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Report: Winning streak has Miami administration mulling keeping Manny Diaz, reinvesting in football

A 2-game winning streak could ultimately change the temperature on South Beach.

When last we checked in on Miami, on Oct. 22, AD Blake James was going on record with the Miami Herald pointedly declining to give Manny Diaz the vote of confidence.

“I can’t look into the future,’’ James said at the time. “I think it’s a situation where Manny is our head coach and he’s getting the guys ready to play a game tomorrow."

At that time, Miami was a day away from hosting No. 18 NC State with a trip to Pitt following. Here's how we broke down the lay of the land on South Beach:

Beat NC State and Pitt, and Miami can reasonably say it defeated two teams that are currently undefeated in conference play; suffered disappointing but forgivable losses to Alabama and top-10 Michigan State; sits inches away from 6-2, had a couple plays gone differently against UVa and UNC; and would be favored to finish 8-4 with a closing stretch of Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke. 

Two weeks later, Miami beat both NC State and Pitt. 

In doing so, the Canes were led by freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke -- 751 yards and seven touchdowns (one pick) on 10 yards an attempt in the wins -- and freshman running back Jaylan Knighton -- 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Two of the team's top receivers are freshmen as well. 

An 8-4 finish (with two losses to top-10 teams, and the other two coming by five points combined) now looks... if not certain, then more likely than any other outcome. An 8-4 finish, depending on how Pitt and Virginia finish their seasons, could also put Miami back in the ACC title game for the second time ever. 

It's enough for the Miami administration to at least trail balloon the idea of, If we're going to sink $15-20 million into changing coaching staffs, wouldn't that money be better spent keeping the coaching staff and investing into the program? 

As Manny Navarro writes for The Athletic

Miami’s administration is highly unlikely to make a coaching change during the season in large part because it wants to protect the team from losing its top freshmen via the transfer portal. That’s the priority over everything else.

“In the end, we want him to succeed, not fail,” a source in Miami’s administration said.

While nothing has been decided either way -- note the key phrase above: "during the season" -- the story paints a picture that Diaz stands on sturdier ground with Miami president Julio Frenk and his inner circle than James does. 

For a certain, online portion of the Miami fan base, Diaz long ago entered Clay Helton territory where nothing short of an ACC title and a Playoff berth can redeem him. But for the constituency that ultimately matters most, the jury is still out.