Miami Heads To Maryland; No Expectations

Kickoff is in less than an hour and I have no idea what’s coming today.

Football truly seems meaningless this weekend, though I am glad Miami made the trek and will play Maryland. They truly was no other option. What good would it have done to cancel the game? Bryan Pata will still be gone and there’s nothing therapeutic about our kids sitting around their apartments on a Saturday while other games are being played. Get out there and do what you do best; play football.

The University of Maryland is doing their part to commemorate Pata’s honor. Before the game there will be a moment of silence and like the Canes, the Terps will don #95 stickers on the back of their helmets as well.

I’ve seen some critics take pot shots at Larry Coker and the University of Miami for agreeing to play this game. That’s bogus. If the kids agreed they wanted to play, they let them play the damned game and don’t make this yet another opportunity to pile on Miami for doing the ‘wrong’ thing.

Hell, give Miami credit for doing what it can to keep that ‘business as usual’ approach for the few hours they’ll be on the field today, next Saturday and the following Thursday. There are three games left and though they’re hanging on by a thread, they’re still hanging on.

A win today would be a nice bonus, but the real victory is The U’s effort to restore some normalcy. Bryan Pata isn’t coming back and skipping this football game isn’t going to lessen the pain anymore than playing it will.

As unimportant as it might sound, it’d be unfair to deprive Maryland their shot at Miami. The Terps are tied for first place in the ACC ‘s Atlantic Division with Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons take on the Seminoles this evening and would have a leg up in their division if the Miami/Maryland game was cancelled. For a program who is rolling out the red carpet for the Canes today and treating the Pata tragedy like he was one of their own, it’d be wrong to alter the outcome of their season by canceling this game.

We’re now at thirty minutes to kickoff and I can only imagine what’s going on in the Canes’ locker room right now. Tears are being shed and emotions have to be getting the better of these kids. Ray Lewis spoke to these Canes last night. Ray-Ray endured the loss of best friend Marlin Barnes a decade ago on UM’s campus, in the apartment they shared. Barnes’ murder changed Lewis’ life and I’m sure he shed some wisdom on these young, fragile Canes.

All I can say is, hang on. Ride the storm out. Strap that helmet on and for the next three hours or so, play football and try to forget about #95 for half the afternoon. Once that clock hits 0:00, everyone’s heart will be heavy again, so if you can get some reprieve on the field, soak it up. Let it be about football once that opening kick is in the air.

No one is going to get hung up over a win or loss today. As many have stated this week, Miami already won just by showing up. The deck is stacked against the Canes, not just due to heavy hearts but also because of real football injuries.

Kyle Wright is out with a fractured throwing hand and Kirby Freeman gets his first start behind center.

Tyrone Moss might take the majority of the snaps at tailback as Javarris James is still struggling with a hip pointer. We’ll see, come gametime.

Reggie Youngblood, starting left tackle, is also out. Same with starting outside linebacker Tavares Gooden. The banged up emotional leader Jon Beason will start outside today.

Battered, bruised and riding a two-game losing streak, these Canes truly have no business winning today. That said, I am hoping for something special. One of those days where the outcome defies logic. Where adrenaline and emotion can supersede average coaching and a superior opponent.

We’re twenty minutes from seeing how it’ll play out, but since we’re all reeling right now, I’m putting on the orange and green colored glasses for this pick. Screw logic and conventional wisdom. This one’s for Bryan and every kid with a “U” on his helmet knows that.

The Canes’ fairy tale has been an utter nightmare in 2006. Today Miami deserves a storybook-style ending and I pray the football gods look down favorably upon The U today. Miami 16, Maryland 13. Not sure how much I really believe that, but I’m reaching right now. The U needs something here.

On a side note, I am curious to see John Saunders, Craig James and Doug Flutie in the studio for ABC at halftime. All three wore their bias on their sleeves a few weeks back when Miami played Duke. All three were rooting for the Blue Devils, feeling that the Canes weren’t fairly disciplned regarding their on the field brawl a week earlier.

When the Canes and Terps take the field today, will these three ABC buffoons root for a reeling Miami bunch or do they keep their opinions quiet?




One thought on “Miami Heads To Maryland; No Expectations

  1. I made the trek from Columbus, Ohio to College Park, Maryland to see my Canes in person. Obviously the game was disappointed with the outcome, you know, they played well enough to win. We gave up the two bombs and that was it. Freeman impressed me with his first start, on the road. He should have engineered the game winning drive if not for a dropped pass in the endzone. We came up short yet again but I’m proud of The U for their effort after the week and the season they’ve had. We should have won, but didn’t I was expecting Terp fans to be crude. The majority said good luck and said they felt for us, with last Tuesday’s tragedy. There were two who made comments such as asking me didn’t I have a wake to go to and another saying something about our players shooting. Ignorance is all over the country. I am proud of The U and will always be. We are down this year. These other teams better gets theirs wins this year because I think we’re going to get some payback in 2007. Go Canes.

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