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Miami Hurricanes

Can Hurricanes “re-growth” start at chilly Pinstripe Bowl?

Matt Zemek

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes won’t play the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl on a sheet of ice at Yankee Stadium in New York, but this game against the Wisconsin Badgers is not important for its exact details. It is more striking for its richness of metaphorical identity.

The Pinstripe Bowl is a rare thing in the 39-game college football bowl world: a cold-weather bowl.

Nashville (Music City) isn’t necessarily warm. El Paso (Sun) can be snowy. The Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit is a dome game. Only a handful of bowl games are played in cold weather, and the Pinstripe — in New York — is one of the more reliably cold postseason games of every college football December. Game time temperature expected to be around 40 degrees in the Bronx Thursday afternoon.

The reality of Miami’s bowl game shows how far the Hurricanes fell this year. Every significant bowl game is played in a warm-weather location or a dome: Fiesta (suburban Phoenix), Cotton (a suburban Dallas dome), Peach (a dome in Atlanta), Sugar (a dome in New Orleans), Orange (Miami), and Rose (suburban Los Angeles). If you’re not playing in a warm-weather or domed bowl game, you aren’t a member of the nation’s elite for that particular season.

Playing a cold-weather bowl in late December isn’t automatically a humiliation or a demotion for a team. The likes of Northwestern, Iowa State, Syracuse, Duke, and other teams which have played in recent Pinstripe Bowls took enormous satisfaction from being in this game — sometimes as an end unto itself, sometimes as a hoped-for catapult to a bigger season the next year.

For Miami, the only time a Pinstripe Bowl bid is acceptable is when the program is trying to rebuild, as it needed to do in the late 1990s under Butch Davis or at the start of new coaching tenures in this highly unsettled period in the post-Ken Dorsey era. In general, the Hurricanes have no business playing in a cold-weather bowl game. The fact that they are playing a team which is comfortable in cold weather — Wisconsin — only adds to the pervasive awareness of how much the Canes are out of their element in this contest.

A warm-weather team — which memorably turned into icicles last year in Pittsburgh against the Panthers — has to go to a cold-weather location against a cold-weather opponent in a fourth-tier bowl game. It is miserable on so many levels for this team, an inhabitant of South Florida’s lush environment, palm trees, and beautiful beaches…

.. and we haven’t even mentioned Manny Diaz yet.

Recruits are de-committing. A popular and talented assistant — arguably the crown jewel of the staff — is about to leave, ironically to a Temple program located in another city which gets very cold this time of year. Mark Richt now knows his defense might not be as formidable in 2019 as it otherwise would have been, which means his offense might have to compensate to an even greater degree. The need for Richt to fix his offense next season just became that much more acute.

The fact that the Pinstripe Bowl is situated against a backdrop of considerable adversity only makes this cold-weather trek that much more uncomfortable — and yet fitting — for Miami. The Canes are in a city they didn’t want to visit for the holiday. They have no momentum and no tangible sense that their offense is on the cusp of a breakthrough. They lost Manny Diaz to Temple. Their recruiting situation is precarious, to say the least.

No, the Yankee Stadium field isn’t a sheet of ice — not literally — but it might as well be.

In this cold, harsh, cruel environment — on this hard ground where it is difficult for roots to go deep into the soil — can Miami plant a seed which will grow into a strong and durable plant? Brought low and humiliated, can the Hurricanes start anew and begin rebuilding far away from home, carrying what they do in New York to spring ball, and the time of year when plants are supposed to blossom? When everything is miserable and barren and marked by the dead of winter, can Miami football create new life?

We are about to find out.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school

Florida Football Insiders

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USA Today Sports

Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden is apparently about to have his day in court, while trying to recoup what he says is multi-millions of dollars that the University still owes him from firing him 5 years ago.

Miami Herald writer and columnist Barry Jackson had more on Monday evening that there apparently will not be a settlement by the school with the man that coached them for parts of five seasons in the 2010s.

Golden is seeking in excess of $3 million for what he says is compensation per his contract that he was owed when Miami terminated him in October of 2015 after a humiliating 58 – 0 lost to Clemson. The University says that Golden has been paid what the contract required.

As Jackson reported, there have already been depositions on both sides, including with Miami athletic director Blake James. And both James and Golden will be testifying in the civil suit about what went wrong and how it has not been rectified for almost three years, since the dispute started.

Golden came to Miami after having turned around the Temple football program, but only went 32 – 25 in his four plus seasons. He contends in a chain of emails that were obtained by the media recently, that the University mislead him about the Nevin Shapiro payment scandal and the punishments that Miami was going to receive for scholarship losses and a bowl ban.

He further contends that he asked for tough opponents like Wisconsin and Michigan State to be pushed back on the Canes schedule early in his tenure, while they were in the middle of the sanctions. However, that  James would not relent, thereby, making it much tougher for Miami to compete and win.

The University has had no comment on the possible suit going to trial. Golden’s lawyer told the media recently that they are anxious to have their day in front of a judge and jury.

Golden has been a position coach in the NFL with the Detroit Lions the last two years. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find their footing with coach Manny Diaz coming off a dismal 6-7 season where they lost their last three games. That included a humiliating 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff

Florida Football Insiders

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes are hoping to reestablish their winning ways, and coach Manny Diaz is starting 2020 by reaching back to a prominent member of their recent past to help them.

Diaz and the school announced Thursday afternoon that former All-American, National Champion and College and NFL Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, will be coming aboard as a newly-created “Chief of Staff” position for Hurricanes football:

As the school’s release said, Reed “will be responsible in advisory role of all aspects of the football program including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player Development among other duties.

Diaz said in the statement,

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back to Coral Gables,” Diaz said. “He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program. All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”  

This hire comes on the heels of Miami apparently botching the hiring in a similar role of former star RB  from the 80’s Alonzo Highsmith earlier this month. Highsmith negotiated with Diaz and AD Blake James about looking to come back to Coral Gables after having been in a similar role with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL this past year. Alas, they could not agree. Highsmith has since been fired after the Browns fired GM John Dorsey and shook up their front office.

As for the “Chief of Staff” position, numerous college programs, including Clemson Alabama and Georgia have a similar positions to aid and assist the head coach with the day-to-day administration of program.

You cannot find a more decorated Cane willing to help, as Reed was arguably the best safety in college football in the 2000s. Miami posted a 23 – 1 record over his final two seasons (’00-’01) and he was part of the 2001 BCS Championship team that finished 11-1 and destroyed Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.

Reed with a consensus First-team All-American in 2000 and 2001 and set the Hurricanes record for interceptions with 21 before leaving Coral Gables.

Reed was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 for his accomplishments.

Reed was later a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, playing at 11 sasons with them before playing his final year with the Texans and the Jets. He is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-Pro six times. Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame year ago.

Read was not quoted in the release by the Hurricanes on Thursday afternoon.

However, he did participate earlier during Super Bowl week in Miami with former Hurricanes legendary coach Jimmy Johnson in a special program from Fox Sports with other famous Hurricane alumni like Michael Irvin.

The program called “The ReUnion” dealt with Miami trying to regain the winning ways and dominance of the 80s and 90s.

Miami stumbled to a 6-6 finish and then was embarrassed to end Diaz’s first season with a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

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