One of the most common arguments by those in the pro-Golden camp is that Miami simply doesn't have the players necessary to compete at the highest level. We often hear some of the same lame excuses we've been hearing around here for the last several years.
Maybe Golden doesn't have the players to compete for a national championship. Maybe he doesn't have the players to beat teams like Georgia Tech and Virginia and win a Coastal Division title.
Or perhaps he does. In fact, yes, he does.
According to the latest NFL Draft rankings on CBS Sports, Miami is clearly one of the most talented teams in all of college football.
The Hurricanes have 10 players who have a draft grade on their rankings list -- Duke Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Clive Walford, Ereck Flowers, Jonathan Feliciano, Anthony Chickillo, Olsen Pierre, Denzel Perryman, Thurston Armbrister, and Ladarius Gunter.
The amazing part about that is that only one school -- the defending national champions and owners of a 27-game winning streak -- has more. Florida State has 12 on their list.
Here is the rest of the AP Top 10 and how many players are on that list:
2. Alabama -- 7
3. Oregon -- 7
4. Mississippi State -- 4
5. Baylor -- 6
6. TCU -- 4
7. Ohio State -- 3
8. Georgia -- 3
9. UCLA -- 3
10. Michigan State -- 5
Some may wonder if other major programs with excellent tradition and home recruiting bases are where the Hurricanes are in terms of overall talent. Again, these numbers indicate they're not. Here are some examples:
Texas -- 6
Florida -- 3
LSU -- 4
USC -- 7
Auburn -- 8
Oklahoma -- 8
Lets dig a bit deeper and look at where all other ACC schools rank.
FSU 12, Louisville 9, Clemson 4, Syracuse 3, Duke 2, Virginia Tech 2, Boston College 1, Georgia Tech 1, Virginia 1, North Carolina 1, North Carolina State 1, Wake Forest 1, and Pittsburgh 1.
Miami's non-conference opponents have low numbers as well -- Nebraska 3, Cincinnati 1, Florida A&M 0, and Arkansas State 0.
There are eight programs who have at least seven players on the list. They're listed below along with their current records against FBS opponents this season.
7: Alabama 9-1
8: Oklahoma 8-3
9: Louisville 7-3
10: Miami 5-5
12: Florida State 10-0
Kudos to the players who came here at an unpopular time, who have worked extremely hard and who have very bright futures ahead of them.
Golden said a few weeks ago that your record is what you are. At 5-5, the Hurricanes are an average football team right now. People can make up all the excuses they want in order to justify that -- a freshman quarterback, playing too many road games at night, lack of depth, the NCAA mess from recent years, etc -- but the one thing they can't blame it on is the caliber of players that are walking through those doors each and every day.
Based on the research above, one could make a legitimate claim that Miami is the most underachieving team in all of college football right now.
The scary part about that? It's not often the Hurricanes will have this much talent scattered through their junior and senior classes. I guess it's true what many fans and former players have said many times this season -- prepare yourself for mediocre football until something is done about it.