return for a touchdown to win it on the game’s final play. It might take another special play to get by the Blue Devils, who have played UM tough at home over the years, including a 48-30 win in 2013. Prediction: Duke 26, Miami 24

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Thursday, Oct. 12: vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

The Yellow Jackets, losers of seven of eight in the series, were expected to be a better team in 2017. Then, leading rusher Dedrick Mills was kicked off the team for a violation of athletic department rules in mid-August. That’s a devastating blow. The Canes, meanwhile, have won the past four games in Miami by at least 15 points each. Prediction: Miami 28, Georgia Tech 13

Saturday, Oct. 21: vs. Syracuse, TBA

This is going to be the first meeting between the schools since Miami’s last season in the Big East in 2003. The Orange has some firepower on offense, but is hardly the team that used to battle the Canes for Big East titles with Donovan McNabb. Prediction: Miami 34, Syracuse 16

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Miami Hurricanes Chad Wilson, Baraka Short, Earl Little and Malcolm Pearson celebrate a Miami win at the Syracuse Carrier Dome in 1994. JOE RIMKUS JR Miami Herald file photo

Saturday, Oct. 28: at North Carolina, TBA

The Tar Heels have won two in a row in the series and three of the past five meetings overall, but there’s a lot to replace on the offensive side of the football. The Canes just never have an easy time in Chapel Hill, N.C., and so this one should once again be tight. Prediction: Miami 27, North Carolina 23

Saturday, Nov. 4: vs. Virginia Tech, TBA

The Hurricanes were picked to win the Coastal with the defending division champion Hokies picked to finish second. But Virginia Tech still has a very, very good defense led by linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. If the Hokies’ quarterback play is better than Miami’s then Virginia Tech likely wins the division. Right now it’s a push. Prediction: Miami 20, Virginia Tech 17

Saturday, Nov. 11: vs. Notre Dame, TBA

The Irish went 4-8 last season but rallied to beat UM in South Bend after blowing a 20-0 lead to win their fourth in a row in the series. UM hasn’t beaten Notre Dame since Nov. 25, 1989, in Miami (the Irish’s last trip here). The Irish are good but not great, and the Canes are due. Prediction: Miami 26, Notre Dame 19

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Miami 's David Njoku (86) makes 2-yard touchdown reception while defended by Notre Dame 's James Onwualu (17) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. Darron Cummings AP

Saturday, Nov. 18: vs. Virginia, TBA

UM has won three of the past four meetings after dropping three in a row in the series, and the Cavaliers are coming off a dreadful 2-10 season. Virginia will improve under second-year coach Bronco Mendenhall eventually. They just aren’t ready yet to beat good teams. Prediction: Miami 34, Virginia 7

Friday, Nov. 24: at Pittsburgh, TBA

Miami has gone 18-2 in the series since 1984, but the Panthers are on the rise under coach Pat Narduzzi. He’s finished second in the division each of his first two years on the job. This game, the day after Thanksgiving in the cold, won’t be easy for Miami. Prediction: Miami 23, Pittsburgh 20

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