ESPN recently released a bracket of what a 64 team Football Bowl Subdivision playoff would look like. The Miami football team is the eighth seed in the South Region.
ESPN used their Football Power Index to create their 64-team bracket. Each team was placed into 16-team regions that were classified as the South, Southeast, East and West brackets. The other eight seeds show how far the Miami football program has fallen since the stellar 2017 season.
Iowa State, Kentucky, Baylor join UM as eight seeds. The eighth seed means Miami is favored to win their first-round game over ninth-seeded Nebraska. Or are they? Miami and Nebraska have had a great intersectional rivalry. The Cornhuskers and Hurricanes battle date to the 1951 season at the Orange Bowl.
Miami and Nebraska met again in Lincoln in 1953. The rivalry took on added importance in 1963 when the teams played in New York in the Gotham Bowl. The rivalry took on national significance when Nebraska came to the Orange Bowl in January 1984.
The upset by Miami netted them their first National Championship and birth of a dynasty. Four of the teams 12 meetings and of six bowl games have determined National Championships. The last one was the Hurricanes victory in the 2002 Rose Bowl coronating the greatest team in the history of college football.
A meeting between Manny Diaz in his first season and former Central Florida head coach Scott Frost in his second at Nebraska would be intriguing. Many felt that Frost and his Knights were unfairly not given a chance to compete for a national championship in the college football playoff after the 2017 season.
Nebraska went 4-8 in Frost’s first season to match Mike Riley’s record in his final season as the Cornhuskers coach in 2017. The 2017 Cornhuskers had their first losing season since Bill Callahan went 5-7 in his last year in Lincoln in 2007. During the Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne eras, Nebraska had winning records from 1962-97.
Nebraska did have one of the most exciting players in college football last season in Freshman QB Adrian Martinez. It would be interesting to see Diaz scheme for the Cornhuskers offense. Martinez threw for 2,617 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also ran for 629 yards and eight touchdowns.
ESPN gave a nod to the Miami-Nebraska rivalry and that a meeting between the Hurricanes and ‘Huskers was too good to pass up. The home team won the last two meetings in high scoring games and ESPN expects the same in their hypothetical matchup.
“(9) Nebraska 38, (8) Miami 30: A Huskers-Hurricanes matchup, even in the first round, is too compelling to pass up. Both teams are generating buzz for the future, but Nebraska gets the edge here because of quarterback Adrian Martinez and an offense that will be tough to slow down.”
The mothership’s Adam Rittenberg is underestimating the Miami defense and Diaz’s ability to game plan for opposing offenses. Based on the dominance of last season’s pass defense, the Hurricanes should be able to stop Nebraska’s mediocre pass offense.
Stopping the run would be the key. Nebraska finished 28th on the ground in FBS in 2018. We saw what happens when Miami went up against a good rushing offense in the Pinstripe Bowl. Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin ran around and through the Miami defense for 300 team rushing yards.
A 64-team college football playoff would be epic. It’s not going to happen anytime soon if ever. The four-team playoff seems to be here for the near future. Hopefully, the College Football Playoff would evolve into a 16-team playoff at some point. For now, it’s fun to imagine what a 64-team playoff would look like.