The buzz about Miami as a playoff contender is building.
“It’s all about the U,” ESPN analyst David Pollack said at the top of the network’s Tuesday night College Football Playoff rankings show, when asked what he was looking forward to learning this week. He wanted to see how high UM, coming off its decisive win over No. 13 Virginia Tech, would move up.
Until Mark Richt joined the show from Coral Gables, there wasn’t a lot of talk about Miami.
Seems everyone’s waiting for Saturday.
The Hurricanes (8-0, 6-0 ACC) were ranked No. 7 in the CFP rankings, ahead of Saturday’s clash with Notre Dame (8-1) at Hard Rock Stadium (8 p.m., ABC). The Irish, No. 3 last week, remained there, creating the highest-ranked matchup involving the Hurricanes since 2013.
UM was No. 10 last week, its first time in the three-plus seasons of the playoff system. The Canes jumped unbeaten Wisconsin, which was No. 8.
“I think it’s fine,” Richt said on ESPN, when asked what he thought of the ranking. “Like I said before, if we win, we’ll move up. … If we lose, we’ll move down. It’s pretty simple.
“We’ve got four more games to go — hopefully, four, we have three for sure. We’re shooting for a fourth for the ACC Championship Game if we end up winning the Coastal [Division]. That’s four huge games to be played and if we win, I think we’ll be fine. We’re just focused on trying to beat Notre Dame right now.”
The rest of the top 10: No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Alabama — both 9-0 — the third-ranked Irish, No. 4 Clemson and No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 TCU, all of whom are 8-1. Behind seventh-ranked Miami and eighth-ranked Wisconsin: No. 9 Washington (8-1) and No. 10 Auburn (7-2).
The Hurricanes sit behind one-loss Clemson (which lost to 4-5 Syracuse, a team Miami beat) and both Oklahoma and TCU, both of which lost to Iowa State (6-3).
Beating Notre Dame would solve those issues — and certainly put UM in the top four.
The top four teams in the Dec. 3 rankings are slotted in the Rose and Sugar Bowls, both Jan. 1, are the playoff semifinals. The winners play in the national title game 8 p.m. Jan. 8.
Miami was No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, its highest AP ranking since it climbed to No. 7 for two weeks in 2013. Before that, Miami hadn’t been higher than that in the AP poll since 2005.
The Canes spent 42 weeks in a row No. 7 or higher from 2000-03, including 22 of them at N0. 1.
The Irish were No. 3 in the AP poll this week. Notre Dame and Miami were fifth and sixth in the coaches’ poll, respectively.
Elsewhere in the CFP rankings: Virginia Tech (7-2, 3-2) dropped four spots to 17th after losing Saturday in Miami Gardens. … UCF (8-0) was No. 18. It is the highest a Group of Five team has ever been ranked in the second batch of rankings.
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