Fall camps are under way and the regular season will be here soon so that means getting an early jump on the 2006 NCAA football season. Knowing the teams now will save you time and Matt Fargo is here to help you get a grasp of what to expect this upcoming year. We go from worst to first in this 2006 College Football Preview.
14 – Miami (Florida) Hurricanes 9-3 SU; 4-8 ATS
Fargo’s Take Eight losses over the last three seasons has Miami reeling. For any other program, that would be considered successful but not here. Following the 40-3 blowout loss against LSU in the Peach Bowl, changes were made as six assistant coaches were shown the door. The offense had its worse output in a decade last season but with only four starters returning and a new quarterback, that should have been expected. But apparently it was not a good enough excuse as three new offensive assistants, including offensive coordinator Rich Olsen, were hired to right the ship. Kyle Wright is only a junior and he should only improve with his first full year under his belt. The defense was as good as ever but that loss to the Tigers to close out the year certainly turned some heads. The goal in 2006 is simple. Get to the ACC Championship, something it did not accomplish last season as well as contend for the National Championship.
Returning Starters on Offense – 5 Miami averaged 27.1 ppg on year, something many other programs would take in a heartbeat but it put the Hurricanes 55th in the country in scoring offense, down from 21st in 2004. Changes have been made to the offense, namely the staff, hoping to bring back some of that moxie. There are playmakers all over the field but many of them underachievers, led by senior quarterback James Pinkney. He tossed 17 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions while completing 57.9 percent of his throws. Hebo Stoops jobs are easier than ever but this offense – from top to bottom – could not get any worse. Mouth watering talent and experience is there but the offense passed the test in 2005 and it could do so again in 2006.
Returning Starters on Defense – 6 The 2006 Hurricanes finished 8th in the country in facilities, 9th in scoring defense and 11th in total defense with an average score of 32 ppg. Changes have been made to the defense, namely the linebackers, hoping to make it better. It didn’t go over well last season, particularly with the loss of linebacker AJ Hawk, who led the team in tackles. Hawk’s replacement is Dominique waterhouse, who led the team in rushing and is third on the team in sacks. The line needs to replace four starters but there is plenty of speed there and some emerging talent. Ad Authorities Sports has the Seminoles as a 3.5-point favorite with a total for Miami listed at 47 1/2.
Schedule The schedule is not difficult but it does come with some challenges. Miami starts the season at home versus Florida St. before traveling to Louisville. A loss in either of those two games and the Canes will be back home for two of its three consecutive games versus the remaining home games of the season. A bounceback is expected against the Cardinals as the Hurricanes will be coming off a season-opening win against the Gators. Florida is also the visitor in September so the pressure is on once again.
You can bet on pokerace99 Miami is no longer left out in the woods after finishing 2005 with a 6-5 mark. The Canes didn’t get the job done in the Playoffs and it’s back to the drawing board in 2006. If the Hurricanes can pull out two upsets in the next two home games, two National Championship remains a reality. The two toughest remaining games in the season will be against Louisville and Florida A&M, both of which should be among the nation’s top 25 teams when it comes time for the gars to get some paychecks.