University of Miami

Coach: If UM wins every game, even by 1 point, it’s in the playoffs

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt raises the championship trophy after the University of Miami defeats West Virginia at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando on Wednesday, December 28, 2016.
Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt raises the championship trophy after the University of Miami defeats West Virginia at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

The College Football Playoff says on its website that “Every Game Counts.’’

University of Miami coach Mark Richt wholeheartedly agrees, even if every game is a dramatic, fourth-quarter thriller — as long as the Hurricanes win.

Hours before the College Football Playoff was set to release its first Top 25 rankings on ESPN at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Richt said that if his Canes (7-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who face Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1) at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, win every game — regardless of the score — they’ll end up in the four-team playoff that ultimately determines the national champion.

That still could happen, despite UM being No. 10 when the rankings were announced Tuesday night.

Virginia Tech is No. 13 in the CFP rankings.

And better yet for UM, it faces CFP No. 3 Notre Dame on Nov. 11 at home.

Win both games and Miami should be in fine shape.

“For us in particular, it really won’t mean a whole lot to us what happens tonight,’’ Richt said Tuesday afternoon. “It might make somebody happy that we’re ranked. … I mean there’s a better gauge today than two months ago where everybody should be.

“I think there’s definitely a legitimacy to the [rankings], but it doesn’t matter where we are right now. If we win we’ll go up. If we lose we’ll go down, that’s all there is to it.”

Should margin of victory be included in what the 13-member selection committee looks at? The CFP says margin of victory “is not incentivized.’’

Miami defensive end Chad Thomas discusses Virginia Tech on October 31, 2017, four days before the game.

“I don’t think it really matters,’’ Richt replied. “If we win every game by one, my guess is we’ll be in the deal. That’s what I think. That’s true of most every team in the Power 5, though.”

Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, a former UM athletic director, chairs the College Football Playoff committee and has repeatedly said margin of victory is not taken into account.

“We talk about how that team has performed each and every week,’’ Hocutt told The Associated Press during last year’s process. “We talk about: ‘Was that a convincing win?’ I believe, in certain games a convincing win can be a 14-0 score, and in other games it can be a 35-7 score. In the game of college football, a convincing win can vary.’’

Miami, ranked ninth by the AP and sixth by the coaches (note that the selection committee doesn’t need to consider the human polls in its decision-making process), is one of only four schools in Power 5 conferences that remain undefeated. The others: Alabama (8-0), Georgia (8-0) and Wisconsin (8-0).

Virginia Tech is ranked 13th by the AP and coaches, but favored by 2 1/2 points to beat UM.

Linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, like Richt, is all about victories.

Hurricanes linebacker Shaq Quarterman on October 31, 2017: "We can't afford the lose."

“When it comes down to the stats and the columns, we have zero losses and nothing but wins,’’ Quarterman said. “Miami, historically, we don’t really get the best treatment when it comes to the media or anything like that anyway. So we just control what we can control. And as long as we win there’s no way that we can be denied.”

Asked if he’d be watching ESPN on Tuesday night, senior defensive end Chad Thomas said, “I don’t pay attention to that. I just come to play every game. I focus on my team. It’s all about the U.’’

Would Thomas be upset if the Canes weren’t among the top schools Tuesday night?

His response: “It’s all about the U.’’

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