Miami lineman Zion Nelson talks Gators opener
The Miami Hurricanes are trying to regroup after a disappointing 2018, and they certainly have the schedule to do so this year. After a season-opening test against the Florida Gators, Miami moves immediately into the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division schedule and a reminder of why the Hurricanes have a shot to get back to the ACC Championship Game in 2019.
Let’s take a game-by-game look at Miami’s 2019 schedule:
Aug. 24: Florida 24, UM 20
It was a defensive struggle at Camping World Stadium in Orlando when offensive coordinator Dan Enos debuted the Hurricanes’ new offense against an always-solid Gators defense led by star cornerbacks C.J. Henderson and Trey Dean.
Sept. 7 at North Carolina Tar Heels, 8 p.m., ACC Network
Prediction: Miami 31, North Carolina 14
Coach Manny Diaz gets to be eased into ACC play a little bit when the Hurricanes head up to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to face a team coming off a 2-9 season with new coach Mack Brown and a freshman quarterback.
Sept. 14 vs. FCS Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, 4 p.m., ACC Network
Prediction: Miami 42, Bethune-Cookman 10
Miami should be able to empty the bench against an FCS opponent in its first game at Hard Rock Stadium in 2019.
Sept. 21 vs. Central Michigan Chippewas, TBA
Prediction: Miami 31, Central Michigan 7
The Chippewas should provide another easy non-conference tune-up for the Hurricanes in Miami Gardens. Central Michigan went winless in Mid-American Conference play in 2018 and has coach Jim McElwain taking on a major rebuilding job.
Oct. 5 vs. Virginia Tech Hokies, TBA
Prediction: Miami 35, Virginia Tech 17
The Hokies followed a disappointing season with an even rockier offseason, which has potentially widened the gap even more between the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech after Miami won on the road in 2018.
Oct. 11 vs. Virginia Cavaliers, 8 p.m., ESPN
Prediction: Miami 28, Virginia 21
This one could determine the winner of the Coastal Division as the Cavaliers, picked in the preseason by the media to win the division, head down to South Florida, bringing with them a dynamic dual-threat quarterback and a talented defense.
Oct. 19 vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, TBA
Prediction: Miami 28, Georgia Tech 13
It could be a tough season for the Yellow Jackets as coach Geoff Collins tries to transition Georgia Tech’s offense from a triple option to a more traditional system. Star defensive end Jonathan Garvin and the Hurricanes’ defense could feast.
Oct. 26 at Pittsburgh Panthers, TBA
Prediction: Miami 24, Pittsburgh 13
The Panthers are the reigning Coastal champions, but the Hurricanes handled them with relative ease in 2018. A trip up to Pennsylvania is still a potential stumbling point for Miami, though.
Nov. 2 at Florida State Seminoles, TBA
Prediction: Miami 20, Florida State 17
Diaz’s first trip to Tallahassee as coach provides the Hurricanes a chance to win their third in a row in the rivalry series. Miami, like always, will have its hands full with star running back Cam Akers, but the defense has risen to the occasion the past two years.
Nov. 9 vs. Louisville Cardinals, TBA
Prediction: Miami 17, Louisville 9
It has been a rough few seasons for the Cardinals, who went winless in ACC play last year and now have a first-year coach. There’s still some talent in place with potential NFL players like star tackle Mekhi Becton, but coach Scott Satterfield has a little bit of a rebuild in front of him.
Nov. 23 at FIU Panthers (at Marlins Park), 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Prediction: Miami 38, FIU 20
The Panthers bring enough contributors back a bowl team to be a pesky opponent for the Hurricanes at Marlins Park in Miami, but the talent gap is just too large.
Nov. 30 at Duke Blue Devils, TBA
Prediction: Miami 28, Duke 14
The Hurricanes wrap up the regular season in Durham, North Carolina, against a Blue Devils team in for a bit of a rebuild following the graduation of star quarterback Daniel Jones and the departure of most of Duke’s top receivers.