University of Miami

Hurricanes Need Another Win For Bowl Eligibility, Favored At Virginia Tech

Alex Donno
November 15, 2018 - 11:02 am

The Miami Hurricanes have been stuck at five wins since early October. Now 5-5 after four straight defeats, Mark Richt's team needs to win at least one of their final two games to become Bowl eligible. 

For that simple reason, Richt isn't and shouldn't be ready to turn the page from 2018 to 2019 just yet. 

During his weekly Tuesday press conference, Richt was asked if he's tempted to play true freshman quarterback Jarren Williams or redshirt freshman Cade Weldon. The idea behind that question, of course, is to start giving more experience to players who might represent the future of that position beyond this season. 

“I’m tempted to try to win the game," Richt responded. "How about that? I guess people don’t see that as a premium, but I do.”

Fans jump all over at Richt for giving off the impression that he isn't thinking enough about the future. Is he too focused on winning meaningless games now when he should be planning on how to win meaningful games in the future? 

My answer is simple: These upcoming games against Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh are not meaningless. While Miami is mathematically eliminated from winning the Coastal Division, that doesn't mean there's nothing to play for. There are two reasons why the short term future of Miami football can greatly affect the long term future. 

1- Missing a bowl game costs you valuable practice time. If Miami's season ends on November 24th after hosting Pitt, they can't practice again until spring. If they qualify for a bowl game, they'll get three weeks of practices to prepare not only for that game, but to help improve their roster for the future. Remember, it was during bowl practices last year that defensive tackle Gerald Willis got on the scout team and started turning the heads of his coaches and teammates. With the NCAA putting so many limits on practice hours, getting extra weeks of bowl practices is essential.  

2- Recruiting can suffer further if Miami doesn't win another game. Miami has seen a handful of verbal commits jump ship during their four game slide. It can get worse, and it will get worse if they finish the year on a six game losing streak. The current snowball of negativity surrounding Hurricanes football can turn into an avalanche if they close out 2018 with a losing record. The more recruits they lose or fail to secure before signing day, the harder it will be for Richt to turn things around next season. So, yes, winning more games this season can have a lot to do with making things better next season. 

This Saturday could represent Miami's best chance to secure a spot in bowl season.Virginia Tech has suffered a similar fall from grace to our Hurricanes. They've lost three straight, including two at home. The Blacksburg mystique has been virtually nonexistent this season. And luckily for Miami, the game will be an afternoon affair, not a night game. Night games in Lane Stadium are always tougher than day games. 

Oddsmakers have made Miami a five and a half point favorite for this one on the road. They've likely cited Miami's superior talent over the Hokies as justification for this. 

N'Kosi Perry will start again at quarterback for the Canes. Richt says he's the player that gives Miami the best chance to win, and I think he's right. 

Kickoff for Miami - Virginia Tech is set for 3:30 PM. You can listen to the game on 560 WQAM.