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Is the U Really Back?

From 2000-2003, the Miami Hurricanes were 46-4 and lost just one conference game in that span. But, since the move from the Big East to the ACC the 'Canes have been downright average. Miami has been ranked three times in the final AP poll since 2004 and those have been rankings outside the Top 10. After beating the 12th ranked Florida Gators 21-16, a game that was dominated from start to finish by the Hurricanes, Miami jumped all the way up to No. 15 in the latest poll. Their recent success has led many to wonder if the old U, the dominant Miami teams from the 1980's to early 2000's is really back?

Stephen Morris

The talent on this Miami roster is fantastic. Sure it isn't yet the old Miami teams that were stacked with future NFL Hall of Famers, but it is impressive. The 'Canes are led by senior quarterback Stephen Morris who looks like he could be an NFL quarterback with his huge arm, sophomore back Duke Johnson who could be a Heisman threat and explosive receiver Phillip Dorsett who can stretch the field. Though it wasn't the offense that carried Miami to their upset of Florida, it was their defense who carried them to victory. The defense forced the Gators to commit five turnovers led by sophomore cornerback Tracy Howard and junior linebacker Denzel Perryman. The 'Canes hit hard and played aggressive and they played with a chip on their shoulder. If Miami's defense continues to play like they did against Florida and much of this offense stays healthy big things are going to happen for Miami.

A close look at Miami's schedule further suggests big things are on the horizon for the Hurricanes. Florida was their big opponent on their schedule and the win means an undefeated season, although it will obviously not be easy, is a real possibility. This week they get Savannah State, who shouldn't give Miami too much issues. After that they travel to South Florida, who just lost to a FCS opponent and Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets could make an interesting game, they beat Elon 70-0 to begin their year and it definitely isn't easy to stop their triple-option attack. Though, there isn't a lot of question that the toughest game on Miami's schedule this year will be the November 2nd date with Florida State, at Tallahassee. The 'Noles who could also be undefeated by the time they meet, are led by one of the nation's most exciting players in redshirt freshman Jameis Winston and a defense that has proven it can be dominant. The week after they meet up with Virginia Tech at home, a game that they should be favored in even if the Hokies offense finally starts getting things going. If Miami does manage to go undefeated in the regular season, or even a couple losses, they are loads better than any other team in the Coastal Division. They should roll to the ACC Championship where they have the possibility of playing Clemson.

Miami could be a dark horse national championship pick as they have the offense, explosiveness and aggressive defense that could take them to big games. This year, the 'Canes will have success, there is no getting away from it and they have the young talent and recruiting that could bring them to a consistent contender once more. Duke Johnson is just a true sophomore and they will have him for at least one more year and they already have a stocked 2014 class that includes four-star back Joseph Yearby and offensive tackle Kc McDermott an in-state talent.

So is the U really back? Are the 'Canes built once more to be a championship contender every single year? The past couple of years many have overreacted about the possibility of a Miami comeback, especially in the Jacory Harris era. But, this isn't an overreaction, this program is back and with Florida State back to their usual dominance it could make for an interesting ACC for years to come.

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