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Clay's Take: Hurricanes 2018 schedule set up for success

Miami appears to have favorable schedule with UNC, FSU at home early

Miami's Christopher Herndon IV is carried off the field after the Hurricanes defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 44-28 at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Miami's Christopher Herndon IV is carried off the field after the Hurricanes defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 44-28 at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

CORAL GABLES, Fla.

When it comes to a team's schedule in college football, sometimes the "when" is as important as the "who (or whom?)." When you play tough teams matters, especially when those games could ultimately decide a conference, or even national championship.

 

When you analyze a schedule, coaches will often look for two things: 1. Do our toughest opponents have bye weeks before they play us? 2. If we have to play on a short week, does our opponent have a competitive advantage? 

 

A quick look at the Hurricanes schedule show us that they were fortunate in both cases. Let's take a look at their biggest games:

 

Sept. 2 vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas)

Prime time, under the lights on ABC. Can't ask for a bigger stage on opening weekend. It's the opener for both teams and, although LSU will likely have more fans in "Jerry World" because of proximity and their rabid fan base, neither team will have a scheduling advantage here.

 

Sept. 27 vs. UNC

Advantage Miami here. It's UM's only Thursday night game of the year and, while they do have to play FIU five days earlier, UNC has to play a conference game against Pitt on that same day. The 'Canes get home-field advantage and an easier game before the short week.

 

Oct. 6 vs. FSU

Again, advantage UM. This will be Miami's third home game in a row and the 'Canes will have two extra days to prepare. FSU has to play on the road at Louisville the week before, so the schedule and the venue play into Miami's favor.

 

Nov. 17 at Virginia Tech

This game decided the Coastal Division in 2017 and many feel it will decide it again in 2018. Playing at Lane Stadium is always tough, and you'd rather not have to play there in November when it will likely be cold. But Virginia Tech will have its hands full with Pittsburgh the week before, so it's not like they will have any sort of a break before the 'Canes storm into town.

 

The only team that has any sort of scheduling "advantage" over UM is Virginia, who has a bye week before the 'Canes come to Charlottesville on Oct. 13. UVA gave UM a tough game for awhile in 2017, but the Cavaliers also lose a lot off their 2017 team and should take a large step back from their 6-7 season.

 

All in all, you couldn't ask for much more if you're a 'Canes fan. Is it September yet?