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Miami Football: Hurricanes' 2020 Schedule Analysis

Miami Football: Hurricanes' 2020 Schedule Analysis

Miami Football: Hurricanes' 2020 Schedule Analysis

After a 6-7 season in 2019, the Miami Hurricanes hope to rebound to contend in the ACC Coastal Division. This offseason, the Hurricanes have added quarterback D'Eriq King, who transferred from Houston after four seasons with the Cougars.

Winning their second ACC Coastal will require getting through a 2020 schedule that has its challenges, including road trips at Michigan State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. Miami will also have some spots in their schedule, including their first three games of the season at Hard Rock Stadium.

Where the ACC Coastal Division could be decided is in Miami's Oct. 24 contest at home against North Carolina. Last year in Week 2, the Tar Heels defeated Miami 28-25. This year, North Carolina will likely be one of the favorites in the Coastal Division.

Let's take a look at the Hurricanes' 2020 schedule and where the possible road bumps could be.

Miami Hurricanes 2020 Schedule

Bye: Week 7

Week 1 — Sept. 5 vs. Temple (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Shortly after the 2018 season, Manny Diaz accepted a job to become the Temple Owls head coach. But after Mark Richt retired soon after that, Diaz ditched the Temple position to become the Miami head coach. Needless to say, there were a lot of sour grapes with the way Diaz left after just 18 days. 

Temple finished 8-5 last season under Rod Carey and must be happy with their new hire. The Owls won't be a traditional Week 1 cakewalk for the Hurricanes. 

Week 2 — Sept. 12 vs. Wagner (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

After beginning the season against Temple, Miami will get an easier opponent in Week 2 in Wagner from the FCS ranks. Expect a lot of reserves to play in this one, as the Hurricanes will look to get ready for their Week 3 matchup against UAB on a short week.

Week 3 — Sept. 17 vs. UAB (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

To end their three straight home games to begin the season, the Hurricanes will host an up-and-coming UAB team. Last season, the Blazers finished 9-5 and lost to FAU in the Conference USA Championship Game. UAB has a talented offense returning this fall, including quarterback Tyler Johnston III and senior receivers Austin Watkins Jr. and Myron Mitchell. 

Week 4 — Sept. 26 at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.)

Miami's first road trip of the 2020 season will take them to the Midwest, where they will take on a Michigan State team that has had a ton of changes this offseason. The Spartans lost the bulk of their playmakers on both sides of the ball from last season and brought a new head coach in Mel Tucker after Mark Dantonio retired. Although this is a game Miami should certainly win on paper, the Hurricanes shouldn't take this game lightly.

Week 5 — Oct. 3 vs. Pittsburgh (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Miami will begin its ACC schedule against a divisional opponent: Pitt. Last season's game came down to the wire as the Hurricanes defeated the Panthers 34-27 in overtime. Pittsburgh was 8-5 in 2019 and finished fourth in the ACC Coastal division. They will return 17 starters from that group and should have one of the best defenses in college football.

Week 6 — Oct. 9 at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 

Miami's second ACC game of 2020 will be against an unfamiliar opponent on the road in a short week. The Hurricanes will travel to North Carolina to take on a Demon Deacons team who has continued to get better under head coach Dave Clawson. Wake Forest finished the season 8-5 as they played in their fourth consecutive bowl game where they suffered a narrow 27-21 loss to Michigan State. The Demon Deacons will need to fill a lot of holes, most notably Jamie Newman, who threw for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2019 in his only full season as a starter.

Week 8 — Oct. 24 vs. North Carolina (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Two of the teams who are expected to contend for the ACC Coastal will face each other on Oct. 24. North Carolina finished 7-6 a year ago in Mack Brown's return to Chapel Hill, and the Heels finished in dominant fashion with their last three games won by an average of 40.0 points. Sam Howell is expected to be one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC, so the Hurricanes defense will have their hands full.

Week 9 — Oct. 31 at Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)

After playing North Carolina, Miami will travel to Charlottesville to take on the defending ACC Coastal champions in Virginia. The Cavaliers will need to replace several key starters from their team who played in the Orange Bowl, including quarterback Bryce Perkins. However, head coach Bronco Mendenhall has continued to improve the Cavaliers each season, and they should figure into the Coastal race.

Week 10 — Nov. 7 vs. Florida State (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Miami will have its annual game against the Florida State Seminoles to start the month of November. The Hurricanes have won the last three games in the series, including 27-10 victory in Tallahassee a season ago. The Seminoles will have a new look in 2020, as Mike Norvell is the school's new head coach after guiding Memphis to the Cotton Bowl. Although Miami appears to be the stronger team, all bets are off in this rivalry game.

Week 11 — Nov. 14 at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.)

Last season, Virginia Tech finished 8-5, albeit with a disappointing Belk Bowl loss to Kentucky. This year, the Hokies will hope to return to the top of the Coastal Division. Hendon Hooker, who appeared to get the Virginia Tech offense back on track once he became a starter, returns along with an impressive group of running backs and wide receivers. Playing in Blacksburg has never been easy for the Hurricanes, and this year shouldn't be any different.

Week 12 — Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech (Atlanta)

One of Miami's more disappointing losses in the season came at the hands of Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium. In the second season of Geoff Collins' tenure, the Yellow Jackets should be even better, which could potentially be a problem for the Hurricanes.

Week 13 — Nov. 28 vs. Duke (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

Just like the 2019 season, the Hurricanes will end their year against the Blue Devils, but this time at home. Last year, Duke defeated Miami 27-17. The Blue Devils will need to replace their starting quarterback, Quentin Harris. However, one of the biggest strengths of Duke's offense is their backfield with Deon Jackson and Mataeo Jackson.

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.