'Nole Your Opponent: Bill Connelly Previews Miami Hurricanes

SB Nation football research genius and expert analyst Bill Connelly is previewing the ACC this week.

FSU travels to Miami on October 20. Here's an excerpt from 2012 Miami Football Preview: The Perched Hammer

Defining Success

It is difficult to define goals for the 2012 Miami squad since we don't know if they will be eligible for the postseason or not thanks to the any-day-now possibility of NCAA sanctions. But even if they are a true Top 30 team, the schedule could prevent them from piling up a large win total.Miami plays six teams projected 33rd or better this fall, though four do have to visit Miami. Plus, they will probably be underdogs in trips to Kansas State and Virginia as well. If Miami wins half of those games and gets to 7-5 or 8-4, Golden will have once again done one hell of a job. We'll set the bar at seven wins.

Prognosis

Golden and company truly are in an odd position right now. They are building for the future, but they have no idea what the future is going to look like, or how hard the road will be. I still think Golden was the right man for the Miami job at this point in time, but that might not matter. His 2012 will be talented, athletic and flawed. We'll see what they have to play for come November.

Bill does a tremendous job with this, and my opinion that 6 wins would be a success, not 7, should in no way dissuade you from reading the entire thing. It's very good.

Last year Miami had the 15th-best offense in all of college football. That's extremely impressive, given that not only did the 'Canes have to score, but it also had to hold the ball and milk clock for an awful defense that rated 87th! nationally. This year I expect the defense to improve. But the step forward on defense will not be as large as the step back taken by the offense. I could easily see a split of the 50th-best offense and 55th-best defense. The amount of talent and key contributors lost off this team is staggering. Some will be mitigated as players got playing time while departed players missed time due to suspension, and programs usually improve in year two as players have a full, bought-in year in the system, but this is a ton to overcome. 8 returning starters and almost no experienced reserves?

I do think this will be the worst Miami team since 1997 (47-0 Florida State).

Florida State has absolutely owned Miami in Sun Life Stadium, averaging 43 points in the two games since the Hurricanes moved from the Orange Bowl. FSU fans will again have at least a 40-percent presence in South Florida.

I don't think 43+ points is likely this season, but I wouldn't rule it out. I do think Florida State has a better shot at shutting out the 'Canes than it does of putting six touchdowns on the board.

Miami projects as FSU's fourth, fifth or sixth toughest opponent. That says a lot about where this rivalry is. FSU is 26-31 all time against the Hurricanes. And the 'Noles will need to go 8-2 over the next decade to retake the lead. October 20 should be one of those eight.

PHOTO: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

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