Today is a tremendous opportunity for the No. 10 ranked University of Miami football team. With second year head coach in Mark Richt, that is also an alum of the school and a former player, this school is poised to reposition itself as a national power with one of its very own at the helm. That’s special.
A win today versus Atlantic Division Coastal rival, Virginia Tech, and the Hurricanes likely lock up a trip to the ACC Championship game. It would be their first time ever, if you can even believe that.
If you look at the program Richt left, the University of Georgia has earned a No. 1 national raking with a coach who played at the school. It’s something that fan bases and school administrations don’t require when hiring but inherently love.
It’s awesome to have success in general, but it’s more special to enjoy that success with one of your very own. Perhaps the reason why is because there’s usually never a thought about the person leaving to go to greener pastures after reaching the heights of championship success.
After all, you’re at home. Who else would appreciate and love you like your very own?
A win today and Mark Richt will have solidified a spot in the hearts of all the true Miami Hurricanes fans nationwide. And the reason is because he will make this team nationally relevant again for the first time in decades.
Especially after Miami was the lowest rated (No. 10) undefeated team in the Power 5 conferences in the first College Football Playoff Rankings released this week. Their No. 10 ranking put them behind six teams with one loss. There can’t be any other affirmation than that of the level of distrust that the college football world has for the legitimacy of this program right now.
A win today and people have to begin to think Miami is legit.
Al Golden flirted with Hurricane greatness when he enjoyed a brief stint of success at Miami. His best season closely mirrored this one. That 2013 Hurricane team rattled off seven straight wins and go to No. 7 in the country as they went on the road to play No. 3 Florida State.
Current Jacksonville Jaguar wide out Allen Hurns had a tremendous first half and Duke Johnson rushed for nearly 100 years in only one half of play. Then Johnson went down with an injury for the game and the season. Miami’s hopes would fade with him. It was a game that held so much promise going in and it’s been a long four year journey to get back to another chance at that opportunity.
Much like tonight, the 2013 road game against FSU was the same prime time, under the lights, national broadcast type game. It had all the same story lines and recruiting implications and pre-game hype. It had a relative new Hurricane head coach trying to bring the program back to prominence.
The similarities are creepy.
Miami would lose that game and go one to lose three straight. They’d settle for the Russell Athletic Bowl, a game they also lost to Louisville who was not yet in the ACC.
But tonight should be different.
These are new Hurricane coaches, who are hungry for success and who know how to win. The players they have are as good or better than that 2013 Hurricane team. Not just the starting eleven, but more so the depth at every position.
They have a coach that really wants to be at Miami in Richt and not a car salesmen like Al Golden who only said all the right things but tried to sneak off in the middle of the night to head back to his alma mater, Penn State during that same 2013 season. That blew up in his face.
We’ll have to wait to see what happens but one thing is certain, Richt’s not going anywhere.
He’s spending time at youth parks and hosting Middle School combines on his campus hosted by Football Hotbed. He’s engaging with old Hurricane players and even hired some (corners Assistant Coach Mike Rumph). He’s focused, mature and anxious to show Georgia he can win when they said he was only good enough get near the top but not reach it.
It’s the opportunity you play for. A chance to be great.
Consider this, Miami is undefeated with a quarterback in Malik Rosier who no one wanted out of Mobile, Alabama. He came in the same year as eventual three-year starter Brad Kaaya (drafted in the sixth round by the Lions is currently on their practice squad). He would red shirt, Kaaya would start.
After playing in only one significant game prior to this season, a win at Duke in one of the wildest NCAA Football games ever played, Rosier is perfect as a starter at Miami. He’s never lost a game.
Let that sink in.
He was actually in a quarterback battle this off season. Which he really should not have been based on what we see now. But he said and did all the right things.
He’s got an opportunity too. He can make himself a pro prospect tonight. He gets all eyes in the country for the first time and a chance to show this season is not a fluke and he’s a solid quarterback. He’s already proven to be more clutch than Kaaya and his scrambling and running ability give him more versatility at the position.
He’s the biggest story on this undefeated Hurricane team, to be quite honest.
Will he rise to the occasion? Time will tell.
But he’ll need help. He’ll need help from his teammates like back up running back, now starter Travis Homer. He’ll need clutch catches and chain moving plays from wide out Braxton Berrios. He’ll need a hungry defense like reigning defensive lineman of the week R.J. McIntosh.
And he’ll need the crowd of Hurricane fans at Hard Rock stadium to show up early and loudly and act like they want to live in the glory days of ‘The U’ and not just talk about it.
There’s a lot on the line tonight. Much of it is uncertain, but what is certain is that it’s a tremendous opportunity and those are scarce.
Will be fun to see if the Hurricanes, Richt and Roiser can capitalize.