Nov 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Hurricanes fans look on dejectedly during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes’ Playoff Chances are Dwindling

The Hurricanes had everything going their way heading toward the ACC Championship Game. With a 10-0 record and big wins over the likes of Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, Miami looked like it would be a sure pick for the College Football Playoff. However, Pitt had other ideas. Pittsburgh upset the Hurricanes by a scoreline of 24-14, now putting Miami in a vulnerable position ahead of the ACC Championship Game against Clemson on Saturday.

What went wrong

Offensive woes

Miami struggled to move the football. Quarterback Malik Rosier completed just 15/36 passes, although he did throw two touchdowns. Rosier had very little help from the ground game, as Miami rushed for 45 total yards on 23 attempts; less than two yards per carry. Rosier had the majority of the rushing yards and attempts, with 31 yards on 12 carries.

Failure to convert on third downs

The Hurricanes converted just four of their 15 third-down-conversion attempts. Without the threat of the run, Rosier was unable to move the chains for the Miami offense on most occasions.

Head coach Mark Richt acknowledges his team’s offensive struggles after the game.

A case of looking ahead

Most people would’ve thought that Miami could easily handle a 4-7 Pitt side that had struggled in conference play. Perhaps the Hurricanes, too, were resting on their laurels. Whatever the case may be, Miami allowed an inferior opponent to beat them just before the ACC Championship Game against Clemson. Now, with a loss to an average team in Pitt, Miami will have a difficult time vying for a Playoff spot.

The Hurricanes dropped five place to No. 7 in the Week 14 AP poll rankings. Now they face the test of playing No. 1 ranked Clemson in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. Unless the Canes can overcome Clemson, their dreams of making the College Football Playoff is virtually over.

Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

About Joseph Erickson

Sports writer. Passionate about Premier League soccer, specifically Tottenham Hotspur.

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One comment

  1. How are Miami’s chances “dwindling” any more today than they were a week ago?

    10-1 with a loss at Pittsburgh, or 11-0 with a win there—the road to the Playoffs still goes through defending national champion Clemson.

    News flash; Miami is in better shape coming off a loss than they would’ve been No. 1 in the nation and big-headed going into battle with the Tigers. Period. (Canes would’ve jumped to No. 1 with the Alabama loss.)

    Weight of a 15-game win-streak is over. It’s now a one-game season. Beat Clemson and you’re in. Lose and you’re out. No scenario where Miami would’ve lost to Clemson this weekend (if beating Pitt) and still getting in as the second ACC team. No way.

    Odds of beating Clemson are probably slightly better for Miami than they would’ve been at 11-0, cruising along and ekeing out wins in close games. Humility and growth can come from losses. This could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Canes.

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