After the Miami Hurricanes beat the Virginia Tech Hokies the game before last a lot of folks kept saying that Miami was “back.” Now they have said this for years after either a fast start or maybe what seemed to be a major win, only to realize that the program wasn’t really back to championship level.
Even after the Hokies win, it’s safe to say that not everyone was totally on board about this sentiment, despite the dominating performance. Folks were waiting for the result against then #3 Notre Dame. If they win this game, then it’s settled. Well safe to say Saturday’s 41-8 drubbing of the Irish settled any dispute whether the Canes were back. With the Hurricanes being officially back and smack in the hunt for a national title, this is a great thing for college football.
Now it’s always good for college sports to have their blue bloods do well. In hoops, that’s UNC, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, and you can throw in Duke to that mix. In college football the blue bloods are Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and throw in USC as well. When these programs do well, it’s good for the sport nationally. You get recognizable brand name programs that raises interest on a national level for the sport. For instance a College Football Playoff with Alabama, Texas, Notre Dame and Ohio State would be insanely popular.
The Miami Hurricanes are far fro being a college football blue blood. This program has and really will always be an outlier. Five National championships since the 1980s, is a pretty amazing feat. But their reputation has always been as renegades. Much of that has to do with mainly how Jimmy Johnson ran the program when he was the head coach and has trickled down from there. They were flashy and flamboyant and it rubbed all the other buttoned up programs the wrong way. With that said they became a national program despite all the resistance from the sport’s more conservative base.
Even though the teams of the early 2000s didn’t talk as much trash as the teams in the 1980s, they still had the reputation amongst those outside of the program. At this point because of the style of play under the Johnson era, it would be a reputation that still holds to the program to this day. Really the only thing that resembles this year’s team to the team’s past is the turnover chain. Which itself is flashy and over the top, but the players themselves are as disciplined as you can get. On Saturday Miami had only one penalty the entire game, a delay of game call when they were in the wildcat formation. So hardly a team that’s out there taunting their opponents.
Miami will never be welcomed into the blue blood club, which is actually possibly the part of their identity that makes them so appealing. Out of all the other major programs, outside of USC, Miami is in a major US city. But it’s different than Los Angeles because Miami believe it or not is much flashier than L.A. It’s a tourist destination that people all of the world clamor about. It’s really if you break it down perhaps the most glamorous destination in the contiguous Unit4ed States. Certainly the closest place to paradise we have.
Now all of this kind of plays a role in the identity of Miami and their football program. In South Florida for instance when the Hurricanes are good the town is buzzing. The town buzzes when the Heat and Dolphins are good too, but it’s nothing like the Hurricanes. It’s not even close. They own the town from a sports perspective. That stadium was buzzing on Saturday night that brought flashbacks to the scene when they played their games at the Orange Bowl.
The optics on national TV with Miami just dominating the Fighting Irish was certainly a sight to see. I had several friends who hadn’t watched a college football game all year tune in to watch this game. There is something about the Miami Hurricanes football program that builds an extra buzz around the sport. I may not be able to explain it with words, but it’s there. When Miami is good the sport seemingly gets more exciting, there’s more flair. Even fans of teams that despise Miami can’t deny this fact. There is no other program in college football that can produce this kind of excitement. There really just isn’t. And obviously as a Miami alum, I’m biased, but there is truth to this sentiment.
To me I’m hyped, and maybe it’s the fan base that helps generates this buzz. But one thing you have to admit, the sport is a heck of a lot more fun to watch, when the Canes are back in a national title hunt.