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Miami Football: Ranking the Toughest Games on Their Schedule

Miami Hurricanes College Football

Miami Hurricanes College Football

The 2017 campaign was a tale of two seasons for the Miami Hurricanes. They began the year 10-0 as they won the ACC Coastal Division and were a contender to be in the College Football Playoff. But the Hurricanes lost their final three games, all by double digits.

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt

Now the Hurricanes will look to improve from last season, but the road will not be easy as Miami will open the year in Arlington, Texas. The 'Canes also finish out their regular season with back-to-back difficult games. 

Here is a look at Miami's 2018 slate, ranking the games from the easiest to the most difficult matchup.

12. Sept. 8 vs. Savannah State

After their season opener against LSU, Miami will play their home opener against FCS member Savannah State. This should be a cakewalk for the Hurricanes.

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11. Sept. 22 vs. FIU 

Miami and FIU will renew their rivalry for the first time since their infamous fight back during the 2007 season. Last season, the Panthers went 8-5 in former Hurricanes head coach Butch Davis' first season at the helm of the Conference USA program. On paper, Miami should win this game handily, but FIU does have a lot more talent than fans might know.

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10. Sept. 15 at Toledo 

Yes, this is a road game for Miami, but the Hurricanes have a lot more speed and talent than Toledo. The Rockets do return a lot of talent from their 11-3 team a season ago. But Toledo has one primary question, and that's at quarterback.

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9. Sept. 27 vs. North Carolina

Throughout the years, the Tar Heels have given the Hurricanes a lot of trouble, including last year. Despite their 3-9 finish in 2017, North Carolina lost to Miami by only five points.

North Carolina Football Schedule 2019

8. Nov. 3 vs. Duke

Coming off a 7-6 season, Duke will have one of the most talented quarterbacks in the ACC in Daniel Jones, along with two quality defenders in linebacker Joe Giles-Harris and cornerback Mark Gilbert. Miami should, however, be able to pick up a key ACC victory at home.

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7. Oct. 13 at Virginia

In their last meeting against Virginia, the Hurricanes came back from a two-touchdown deficit to defeat the Cavaliers 44-28. Virginia is replacing Kurt Benkert, who started 23 of 25 games the last two seasons. Considering all the leadership the Cavaliers have lost, Miami should run away with this game.

Virginia: college football picks against the spread

6. Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech

Playing against the triple option is never an easy thing to do. But the Hurricanes' Mark Richt (above, right) has faced it more than just about any other coach, dating back to his days at Georgia. The Yellow Jackets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 5-6 season.

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5. Oct. 26 at Boston College

The Eagles could be a surprise team in 2018. They have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball including running back AJ Dillion. Also, Boston College has one of best front sevens in the ACC. This a game, Miami cannot take lightly.

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4. Nov. 24 vs. Pittsburgh

Miami will look for revenge when it hosts Pittsburgh, the team that ruined the Hurricanes' undefeated season in 2017. Despite finishing 5-7 last year, Pittsburgh could be a factor in the ACC Coastal race this fall.

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

Miami will begin the season at AT&T Stadium against LSU. The Tigers will have a lot of questions to address at both the quarterback and running back positions. LSU does still have a lot of talent defensively, including inside linebacker Devin White, who led the SEC in tackles per game a year ago. This is a winnable game for Miami, but LSU will provide a tough test.

LSU Football Schedule

2. Oct. 6 vs. Florida State

It doesn't seem to matter what the records are when Miami and Florida State play each other because it is usually a great game. The Seminoles will not only have a new head coach in Willie Taggart, but they will look to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season. But FSU returns a lot of talent, enough to contend for the ACC Atlantic crown.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

1. Nov. 17 at Virginia Tech

The season-defining game will come in mid-November when the Hurricanes travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies. The winner of this game has gone on to play for the ACC title each of the last two seasons. Even though the Hokies are replacing five NFL draft picks, Justin Fuente's team is a legitimate threat to reclaim the Coastal Division crown from Miami.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Virginia Tech

Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Games. Games. And more Games!

-- 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.