What originally started out a standard Sunday recap about an upset and improbable comeback victory against Duke has since morphed twice-over into a piece about an ongoing bias against “The U”—one that truly reached a tipping point since topping the Blue Devils in Durham.
One would have to truly live under a rock to have missed the onslaught of negativity and borderline insane chatter since the Canes eight-lateral touchdown seemingly saved Miami’s season—timing-wise, as well as a necessary, emotional lift for a program that simply couldn’t afford another setback.
Instead of commending Miami and what the Canes overcame the past week—it was a witch hunt; U-bashing morons masquerading as “professional journalists”.
All were out for blood; each saying something more outlandish than the next—appeasing the national masses who hate everything Miami represents, know that Cane-hating makes for good ratings and trending topics.
Honestly, I half-expected one to scream, “death penalty” out of sheer muscle-memory and habit.
Lost in the shuffle of misguided criticism at Miami, suggestions of forefiture and some end-of-times reaction to a blown call—a weekly occurrence, treated as an anomaly here—a narrative that deserved to be reported in a fair and unbiased manner.
IF IT’S ANYONE BUT “THE U”; MIRACLE PLAY IS CELEBRATED
Take everything the University of Miami suffered through over the past few weeks and change the subject of that story to Duke University—or merely someone else that isn’t generally as despised as UM. Retell the tale and try to convince anyone that the situation, reaction and fallout wouldn’t be completely different.
A football team’s struggles under a maligned, heavily-criticized head coach continue—year five looking no better than years passed by way of uncharacteristic losses becoming characteristic. Said coach is fired courtesy of laying an egg weeks back and a once-proud, dominant program suffers its worst loss in school’s history.
While most fans are relieved to see head coach go, stand-up man that he was, he had an impact on the kids he recruited and coached—his premature departure resulting in a somber, tear-filled Sunday night goodbye and beginning of a new chapter, albeit in the middle of a season.
As if all that weren’t enough, the hits kept coming.
Struggling team loses offensive bright-spot when it’s all everything quarterback suffers a concussion in beat down and won’t be available for next week’s game—thrusting an inexperienced back-up into his first career start, on the heels of a rough performance when called on the week prior.
Even heavier, a beloved player loses his mother unexpectedly to a heart attack—a woman close to the program that many players looked up to. Said player returns unexpectedly to practice a day later, knowing his teammates need a boost.
Team rallies around him while an interim leader with no head coaching experience tries to temper emotions—rallying his staff and getting this kids ready to cut it loose, while keeping them from completely unraveling or losing control; a fine, imperfect balance.
Beaten-down, demoralized team shows up for road game, yet ready to throw blows—immediately pouncing on the home team. Newbie quarterback hits the ground running, usually-troubled defense is making a difference and two-touchdown underdog is leading by 11 at the half.
Giving up a few late scores, the road dog it still hanging tough and seemingly in control. On what was the home team’s final offensive possession, that cornerback who lost his mom five days prior looks like he just hauled in a game-sealing interception—completing a storybook ending.
Five plays later, back-to-back flags on the road team—penalties #22 and #23 on the night, compared to the five against the home team; in this case, 30 bonus yards by way of three questionable calls on a game-defining drive.
Timeout-less, the home team goes with a one-yard quarterback sneak the road dogs were expecting. A second-string linebacker—in for the recently injured heart and soul of the defense, lost for the year—makes the stop.
No chance the plane was broken—yet the zebras signal touchdown; a struggling defense now robbed of two game-ending stops.
With :06 remaining and no timeouts, the clock would’ve expired; the underdogs pulling off the 24-19 victory. Instead, forced to defy the odds—as an 80-percent win probability in the fourth quarter dipped to 0.1-percent as both teams lined up for the final kickoff.
From there; pure magic—yet drug through the mud ad nauseam over the coming days.
All the bitch-moaning and complaining about how things unfolded—not the case if a traditional, beloved program is playing the lead role, opposed to a program that so many love to hate.
Take this story to an alternate universe where the Miami Hurricanes aren’t the team in question, plug in some run-of-the-mill, rah-rah type of program and this finish all the chatter this week. ESPN would run non-stop polls asking where this one ranks in the history of college football. Comparisons are being made between this finish and the legendary Stanford and Cal showdown decades back.
Hell, rites are arguably being sold to Disney and this becomes an ABC movie-of-the-week. Dive into the “Miracle In Durham” video below, outsiders. Pretend it’s not Miami and then convince us that you didn’t find yourself choked up.
Instead of commending what the Canes overcame—the sports entertainment community went after that low-hanging fruit, in typical, amateurish fashion.
LIKE HOWARD STERN; CANES ARE EITHER REVERED OR LOATHED
ESPN understands that U-hating is good business as Miami doesn’t have a deep alumni base, outside of notable professional athletes. Sticking the Canes in prime-time several times-per-season; it serves a dual need—a small percentage tuning in to see Miami win, while the masses are clamoring for the Canes to get beaten.
Same to be said when putting together a panel where idiots shout over other idiots—all in the name of sports journalism, of course.
Some useless ACC blogger on ESPN writes or states something logical on the matter, no one cares. But if she says something outlandish about the Canes doing the right thing and forfeiting the game—she’ll get likes, favorites, retweets and could possibly trend—which is so much more important than getting it right. Miami fans will post her drivel out of disgust, while those who dislike the Canes will share to bolster their case that UM is to blame.
In short; hating on “The U” is good for business as it evokes either positive or negative emotions—both strong and never indifferent.
For years there’s been talk amongst the Miami community that there’s an anti-Canes agenda at ESPN. It seemed almost paranoid and crazy to go there over the years, but after this last week the noise is getting louder and that hate harder to ignore.
At least a half dozen ESPN columnists called for the ACC to reverse the game’s outcome—an unprecedented move that would have huge ramifications on the sport moving forward; but to hell with it—Miami needs to pay in the short-term.
MIAMI WAS ROBBED ALL GAME; EPIC FAIL BY THE ACC
Revisiting what went down in Durham, was there a missed block in the back before that final lateral from Dallas Crawford to Corn Elder—freshman defensive back Sheldrick Redwine a little too amped up?
Yup—and in a game where the Canes were robbed on a handful of occasions, forgive anyone on this side of the argument for not giving a damn about a lucky break allowing justice to be served as the block arguably did zero to change the outcome.
All other defining blocks were clean—a huge hit by David Njoku and a late takedown by Mark Walton. Outside of that, the only other debate was a running back’s knee and supposed “inconclusive evidence” by way of a still image showing Walton as the ball was in the process of leaving his hand.
Walton wasn’t called down in what was a bang-bang play and there wasn’t inconclusive evidence to overturn. The merits of that can be further debated regarding the rule book, Article 7 on “player possession” for those who want to delve deeper. Case closed on this end.
Any “injustice” against Duke in those final six seconds; completely outweighed by 23 calls against Miami, as well as what these since-suspended refs took from Artie Burns—his game-ending interception—as well as the Canes’ defense and goal line stop by Juwon Young, filling in for Raphel Kirby; a senior sustaining a season-ending knee injury that will never suit up for UM again.
Complete moral outrage regarding a missed block in the back on a return, yet no one bats an eye over quarterback Thomas Sirk not breaking the plane—gifted the opportunity by a few bogus penalties, and aided by incompetent referees who struggled to get the game clock right twice in the final seconds; giving a timeout-less Duke a few extra seconds to breathe in critical moments.
There’s also interim head coach Larry Scott—rolling out a tremendous performance in a very trying week for the Canes. Scott had his kids ready and video of him in the locker room telling his Canes to, “cut it loose” and have fun playing football—it was the perfect remedy and process, yet has been buried by way of this sophomoric controversy.
Scott too has been robbed in this process; not that he’ll ever complain or put the focus himself—but this pointless controversy eclipsed a job well done week one.
What Scott won’t say in defense of himself, Miami’s top brass has chimed in—athletic director Blake James penning a letter to fans and alum, letting it be know that UM went after the ACC the morning after—getting conformation from the conference that several plays throughout the course of the evening didn’t go the Canes’ way. First-year UM president Julio Frenk also put out a release, letting it be know that he was proud of his kids and coming to their defense.
LOVED, RESPECTED OR HATED MEANS CANES ON THE MEND
The upside and takeaway for Miami? “The U” is one step closer to all being right in the world again as it’s much more fun when the Hurricanes are hated, opposed to pitied.
It’s been less than two weeks since Al Golden was sent packing, but the way Miami played at Duke and the fallout from the manner in which the Canes won; it sure says a lot.
Yes, it was only the Blue Devils and a game that no one outside the ACC or Coastal Division cared about; but the writing is on the wall—outsiders know that Miami is on the mend and determined to write the ship.
Golden’s contract was set to run through the 2019 season and a constant narrative that Miami lacked the funds to buy him out, that the admin would keep the struggling coach for image-sake and his CEO qualities—folks believing that UM was content with 8-4 type seasons, as long as ACC television revenue rolled in and Hurricanes players stayed out of trouble.
Then Sunday October 25th happened. Golden was released by dinnertime and word got out regarding what it arguably cost the University of Miami in millions of dollars; millions the private school could’ve saved by firing Golden after December 1st—no longer in his initial contract; five years in the books and now into his extension, which would’ve lowered the buyout.
Board of Trustees members and sources within the program also going on record as stating that Miami is willing to spend up to $4M on it’s next head coach—$1.5M more than Golden was making.
Facilities have been upgraded, adidas money is rolling in, former players have been vocal in stating that Miami must get it right hiring-wise this time around and the Canes—disconnected and at odds the past several years—are now pulling together at the U Family they need to be.
Fact is, the University of Miami does care about football, wants to field a winner and is determined to make things right. All the ribbing from rivals up north about keeping Golden around—an obvious dig as the Seminoles ride a six-game win-streak against the Canes; five of which came on Al’s watch—an underhanded way of suggesting UM kept an incompetent leader in charge.
Such wasn’t the case and the fallout being experienced is one rooted in two emotions; fear and hatred. Miami getting back on track is something no outsider wants to see—and knowing how the Canes will carry themselves once back on track; in the wake of a decade-long drought—it’s enough to make the haters’ skin crawl.
Long story short; keep doing what you’re doing, Miami. Come together as one. Be the family you are. Embody those words of that former coach who is no longer here and this time around, “truly ignore the noise”.
This reaction from the outside simply means that things are officially getting back on track in South Florida.
It’s a Canes thing…