In due time, fans of the Miami Hurricanes will look back at this past week fondly as this was when “the shift” took place. That moment in time where the universe seemed to somewhat correct itself, with things finally going back in the favor of the orange and green.
Make no mistake, it isn’t all a result of dumb luck, right place at the right time or charity. UM athletics, coaches, players, and even fans, have stepped up played their part, exercised patience a a process has worked itself out.
In less than a week we’ve seen the NCAA botch their investigation of UM, while men’s basketball upset (and beat down) top-ranked Duke.
Within a day of that court-storming performance, football head coach lured Florida State offensive coordinator and top recruiter James Coley to Coral Gables and just to rub it in a little more, men’s basketball trounced the Seminoles, 71-47 on Sunday afternoon, remaining undefeated in ACC play and moving to 16-3 overall.
Add it all up and what was dismal a week ago when Jedd Fisch took the offensive coordinator gig with the Jacksonville Jaguars, seeming the weight of the world has been lifted and the dark cloud removed.
For the first time in a long time, it truly is great to be a Mi-am-i Hurr-i-cane again and in the coming weeks things could get even better.
Miami is far from out of the woods regarding the NCAA investigation, but the already beat-up reputation of an egotistical, out of control, bullying organization, took a huge hit this past week and their loss could prove to be UM’s gain.
The NCAA blew the whistle on itself … which most-likely came as a result of someone else getting close to call bullshit on the organization. Did Miami’s attorneys or compliance department force the NCAA’s hand, seeing where the investigation was botched and tainted?
Whatever the case, the cat is out of the bag and the NCAA has a huge mess on its hands.
Punish Miami severely and rest assured lawsuits will be coming from everywhere – former players, former coaches, the university itself – you name it, everyone will fight now that college athletics’ governing body has proven shady in its tactics.
In Miami’s case, the NCAA got in bed with a convicted Ponzi schemer who had an axe to grind, as well as his attorney, Maria Elena Perez, who The Florida Bar has opened a preliminary investigation into possible ethics violations due to her allegedly unethical working relationship with the NCAA in what seems to a be a joint effort to take UM down.
Two self-imposed post-seasons bans, as well as skipping the ACC Championship game, all in good faith – it’s looking more and more like it will bode well for Miami, with the worst truly in the rearview.
When looking at the situation, a best-case scenario would be some form of a ‘mistrial’, due to corruption and no way for Miami to get a fair shake, or credit for ‘time served’ and the book being closed.
Worst-case, the NCAA hits Miami with something, in order not to let the program off on a technicality, with limited scholarship reductions and probation being as bad as it gets. Still even with the Notice Of Allegations does drop, a safe bet Miami fights back – as do all others involved – due to the NCAA’s lack of credibility these days.
As big as the NCAA news was, even bigger, the fact that a Seminole became a Hurricane when Coley was hired by Golden as UM’s new offensive coordinator.
One can only imagine folks in Tallahassee when the rumors began to swirl. No way they thought Coley would leave his alma mater, despite being a Miami native. Plus, UM is notoriously cheap and FSU, besides deeper pockets, just has oh-so-much-more to offer.
Miami offered upwards of $500,000 to the $335,500 Coley was making with the Noles, and while Florida State was quick to match the salary, nothing could be done regarding job experience. Coley wanted to be hands-on, while Jimbo Fisher refused to relinquish game-day play-calling duties.
As a result, Coley saw the greener pastures of Coral Gables, while the Noles lost their program’s best recruiter.
Coupled with the addition of former Canes player and coach, as well as six-year Florida International head coach, Mario Cristobal, the fence Golden just put around the Tri-City area is electric, with barbed wire, M80s and shark teeth.
The next few weeks could get even uglier for Florida State, with so many on-the-fence recruits now having one more reason to look at the Canes and one less to choose the Noles. Coley was targeted many kids that were on UM’s radar.
What happens now with linebacker Matthew Thomas, wide receiver Stacy Coley, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, defensive lineman Keith Bryant and running back Alex Collins, most-recently seen at The BUC leading a cheer with the Ibis during the rout of Duke.
Most of these kids were a coin flip from heading to ‘The U’. Does the addition of Coley seal the deal? Whatever he used to sell them on Tallahassee, can he and the rest of Miami’s staff now sway the momentum towards Coral Gables?
Oh yeah, and in-case the coach poach wasn’t enough for the Noles, Miami just kicked the ever-loving tar out of the beloved Florida State basketball program Sunday afternoon.
For so long FSU boasted of their program’s success – with former UM leader Leonard Hamilton, no less. Look at Miami now under Jim Larranaga. Atop the ACC, 15-3, riding a seven-game win-streak and predicted by some to break into the top ten and to go deep in the NCAA Tourney.
The beauty of college athletics is the cyclical nature of things. No one stays on top too long, nor does a perennial power continue to dwell in the basement. Shifts in momentum happen. Tides turn. Ships are righted.
The game itself changed the days Golden and Larranaga were hired, just as the NCAA lost its grip when shady behavior and a vendetta trumped justice, in effect wrecking their case against ‘The U’.
Times have been rocky for way too long in Coral Gables and for this program, but this last week proved emphatically that better days are ahead.
It’s not quite time to claim victory, but in the words of Golden, this program does “deserve victory” and this past week took a giant leap in the right direction.
Christian Bello has been covering Miami Hurricanes athletics since the mid-1990s. After spending almost a decade as a columnist for CanesTime, he launched allCanesBlog.com. – the official blog for allCanes.com : The #1 Canes Shop Since 1959. Bello has joined up with XOFan.com and will be a guest columnist at CaneInsider.com this fall. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianRBello.