Hurricane Irma delayed the University of Miami's game at Florida State, which didn't seem like the worst thing for the Canes at the time. UM was coming off a less-than-impressive season-opening victory over Bethune-Cookman, and Miami's Week 2 game against Arkansas State had also been canceled because of Irma. And FSU was then the number three team in America.
So most Canes fans thought a couple of more weeks to prepare for the Noles was just what the team needed. But in hindsight, fans shouldn't have been worried: UM now looks like a well-oiled, ass-kicking machine that's risen all the way to 13th in the AP poll, while FSU has tumbled out of the rankings altogether.
The rankings aren't the only reason the Hurricanes (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are poised to finally end a brutal seven-game losing streak to their most hated rival this Saturday. Here's why:
1. The Hurricanes have a clear advantage at quarterback.
Canes quarterback Malik Rosier is off to a fast start under center in his senior year. Though he has only three more career starts than Florida State's true freshman, James Blackman, his years of practices and learning to play at the speed of college football will be the difference in Tallahassee Saturday.
Blackman might well be the much better pro prospect in the long run, but all that matters right now is October 7, 2017. Rosier is the better, more disciplined quarterback at the moment. Blackman is a wildcard who has yet to face a defense that moves at Miami's speed.
2. The Hurricanes' dominating linebacker corps will stuff the Noles' rushing attack.
Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud are throwbacks to a time when Hurricanes linebackers scared the shit out of opponents. The Seminoles were able to barely overcome the trio last season in large part thanks to Dalvin Cook, who had 150 rushing yards and a 59-yard catch in a 20-19 Seminoles win. He was pretty much the Noles' entire offense.
Lucky for Miami, he won't be in Tallahassee this weekend because he now plays for the Minnesota Vikings. That's bad news for the Noles.
FSU freshman running back Cam Akers is a Dalvin Cook in the making, but he hasn't proven to be ready for the spotlight yet. Veteran Jacques Patrick is a lumbering back who isn't exactly the sort of player who will run away from such a talented defense.
Advantage, Miami's dominant linebackers.