Wrangle, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as: to obtain by persistent arguing or maneuvering.
For some reason, this hit me when I looked back on the Nebraska game, and geared up for tonight’s tilt against Cincinnati.
Let me start by saying I’m a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the University of Miami. I was in school for the 1998 UT national championship and in law school when the greatest college football team of all time – the 2001 Miami Hurricanes – wowed us with otherworldly moments and dominant play the likes of which may not be seen again for some time (45 takeaways, 126-7 combined margin of victory over ranked Syracuse and Washington teams, etc etc etc).
That kind of dominance is fun, right?
That being said, this year has started to put some things in perspective for me: sometimes one point is good enough.
One point was good enough for Florida to rip the hearts out of the collective Tennessee fan base’s chest last Saturday. One more point in regulation would have been good enough for the Volunteers to avoid a munch-on-your-guts loss to Oklahoma.
And one more point in regulation for Nebraska would have resulted in one of the worst losses – given the circumstances – in modern Miami football history.
But here’s the thing – it didn’t. Miami won. Perhaps my disgust has subsided a great deal over the past week and a half….but the fact still remains. They…..won.
And no one has ever complained about an undefeated team. Right now, that’s what Miami is. Their ability to play down to the level of their competition (or below it) has been maddening during Golden’s tenure (and Shannon’s, and the end of Coker’s, etc). I get that. And now, fans will be waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I can’t say that’s not an unreasonable way to feel by any means.
But, the Canes sit here undefeated. And that’s what Miami will try to maintain on national television against a team that just piled on the points and yards in alarming quantity with a backup freshman quarterback last week. With Gunner Kiel out, the Bearcats will be starting said freshman, Hayden Moore, against the Canes, who helped Cincinnati shatter six school records last week against Memphis.
The Bearcats will get theirs. They’ve been too explosive not to. Last year, in Miami’s 55-34 win, Kiel threw for 355 yards (much in garbage time), with Max Morrison and Shaq Washington each catching 6 passes with a touchdown each. Last week they combined for 18 catches, 282 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Clearly, they’re better than last year, and Miami will be without Deon Bush and Jamal Carter for the first half due to the idiocy that is the targeting penalty. The secondary proved in the fourth quarter that it could masquerade as a turnstile, as Tommy Armstrong, Jr. played like the love child of Tommie Frazier and Tom(my) Brady.
Yet, again, there Miami sits at 3-0. If the Canes’ opportunistic defense can cash in on Cincinnati’s alarming tendency to hand over the football, and Miami rolls behind the Yearby-Walton bulldozer, UM should be fine tonight.
But, there’s serious work to be done tonight against a high-powered Cincy offense just to get there. And if Miami finds a way to win a close one tonight (which I would take right now, by the way (knock on wood)), don’t complain. Don’t whine. Is there anyone who wouldn’t have taken 4-0 going into Florida State before the season? I didn’t think so.
So, root tonight with all you’ve got, and if Miami finds a way to pull it out, be happy with where your team is at.
After all, 4-0 can’t be taken for granted. Just ask 2-2 Tennessee.