BANKUNITED CENTER -- Randy Shannon's football team now has a clear path to Tampa and the ACC Championship game. The Canes got an assist Saturday night when Maryland came back to beat North Carolina 17-15, giving Miami sole possession of first place in the Coastal Division. All UM has to do now is win its final two games against Georgia Tech and North Carolina State and the Canes will get to play in the ACC title game on December 6th.
I'm sure many of U were glued to your TVs just like Canes players and coaches were tonight trying to follow the important game. The fact Miami is even in this position is a huge accomplishment. I keep thinking back to where this team was just a little over a month ago, 2-3, 0-2 in the conference. Now, these Baby Canes have grown up and learned how to win. The defense has been the key. I know I've thrown this stat out a ton, but third down defense is the most glaring number you can thank for the turnaround. In Miami's 2-3 start, the Canes were allowing opponents to convert 55 percent of the time on third down. In their five straight wins, that number has been squeezed down to 23 percent. Bill Young obviously deserves a lot of credit.
Now that Miami is in first, expect the Canes to crack the Top 25 poll this week.
By the way, Florida State and Maryland are tied for first in the Atlantic Division with 4-2 records. They play each other next week and that will likely decide the other representative in the ACC title game. FSU still has to play Boston College tonight.