We have reached the top 10 teams in the nation and the cream of the crop is starting to rise. Here is team #9 and the 2010 Miami Hurricanes Football Preview. All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview from Maddux Sports which includes an outlook, a college football pick or two, and a recap of last season.
No. 9 Miami, Fl. Hurricanes
2009 record: 9-4
2009 Bowl Game: 20-14 loss to Wisconsin in Champs Sports Bowl
2009 ATS: 6-6
Returning starters: 13 (6 on offense, 7 on defense)
The Hurricanes return six starters on a high-flying offense that struggled at times. Quarterback Jacory Harris threw for 3,352 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2009. He also threw 17 interceptions, a stat he needs to improve on if he wants to lead the team to the top of the conference.
Graig Cooper and Damien Berry were the top rushers last year. Cooper ran for 695 yards and four touchdowns, but is doubtful for the 2010 season after injuring his knee in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Berry will most likely get the bulk of the carries. He has shown that he can carry a high load, rushing 93 times for 616 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He showcased his explosiveness in the 2009 campaign, averaging 6.6 yards per carry.
Berry will get help from sophomore Mike James, who is a bruising runner. Lamar Miller and Storm Johnson have shown that they can step in when needed, and they could get some playing time too.
Wideouts Leonard Hankerson, Travis Benjamin, and Adarius Johnson form a dangerous receiving corps. All three of them averaged over 17 yards per reception last season, and they combined for 11 touchdowns.
The defense is led by a strong line and a solid secondary. Senior defensive end Allen Bailey had seven sacks and four tackles for a loss last season. He will get help from fellow defensive end Marcus Robinson (4 sacks) and linebacker Sean Spence, who sacked opposing quarterbacks three times in 2009.
The linebacking unit might be the biggest question mark in an otherwise solid defense. While Spence is strong on the outside, the Hurricanes will sorely miss inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton, who was drafted by the Houston Texans in the fourth round. Colin McCarthy could move from the outside to the inside to plug the hole.
The secondary looks very strong with junior cornerback Brandon Harris leading the way. Harris had two interceptions last season, but proved to be a shutdown corner with 15 passes broken up. He added five tackles for a loss and one sack.
Sophomore safety Vaughn Telemaque has looked strong last season with 48 tackles and four passes broken up, and should be even better with the added experience.
Matt Bosher had a great season as punter and kicker. He averaged 42.5 yards on his punts and forced 21 fair catches. He made opposing offenses star within their own 20-yard line 23 times, but also had three punts blocked.
Bosher went 50-50 on extra points and missed only two kicks total. He made his sole attempt from 50+ yards, a 51-yarder in an overtime loss to Clemson.
Thearon Collier returned punts in 2009 and was a dangerous weapon for the Hokies. He scored two touchdowns on returns and averaged 13.2 yards per attempt.
Graig Cooper and Mike James split kick return duties, and with Cooper possibly missing the season, James could be the sole kick returner. He averaged 21.3 yard per return last season on 19 attempts.
Against the spread
The Hurricanes went 6-6 against the college football line in 2009. They were 2-2 as the home favorite and 2-3 when favored on the road. They went 1-0 as the home dog and had the same record as the underdog on the road.
Miami went 3-5 in conference games and 3-1 against non-conference opponents. They are 15-21 under fourth year head coach Randy Shannon and 56-64 ATS in the last ten years.
You can bet on it
Bet on the Hurricanes against Florida A&M in their season opener. Miami is 7-1 against the Rattlers and has outgained Floriad A&M by an average of 298 yards per game in the last four meetings. The Hurricanes won 48-16 last season and 51-10 in 2006.
Favor the fade
Fade the Hurricanes at Pittsburgh on September 23. They are 21-9-1 in the series against the Panthers but have lost 14 out of the last 15 matchups. They are also currently on a six game losing streak against Pitt.