On December 31, 2006, the Miami Hurricanes suited up and took the field.
As the ‘Canes Nike cleats dug into the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho, Miami prepared for a battle in the MPC Computers Bowl against Nevada.
Miami’s Head Coach in that game was Larry Coker, and the ‘Canes starting Quarterback was Kirby Freeman. Freeman threw for 272 yards, and thanks to a last second interception by Chavez Grant, Miami won the game by a final score of 21-20.
Despite the harmony in the locker room that night; however, a lot has changed at the University of Miami since that New Year’s Eve night nine years ago. Four different head coaches have stepped onto Greentree Practice Field since then, and the ‘Canes have called two different stadiums their home.
One stat that hasn’t changed; however, is bowl wins. The Miami Hurricanes haven’t won a single bowl game since 2006.
NCAA sanctions have played a role, but the bottom line is that Miami hasn’t entered the off-season with a postseason victory for nearly a decade. To many Miami fans, that statement means that in the last decade no progress has been made.
It is hard to argue this point with the departure of Al
Golden, and if Miami wants to prove that times have changed for the better, they must win a bowl game in 2015.
For the current state of Miami football, the opponent isn’t very important. Unlike past years, ‘Canes fans should not be hoping for a powerhouse opponent; but rather, a winnable matchup to gain momentum.
This has been a year to remember for Miami fans, but not in a good way. Other than their last second victory against Duke, Hurricane fans will associate bad memories with 2015. Head Coach Al Golden was fired, and Miami allowed 50+ points to both Clemson and North Carolina.
Five years from now analysts won’t dismiss a bowl win if it is against a mediocre opponent; but instead, simply state that the Hurricanes came away with a postseason victory. Moving into a new era of Hurricane football, it is more important for Miami to pick up a bowl victory than pick up a statement victory.
When the ‘Canes take the field for their bowl game, they will not just be playing for a 9th victory. They will be playing to prove that the last 5 years were not a mistake.
Although negativity has surrounded the program since that bowl victory in 2006, and history can’t be changed in this bowl game, the ‘Canes have a chance to shoot the starter pistol and look to a different future.