22 Points? It’s Hurricane Season.

Updated: November 1, 2013
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It’s that time of year again…when swirling winds and torrential downpours start in South Florida then head up the Atlantic Coastline. From 2000-2002, The University of Miami’s football program was a perfect storm in itself. The Hurricanes had one of the most dominant stretches that organized sports have ever seen. Players during that era from “The U” – a title the school’s alumni wear like a badge of honor - did not just reign supreme over their opponents in the physical sense; they psychologically owned their adversaries to the point that games were over before they even began.  Miami manhandled the Big East Conference with a bravado that inspired awe in even alumni of opposing universities. Winning graciously was certainly not Miami’s MO, however their unapologetic crudeness, coupled with their unparalleled talent made the Canes as compelling a program as ever before seen in college football.

The U seamlessly shattered the ancient bounds of tradition and discipline with which college football was forever equated. The Hurricane teams of the mid 80’s deserve the credit for instilling swagger into the Miami football program – and really into college football in general. However, the Hurricane teams from 2000-2002 took that swagger to the next level by dominating, and dominating with consistency. Devout disciplinarian and college football icon Paul “Bear” Bryant, probably did somersaults in his grave over Ed Reed, Vince Wilfork, Antrelle Rolle, Sean Taylor, and the rest of the Canes bouncing up and down and nodding their heads between plays - sending an un-apologetic message of superiority and utter disregard across the line of scrimmage. For better or for worse, that attitude is now commonplace across the landscape of college football as seen after just about any touchdown or big play, taking place on a Saturday’s across the nation.

Miami was also way ahead of its time in adopting a pro-style offense, as other successful teams of that era such as Oklahoma Sooner, the controversial BCS Champions of 2000, as a result of Florida State somehow earning the right to be in the Championship Game over Miami. Miami had beaten Florida State that year and they had the same 11-1 record…I think we all know what would’ve happened if they squared off against The U as they should have.  And Nebraska, who got absolutely demolished by Miami in the 2001 Rose Bowl and National Championship game were still running the option and triple option offenses. Miami was airing the ball down the field, and blowing opponents away with their unmatched size and speed.

On January 3rd, 2003, the Miami Hurricane Dynasty met its untimely and abrupt demise. I wont get into the preposterous pass interference flag that was thrown five seconds after that fateful 4th and 3 play ended - by an official who had no view of the play with the game in the balance - but ultimately with that loss to the Craig Krenzel lead Ohio State Buckeyes…Miami Hurricane Football was never the same…until now? 

 In a decade filled with pedestrian seasons, NCAA allegations, a declining fan-base, and complete disappointment across the board – having gone to college at “The U” had lost some its luster. Now finally in 2013, the downward spiral seems to have finally come to an end. It has been a huge few weeks for the program as they are not only 7-0 headed into this Saturday’s showdown with their arch nemesis FSU (also undefeated), but they also learned that there would be no further sanctions handed down by the NCAA in regards to their bowl eligibility. Miami seems to have also restored the bulls-eye on their backs as they barely eked out wins over vastly inferior UNC (in a Thursday night road test), and at home last weekend in a trap game against Wake Forest.

Second year Head Coach Al Golden, who has been instrumental in restoring stability to the once revered program, has been preaching to this team to “get comfortable, being uncomfortable” - essentially conveying to his team that Miami is back and they are here to stay, so they better be ready to get their opponents best shots. The 2013 Canes seem to have gotten this message loud and clear, as they put together impressive go-ahead drives late in each game to remain unbeaten. If their opponents’ efforts the last two weeks were any indication, beating the Miami Hurricanes carries significance once again.           

            The Canes are 22-point dogs headed into Saturday’s showdown for Floridian supremacy. As impressive as Jameis Winston and the ‘Noles have been, If I were a gambling man – which I am - I’m salivating over taking the Canes with the points. Despite a few key injuries, Miami has a legitimate chance to win this game. Not only is this a rivalry game in which anything can happen – but this is also Miami’s shot to let the world know that they are back for good. Look for the Canes to rely heavily on their scintillating sophomore tailback Duke Johnson, who is as exciting to watch as anybody college football has to offer. This is a huge opportunity for the Canes. If they find a way to slow down Jameis and the Noles and leave Tallahassee with a victory, their remaining schedule is navigable (Virginia Tech at home, and at Pittsburgh being the toughest tests) to the point that they should probably run the table. Imagine; a month down the line, we are talking about the Miami Hurricanes as National Championship contenders in the first year their post-season eligibility is re-instated…

Courtesy of blogs.allcanes.com

Regardless of what happens Saturday, Miami’s season has been nothing short of commendable – especially given that up until a week and a half ago, they were playing only for pride. As the shirts commonly seen around Coral Gables say, “The U Invented Swagger,” (in the college football sense, anyway) but inventions require adaptation over time. You won’t see the Canes bouncing up and down in between plays anymore, but you will see them focused, disciplined, conditioned, and poised to pull off the upset. 

Saturday Special: The U +22.

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