Question #5 for CanesTime Staff

In a five-part series CanesTime senior contributors Bryan "Grassy" Knoll, Mike Bakas, and Christopher Stock answer one question each day about the 2005 season.

Question: What will be the 'Canes record this year?

GRASSY - The concensus appears to be that Miami will be 9-2. Which two games they will lose are what the argument is about. Most feel they will have a tough time beating Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Florida State to open the season with a new quarterback is also no treat. Both of those games will be extremely tough to win. The other nine games Miami will be a solid favorite in but they were also favored in every game they've lost in recent years. Losses to the likes of Clemson, UNC and Tennessee still have fans and media in shock.

I think Miami will split the game swith FSU and VT but may drop a game they are not "supposed" to along the way and will finish the ACC 6-2 and finish overall at 9-2.

BAKAS - This is a tough team to predict. Defensively, they're good enough to win every game. On the otherhand, they were good enough at this time last year on defense to win every game. Clemson and especially North Carolina felt otherwise. Last year's defense was loaded. Sure, it may have been young at certain places but it was still a unit that most teams could only dream of having. That didn't stop North Carolina's 3rd string running back from going for over 200 yards against them. Devin Hester is good enough to win a couple games because of what he does on special teams alone. Ask Louisville if you don't believe me. If he wasn't playing in that game, the Cards probably would have beaten the Canes.

Offensively, the line is still a question mark heading into the season. There's plenty of talent. I think Kyle Wright will be sensational. However, he might also go through growing pains in a rough first year as a starter. We may still lack the big play threat at tailback. The list goes on and on. Last year's offense wasn't as talented as some of the teams in the past. Were they good enough to score more than 10 points in an ACC title game against Virginia Tech at home? I think so. You should too. So while the offense could become very explosive this season, can they perform at a high level every game?

This team's capable of winning every game on the schedule. I truly believe that. They might. They were last year too, even though this year's team looks better across the board. They should be hungry. They should be playing withn a chip on their shoulder. 9-3 seasons aren't what this program's used to. I've been covering UM's recruiting efforts for six years now and I don't ever recall a kid telling me that he is coming to UM to compete for a conference title or to come here so he can win 9 games a year. No. Kids come here to win national titles. Sure, 2 of those 3 losses were on the last play. I don't care. Louisville and FSU could have easily gone the other way. What if UM's coming off a 7-5 season instead? Ouch.

12-0 is a realistic possibility but so is 9-3. Therefore, I'll go somewhere in between and say 10-2.

STOCK - Heading into the 2004 season, if you thought the Hurricanes had a good chance of winning the national championship you were just kidding yourself. There was not enough leaders, established players, or experience to win the school's sixth national championship.

Here are some reasons to be excited about Miami's run towards a national championship in 2005: Larry Coker, Art Kehoe, Randy Shannon, Dan Werner, Vernon Hargreaves, Curtis Johnson, Greg Mark, Don Soldinger, and Tim Walton all have won national championships as coaches. They know what it takes to get their guys ready to play week in and week out. If they don't know how, then they would not have won national championships before, nor would they be at Miami.

You also have to like the fact that these 12 guys are Hurricanes: Eric Winston, Devin Hester, Kyle Wright, Orien Harris, Kelly Jennings, Greg Threat, Thomas Carroll, Roger McIntosh, Tavares Gooden, Greg Olsen, Rashad Butler, and Ryan Moore. These individuals are some of the best at their respective positions across the country. They have all been in Coral Gables for a while now and know what it takes to win.

If you're looking for talented youngsters, check these 12 guys out: Derron Thomas, Willie Williams, Lance Leggett, Anthony Reddick, Calais Campbell, Eric Moncur, Kenny Phillips, Tyrone Byrd, A.J. Trump, Reggie Youngblood, Randy Phillips, and Kirby Freeman. All of these players will be important in 2006 and beyond, but most of them will have large roles this season as freshmen or sophomores.

So heading into this season you have to be kidding yourself if you don't think this team will compete for the national championship. All of the pieces are there at each position. There are 17 seniors on the team who are established players and bring a lot of leadership to the team.

I expect this team to go 13-0 and win their sixth national championship. Enjoy the season because there is nothing better than enjoying each and every game during a championship run.

IN CONCLUSION...

Bryan "Grassy" Knoll - 9-2
Mike Bakas - 10-2
Christopher Stock - 13-0

Question #1 Who will be the top offensive weapon this season?
Question #2 Who will emerge as the leader on the defense?
Question #3 Who will be the breakout player of the year?
Question #4 Who will be the team MVP?

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