When we last left my beloved Hurricanes, we were reeling from a Emerald Almonds Bowl loss at the hand of the California Bears. But unlike real life, for most teams September means a do-over. Things start anew with a fresh record and for many, hope for a National Championship.
Not so for the Miami Hurricanes this year. It’s difficult to write this, but the Canes could easily sit 0-4 by the end of the first week of October. Yes, 0-4. I know. It hurts.
Most top Div 1 programs start the season with a patty-cake game or two. Maybe play a Div 1-AA team like Florida A&M or Charleston Southern. Its a way for elite teams to have an opportunity to experience a game without the threat of an early season loss. Although The U has faced Florida State now for the past couple years in its first contest of the season, Miami traditionally had at least one or two easy games before a mid-season bump up to ACC conference play.
The Hurricanes will first travel to Doak Cambell Stadium – home of the Seminoles of Florida State. The Seminoles aren’t picked to play very well by seasoned prognosticators. Nevertheless, there exists a little bit of a history between these two teams. The only time a Cane will root for a Seminole or the only time a Seminole will root for a Cane, is if the other team happens to be playing the Florida Gators. In an inwardly gleeful twist of events, it is the FSU Seminoles that are under the NCAA’s microscope for misdeeds with regard to their handling of their student-athletes. For more than a decade, its The U that always is synonymous with miscreants at the intercollegiate level. Not only has the tide turned against the Seminoles, but the NCAA actually was forced to vacate wins from the program. That’s NCAA-speak for retroactively taking victories away from a team – something that has never happened at The U, even when we did indeed field a team of straight-up, bona fide thugs.
After their trip up to Tallahassee, the Canes will return home to face Georgia Tech, a team that has stepped up its game and is now held to be a legitimate national caliber team. If that’s not enough, The U will then travel up to Blackburg, VA to take on VA.Tech. The Hokies will be a tough test. To top things off, Miami will close out this grueling test with the Sooners of Oklahoma back home. Oklahoma, incidentally, was ranked 5th in the country at the end of last season by both the AP and USA Today/Coaches polls.
Should the Hurricanes manage to win 3 of 4 or miraculously all four of their first games, there will undoubtedly be much banter about The U regaining its swagger.