After a busy offseason that featured a hoard of coaching staff and roster personnel changes, Miami enters its 2023 slate looking to improve from a disappointing first season under head coach Mario Cristobal.
With UM’s season debut on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. against Miami (Ohio) approaching, the sports section staff of The Miami Hurricane gave their respective win-loss record projections.
Luke Chaney: 7-5
To replace the 26 departing transfers, as well as the graduates and NFL draft entrees, Miami added an impactful transfer class and a highly touted group of recruits, ranked by the 247 Sports Composite as the seventh-best in the country.
A few of these newcomers have been impactful in their short time at UM. Nebraska transfer running back Ajay Allen rushed for over 100 yards during Miami’s open scrimmage on Aug. 12, and freshman defensive lineman Rueben Bain Jr. totaled three sacks during the spring game in April.
Still, with the Hurricanes coming off a five-win season, a massive improvement with so many new players might be unrealistic.
Zachary Macer: 7-5
With the most notable Hurricanes football changes between last year’s 5-7 season and this season being the hirings of offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and defensive coordinator Lance Guidry, there shouldn’t be a massive leap in quality as the team adjusts to the new schemes.
In Week 2, these schemes will be tested early on in the season against AP Poll-ranked, No. 23 Texas A&M. It’s one of the five losses I’ve predicted since the inner workings of both sides of the ball are still being perfected. Miami should breeze through the rest of its non-conference opponents in Miami (Ohio), Bethune-Cookman and Temple.
In addition to Texas A&M, the ‘Canes will play against three other AP Poll top-25 opponents during their ACC campaign. Miami will visit No. 21 UNC and No. 8 Florida State, both of which have stellar quarterbacks in Drake Maye and Jordan Travis. No. 9 Clemson will play at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami has lost to Clemson by a combined score of 82-27 in the last two matchups against the Tigers. All of these games should be expected losses.
The rest of Miami’s ACC schedule should be under its control, as it features teams that Miami has beaten in the past, and even though there will most likely be a hiccup, the Hurricanes could find themselves on top against all of them.
Elliot Farr: 8-4
We should expect Hurricanes football to make a significant jump with so many new and highly-touted recruits now coming to Coral Gables. While there are still some tough games on the schedule this year, Miami can certainly make a significant improvement on its win total if everything goes according to plan.
There are plenty of teams that Miami should come away from with a win, such as Miami (Ohio), Bethune-Cookman, Temple and Boston College. The real challenge is when the major ACC football powers face Miami, such as Clemson, Florida State, and even North Carolina. Those will be the real tests to gauge where the football team is in 2023.
Carter Lutz: 9-3
I am truly impressed with the way head coach Mario Cristobal has turned things around with his staff and personnel heading into the 2023 season. Josh Gattis is out as offensive coordinator and in comes former Houston offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who will be implementing an air-raid style offense which should be a major step up from last year.
Miami’s roster improved drastically by adding plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball through the transfer portal and the high school recruiting ranks. The offensive line features newcomers like Matt Lee, a three-year starter from Central Florida, Javion Cohen from Alabama and five-star freshman Francis Mauigoa.
On the other side of the trenches, the defensive line brings back NFL draft prospect Leonard Taylor III, last year’s sack leader in Akheem Mesidor and sophomore Nylajik Kelly, who impressed last season. Dominating the line of scrimmage will be a major key to success in 2023.
I have Miami starting off hot, winning its first five games of the season. The ‘Canes have a tough ACC road schedule down the stretch, which will eventually lead them to an impressive and much improved 9-3 record.
Luke Sims: 7-5
This is a pivotal year for the ‘Canes. They have the chance to bounce back and build momentum this season that can carry them on for years to come. It starts with winning the games they should. They have to be at least 4-1 through the first five because they have a gauntlet at the end of the season. Texas A&M would be a marquee win, and that victory is not all that expected.
From there, Miami’s season becomes more difficult. The Hurricanes will face North Carolina, North Carolina State and Florida State on the road, all in the span of five weeks. Those games will determine how the year goes for Miami. The ‘Canes end with Louisville and Boston College, and if they can get a split with those two teams, they should be content.
Miami has to do what they couldn’t do last year, which is win the easy ones. There cannot be a repeat of the Middle Tennessee State game from last year. That would derail the season and kill any momentum that this program has built.
Mario Cristobal will need to lean on his leaders on the defense to make up for the inexperience on the offense. Stud safety duo Kamren Kinchens and James Williams will need to be consistently excellent while ascending pass-rushers Leanord Taylor III and Rueben Bain Jr. Transfers Matt Lee and Javion Cohen from will help stabilize the interior offensive line and give quarterback Tyler Van Dyke the platform to have a bounce-back year.
The pieces are in place for Cristobal in his second year, and the momentum is building in Coral Gables. Miami has the veterans in the right places and young players ready to make an impact.