After losing to Virginia Tech 42-24 Saturday night, the Miami Hurricanes, as expected, took a major dive in both polls. Miami is ranked 23rd in the coaches poll and 24th in the Associated Press poll. The bigger drop was in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division, wherein they are now in a four-way tie for the lead, but trail Virginia Tech in the tie-breaker based upon head-to-head competition.
If the season were to end with Miami and Virginia Tech both winning the remainder of their games and Clemson somehow loses to Georgia Tech, Miami would more than likely head to Atlanta to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl versus the fifth-ranked team from the SEC. This is also predicated upon Florida State winning the ACC and getting a bid in the BCS Championship Game. Then, the ACC runner up would be number one and Miami could be number two, depending on Clemson's finish. If Clemson finishes ahead of Miami, the Canes could be bound for the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
"We have a lot left to play for," Miami coach Al Golden said Sunday in a teleconference with the local media. "Its important that the senior class takes the lead......None of these guys have ever played for an ACC championship. None of these guys have ever played in a bowl game."
Golden did spend some time addressing the problems from Saturday's game and said that he does not expect the team to point fingers at anyone in particular for the loss.
"The biggest thing is to learn from this and move on," Golden said. "We are all disappointed, but it is important that we do not point any fingers at anyone."
One of the guys that has been under a microscope lately is senior quarterback Stephen Morris. Golden was asked if it was time to take a look at Ryan Williams in preparation for next year and that was welcomed about as much as a sale on FSU game tape to UM boosters.
"Ryan is really improving and making progress, but we did have five drops in that game the other night," Golden said. "He (Morris) has looked better than he has and he's close. I don't want to get anybody rattled. He was close to playing a real good game."
In other words, Golden was saying to give his signal-caller a chance and do not expect to see Williams with the exception of mop-up duty or, heaven forbid, an injury to Morris.
Golden was still in shock over the speed in which the game turned Saturday night. It appeared to be almost surreal.
"I've been involved in college football for 24 years," Golden said. "I've never seen anything unfold as quickly as that. That is the equivalent of a running back fumbling three times in a row." Golden was including the Pat O'Donnell recovery of the bad snap at his own 17 yard line as a turnover. "We didn't respond."
Golden said that the team never gave up, despite the miscues and continued to challenge on every down.
"We've been fighting all year. We played one of the most veteran defenses that you will see and we spotted them 21 points," Golden said. "Our guys continued to fight but it was just too much to overcome."