They knew it was coming.
They just didn’t know exactly how bad it would be.
The Miami Hurricanes, last week’s darling at No. 2 in both the AP and Amway Coaches rankings, fell five spots Sunday to No. 7 in both polls after losing at Pittsburgh on Friday — though the Canes are tied with Ohio State in the Amway poll.
The new No. 1: Clemson.
The Clemson Tigers being at the top perch should make Hurricanes football fans happy, as the Canes (10-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will face Clemson (11-1, 7-1) in the ACC Championship Game at 8 p.m. Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Most believe a Hurricanes win against Clemson will vault UM into one of the elite top four spots of the College Football Playoff rankings. The top four CFP teams when the final rankings are revealed next Sunday will compete in the playoff to determine the national champion.
Clemson opened Sunday as a 7 1/2- and 8-point favorite in Las Vegas.
The AP and Coaches polls are unrelated to the CFP rankings, and are not officially taken into account when the CFP selection committee determines the rankings. But the new polls are a pretty good indication of where UM might be on Tuesday when the newest CFP rankings are revealed.
The top four of the AP and Coaches polls Sunday were identical: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Oklahoma (11-1), No. 3 Wisconsin (12-0) and No. 4 Auburn (10-2).
Auburn beat former No. 1 Alabama (11-1) on Saturday and Clemson punished South Carolina.
’Bama dropped to No. 5, with Georgia (11-1) at No. 6, UM at 7, Ohio State (10-2) at No. 8, Penn State (10-2) at No. 9 and TCU (10-2) at No. 10 in the AP.
The coaches had almost the same top 10, with Southern Cal (10-2) at No. 9 and Penn State at No. 10.
Notre Dame (9-3), which UM dominated when the Fighting Irish were No. 3 in the CFP rankings, lost to Stanford on Saturday night and fell from No. 9 to No. 15 in the AP and dropped eight spots to No. 17 among the coaches.
Undefeated UCF (11-0) is now No. 11 among the coaches and No. 12 in the AP.