Here are some of my thoughts and observations following the release of Miami’s 2011 Football Schedule:
First, for those who haven’t seen is as of yet, here is the actual schedule:
September 5: @ Maryland
September 17: vs. Ohio State
September 24: vs. Kansas State
October 1: vs. Bethune Cookman
October 8: @ Virginia Tech
October 15: @ North Carolina
October 22: vs. Georgia Tech
October 27: vs. Virginia
November 5 vs. Duke (Homecoming)
November 12 @ Florida State
November 19 @ USF
November 26 vs. Boston College
I’ll divide up my thoughts into two sections. First, here’s what I like about the schedule:
The first game at Maryland may not exactly make sense for the Atlantic Coast Conference, but it’s an excellent opportunity for Miami (and Maryland for that matter) to establish themselves in front of a national television audience in a game that otherwise would be an afterthought.
I’m also a proponent of the schedule of the Bethune-Cookman game in between the Kansas State and Virginia Tech games. The ‘Canes will be coming off of playing two quality (and in Ohio State’s case high quality) programs, and will need a break before going to play their three most important games of the year against Coastal Division rivals Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech.
I also like the idea of playing Florida State late in the year, and I even like playing them more in November as opposed to October, as is usually the case. As a fan, what is there to look forward to when you play your biggest rival early in the season, or on the first game of the season on Labor Day as has been the case at times.
Moving the USF game off of the last game of the year is also sound. If the ‘Canes aren’t in contention for a BCS bowl, it’s a game they will have difficulty getting up for, as evidenced by last year’s listless showing.
I also am a fan of playing seven home games. UM played six last year, and while I wouldn’t be in favor of eight as is often the byproduct of certain other schools having soft non-conference schedules, Miami would be well served to at least attempt to construct the schedule to where there was seven home games a year if at all possible in the future.
What am I not a fan of as far as the schedule is concerned? Obviously, the early bye as a result of the Maryland game being on a Monday night is concerning. The UM administration wanted to avoid a potential Virginia Tech/James Madison situation perhaps by not doing so, but I’dve preferred the Hurricanes to play Bethune-Cookman on the 10th and have a bye prior to facing Virginia Tech.
I’m also not a fan of the fact that Miami’s three most important games come in the middle of the season, and that UM has to travel to North Carolina following what’s sure to be an intense game at Virginia Tech. It’s also not ideal to face Georgia Tech’s triple option following those tough road games either.
Facing Virginia after that on short rest is something I’d ordinarily be critical of, but it’s a good showcase for UM once again, Virginia will also be playing on short rest for the game as well.
I would also prefer it if some of the first few home games were played a little later in the year, though there’s no avoiding it in all likelihood given that they’re non-conference games. Although this is the last year they’ll have to put up with it with the Marlins moving into a new ballpark (built where the Orange Bowl formerly stood), it’s unfortunate that Miami will have to play three home games on dirt.
For more information, please visit: www.hurricanesports.cstv.com, www.miamiherald.com, www.espn.com, and www.collegefootballnews.com