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Miami Ready to Contend

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Miami is suddenly back where it belongs: highly-ranked and part of the national conversation.

It's easy to think about Miami and immediately go back to the glory days, the iconic players and moments that make "The U" one of the great programs in college football history. Naturally, the question arises: are the Hurricanes back? Though the idea of such comparisons are fun and enchanting, this is a team, at 3-0 and fresh off a record-setting thrashing of rival Florida State, that appears to be emerging into a national contender right now.

The Hurricanes, ranked 7th nationally, are here.

Miami's most recent performance was a vintage one. The Hurricanes overwhelmed Florida State with 52 points, the most scored by either team in the series all-time. Miami had 33 first downs, 517 yards of total offense, recorded six sacks, 13 tackles for loss and recorded three interceptions of three different quarterbacks. In a primetime national spotlight, the Hurricanes looked and played like a top ten team. With 332 yards of total offense, quarterback D'Eriq King led Miami to one of its most complete performances in years.

With two high-profile ACC wins already on their resume, there is an energy to the Hurricanes, a momentum that has them positioned as one of college football's most fascinating teams. This is a bunch, still improving week-to-week, that has put forth multiple impressive performances. For all of the talent on Miami's roster, the Hurricanes are also playing with confidence, a palpable energy clear in all of their games.

Miami scored 99 points against Louisville and Florida State; their overall grade, so far, would be close to the same.

Up next for the Hurricanes is a game at top-ranked Clemson. Miami has earned the right to be viewed as a legitimate foe for the five-time running ACC Champion Tigers. The nation will be watching as Miami meets number one Clemson. ESPN College GameDay will be on site for the showdown. Such a spotlight is one the league has wanted and needed for years. The Hurricanes will head north with one of the best resumes of this young football season. A proud tradition, one of expecting to win against anyone, anywhere, will follow Miami to Death Valley.

Fittingly enough, it's the big stage where the Hurricanes have often been at their best.

As September transitions to October, Miami has undoubtedly been one of the stories of the year. The internal expectation is for more of the same. Upcoming games against Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and North Carolina await as major tests for the Hurricanes, but Clemson stands as the ultimate barometer. Saturday awaits as a legitimate litmus test as Miami lost to the Tigers 38-3 in the last meeting between the two, the 2017 ACC Championship Game. A win over Clemson would, quite frankly, upend college football. It's a process this program is used to.

Miami is suddenly back where it belongs: highly-ranked and part of the national conversation. History on their side and a future filled with possibilities, the Hurricanes are making the most of every opportunity.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports