Rivalry Weak

The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State rivalry is no longer the must-see TV affair that it used to be. Both teams have fallen into protracted states of mediocrity with Miami currently lurking at the bottom of the barrel. It is no longer “rivalry week” when these two play each other, it is now the embodiment of a rivalry that is indefatigably “weak.” Far from the peak of its powers that once made it a fixture that used to decide who the national champions would be on an annual basis. The game has devolved into a celebrated scrimmage and somehow ESPN still has not gotten the memo because they are still marketing it as their centerpiece primetime game more often than not. Wide right, wide left, the fans left the stadium early because instead of a last second kick deciding this game, this one-sided debacle was decided right from the opening kickoff. The Canes got their asses kicked up and down the park on every single play in all phases of the game.


The Lows

In a season full of all-time low embarrassments that we foolishly thought could not be surpassed after Middle Tennessee and Duke bullied us for our lunch money, Florida State stepped up to the mic and emasculated the Hurricanes worse than Rabbit did Papa Doc in the freestyle battle at the end of the Eminem produced cult favorite film “8 Mile.” In fact, what Florida State did to Miami on Saturday night was more akin to when Rabbit walked into the studio for a pre-planned recording session and found the engineer smashing his girl played by Brittany Murphy on the six-figure expensive mixing console. Rest in peace to the late Brittany Murphy and rest in peace to our Hurricane pride. FSU said the “Y” in “your girl” is silent as they took our girl and made her their own at Hard Rock Saturday night. Canes fans quietly hit the streets early and all that could be heard in the hauntingly hollow halls of the stadium Seminole alumni like to affectionately call “Doak Campbell South” was the Seminole War Chant being sung acapella on a loop because their band stayed home on this occasion. The band knew that this imminent beatdown would be so complete that they did not even bother to show up. They didn’t need to. Miami did a better job of stirring up Seminole pride way more efficiently than the FSU band ever could. Was it their homecoming or ours? I really could not tell.


The History

Coker, Shannon, Golden, Richt, and Diaz. That is the list of fired head coaches that oversaw the slow progressive decline of the University of Miami football program in the past 20 years since Miami won its last national championship at the Rose Bowl in January of 2002. None of those coaches ever lost to FSU like this. None of them! Don’t get me wrong, they have all taken their share of decisive losses to FSU. Randy Shannon took a 45-17 beatdown to Florida State in 2010,  but in that game, Miami went into the 4th quarter still in it and only down by two scores before Ponder put in the dagger and then back-to-back 90-yard runs sealed the deal. On Saturday night the Canes laid down from the very first drive. They showed no fight after the coin toss. They quit on the coaches and it is clear that Mario has lost this locker room. That’s an indictment on the coaches, when you preach a philosophy and the players aren’t seeing the results on the field and you as a coach never adjust, the players lose faith and trust in the staff. They start dreaming about going back to the way things were before when they were having more team and individual success, which leads to resistance and sometimes wide open rebellion. What’s worse is that it didn’t have to be this way.



I consider myself a realist, so I never had unrealistic expectations of what the on-field product would look like in year one of the Mario Cristobal regime. I know some fans and Canes YouTubers were getting carried away with thinking that winning the ACC or making the college football playoff was in play. I was thinking more in line with what Mark Richt achieved in his first season in Miami. An 8-4 regular season that would end up with a decent bowl berth and flirting with winning the ACC Coastal division. Miami finished the season 7-5 last year under Manny Diaz with heartbreaking close losses to FSU, North Carolina, and Virginia. I did not think it would be a heavy lift for Cristobal to come in and generate a one game improvement over last year’s performance. I assumed Cristobal was a game day coaching upgrade over Manny Diaz. I did not see this complete meltdown coming. I did not see Cristobal being a net negative this season and I definitely did not anticipate this level of regression of our players. I am thoroughly disappointed in the performance of the team this season, and this is one of the worst Hurricane teams that I have personally ever seen.



It’s all but a certainty that Miami will finish this season ineligible for a bowl for the first time since the bowl ban probationary years of Al Golden. There’s a good chance that we don’t win another game and the only game that Miami has a chance of winning is the next one against Georgia Tech. That is a big question mark and I don’t blame anyone who doubts Miami’s chances in that matchup. In 2014, Al Golden was limited on scholarships and the FSU Seminoles were the #2 team in the country and defending champs that would end up being a representative in the first college football playoffs that year. Even Al Golden’s undermanned team put up a better fight and only lost by four points. Miami could only manage to score a measly three points on Saturday night. There is no excuse for the lack of effort that we saw and Canes fans who have been beaten down for so long deserved better. This Miami team could barely get any first downs in the game, let alone touchdowns.


Coaching Matters

I understand needing 4- and 5-star players to compete for a national championship, but you should not need an army of 5 stars to beat Middle Tennessee State and Duke. You shouldn’t need an army of 5 stars to compete with an average FSU team or to be near the top of the Coastal division standings. Let’s face it, what stings the most about this result other than the incessant trash talk that we will have to endure for another year from our loved ones who are Seminole fans is the fact that this FSU team is not even that good. Florida State is celebrating like they are on the right track, but the fact of the matter is, this team is still a sub .500 team under Mike Norvell with losses on their record to Wake Forest and NC State this year and a squeaky tight win over a struggling Louisville. In years past, those would be unacceptable results for a proud FSU program. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

It was just two years ago when the Manny Diaz led Miami Hurricanes embarrassed Norvell 52-10 in a nationally televised primetime game. I find it hard to believe that the 2022 version of the FSU Seminoles are 42 points better than the team they needed an improbable 4th and 14 conversion to beat last season. This is clearly a case of the coaches Cristobal brought in, namely Gattis, running a scheme that is simply not conducive to putting our players in positions to be successful. Miami had 3 different quarterbacks play on Saturday night, including a former NFL first round graded talent, a blue-chip consensus 4-star Cali QB, and another blue-chip dual threat QB from the Sunbelt. They all combined for 62 yards passing. I have seen more passing yards in a peewee football team running the triple option. Simply put, this Gattis offense is basic. It is predictable and lacks innovation. It’s easy to defend and that is why this offense is underperforming.


The Offense needs SIGNIFICANT Work

Tyler Van Dyke’s draft stock has absolutely tanked. Jake Garcia looks like he doesn’t even belong playing college football at the juco (junior college) level. Jaylen Knighton was one of our MVPs of last season with shades of becoming our baby Dalvin Cook. This season he has been completely invisible and unplayable. Key’Shawn Smith was a young baller for us last season, this year, he has been reduced to only being able to return kicks. Even mediocre players with bricks for hands like Dee Wiggins and Mark Pope found success in Rhett Lashlee’s pace and space offense. Players certainly need to have some accountability and take some responsibility for their performance and effort, especially since they are now being paid very well for their services on top of getting their education fully paid for, but I find it hard to believe that all of these guys suddenly forgot how to play football.

The Hurricanes had one of the best offenses in the ACC last season and lost heartbreaking close games because their defense could not get stops. How did the offense fall from grace so quickly with so many of the same players from the roster underperforming now? Even teams with poor defensive talent have had an easy time defending Miami this year. Middle Tennessee is not a good Conference USA team. They got blown out by other Conference USA teams and Miami had a hard time moving the ball against them in the first half. Same thing happened a few weeks prior against Southern Mississippi. The red flags were apparent in the first game against Bethune Cookman because Miami showed in that game, they were incapable of executing passing plays in the red zone. I expressed my concerns back then and I was shut down by fans who told me that we were just holding back our playbook for the Texas A&M game. I knew from very early on that something was very wrong with our offense. I spoke up, but no one wanted to hear me and I was accused of being impatient.


Defensive Problems

Miami’s defense, which was bad last season, has somehow found a way to regress with the exception of the defensive line. Giving up 3 or 4 huge passing plays every game is not something that we should ever get used to. Once the Canes didn’t get the stop on the first third down of the game after picking up the unnecessary pass interference penalty for the ill-advised hit from Flagg, we all knew Miami was going to give up the score. What we did not know was somehow DJ Ivey and Al Blades Jr. would give up, yet another huge passing play a few plays later. Or maybe we did but we just did not want to believe that it was possible that the defense would give up another explosive play like they have been giving up like clockwork. How can this stuff keep happening with such regularity? This is the highest paid Miami coaching staff of all-time and it looks like they are all stealing money. You have to try hard to be this bad. College football just by the nature of it is a game that is skewed by talent on rosters and teams like Duke and Syracuse have far less talented rosters but are finding much more success in their head coach’s first season running the program. Meanwhile, we are watching Texas A&M who has killed the recruiting game under Jimbo Fisher, still struggling. All of that talent but Jimbo still can’t find a way to start winning games consistently.

Hopeful Future….

It’s scary to think that some coaches are so bad that they can’t win games even if they have the most talented rosters in the country because they refuse to hire younger innovative coaches to keep their programs on the cutting edge. I still believe that Mario Cristobal is going to turn this program around. I have to believe that because honestly the guy is the king of winning the offseason headlines. We have been patient for 20 years, so what is 4 more? Mario has a lot of support from the University, from boosters with NIL deals, and he is a recruiting master. What this season proved is that he is not “LIKE THAT” as an X’s and O’s guy. He is a CEO type that made some bad hires in his coaching staff this season. Cristobal went for big names and high price tags instead of bringing in smart young coaches that can maximize the skills and speed of his players by using avant-garde concepts and techniques. For Mario to have success he will need to be adaptable to his players and his next few hires will be his most important as leader of his alma mater’s biggest athletic endeavour.

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One Response

  1. Yes you are right this team seems to lay down for every team they play. I don’t know if it’s because of the coaching change and their loyalty remains with Diaz or they just don’t try hard. So whatever it takes needs to start now. I’m a diehard cane fan so I’m in for the full ride. I don’t have a solution so I’ll leave it to the coaches to turn it around.

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