By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000
AUG. 31 VS. McNEESE STATE: This is an early breather, a chance to make sure everybody lines up the proper way, an opportunity to work out the kinks. The teams have never met, but the Cowboys from the Southland Conference are no match for the Hurricanes. Expect an easy, although sloppy, Hurricanes victory.
SEPT. 9 AT WASHINGTON: For a team with lofty expectations, this game will help shape UM's season. The Huskies, too, are confident and expect to contend for the Pac-10 title. They open at home against Idaho, so most of the preparation will have been on the Hurricanes. This will be a stern test for relatively new UM quarterback Ken Dorsey.
SEPT. 23 AT WEST VIRGINIA: The Big East opener is on the road at a typically difficult venue. But the Hurricanes have a way of pulling out victories at West Virginia. For a team that expects to win the Big East, this game is a must. UM coach Butch Davis is 4-1 against the Mountaineers.
SEPT. 30 AT RUTGERS: The Scarlet Knights sunk to their usual level last season, going 1-10 after a surprising 5-6 season earned Terry Shea conference Coach of the Year. Now he's battling to keep his job, and he doesn't have enough talent to handle the Hurricanes, who handed Rutgers a 55-0 beating last season. The only chance Rutgers has is to catch UM looking ahead to Florida State. And even that won't be enough.
OCT. 7 VS. FLORIDA STATE: The Orange Bowl will be stomping for what once was college football's best rivalry. Davis is 0-5 against Bobby Bowden, but the Hurricanes gave the defending national champions a tough battle in Tallahassee last season before finally falling 31-21. Two years ago, UM hung tough in the Orange Bowl, falling 26-14. If the 'Canes are really back, they have to have this one.
OCT. 21 AT TEMPLE: You can almost hear the echoes at Veterans Stadium now. The Hurricanes might bring out a few extra fans, but typically, the Owls play in front of a ton of empty seats, making for one of the worst atmospheres in college football. It's easy to go to sleep in a game such as this, especially after two weeks off. The 'Canes cruised last season, 55-0.
OCT. 28 VS. LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs managed to sneak into the Top 25 last season with an 8-3 record, but record-setting quarterback Tim Rattay is gone. The top five pass-catchers from a year ago return, and Tech still has an explosive offense. The Bulldogs are not afraid to take on top teams -- they travel to Penn State, Kansas State and Auburn as well -- but they should be no match for the Hurricanes.
NOV. 4 VS. VIRGINIA TECH: Along with FSU, this is another Davis nemesis. Just like the Seminoles, the UM coach is 0-5 against the Hokies. That makes winning the Big East difficult. Last year's game was closer than the 43-10 score, as the Hurricanes suffered a number of second-half miscues that led to Virginia Tech points. This game could make or break the season.
NOV. 11 VS. PITTSBURGH: The Panthers are steadily improving under coach Walt Harris, but they've been no match for the Hurricanes the past two seasons. Unless UM is reeling from another loss to Virginia Tech, this is a game that good teams put away early.
NOV. 18 AT SYRACUSE: The last time Miami went to the Carrier Dome, the Hurricanes suffered a humiliating 66-13 defeat in which nothing went right. They helped atone for that last season with a 45-13 win, but that was in the Orange Bowl. The Orangemen are always better in their deafening dome, but they don't have the firepower to stick with the 'Canes.
NOV. 25 VS. BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles are coming off an excellent 8-4 season, receiving their first bowl bid since 1994. Coach Tom O'Brien expects no drop-off, but don't expect a win over Miami. The Hurricanes have won 10 straight in the series, last losing in the '84 "Hail Flutie" game. If the season has been as successful as expected, the Hurricanes will take care of business and wait for their bowl invitation.