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Happy Holidays from State of the U

While many of our Christmas wishes have already been answered, in the form of Mark Richt and a new defensive philosophy, one big-ticket item remains.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes haven't won a bowl game since defeating Nevada in 2006, and it hurts. The Hurricanes have traveled from Shreveport, Louisiana to San Francisco, California, to Orlando, Florida and El Paso, Texas, and have come away winless each trip.

Interim head coach Larry Scott is preaching a different message and is getting better results: Cut it loose. Playing with pride and passion has been a staple of his pregame pep talks, and players and fans alike are taking his calls well. Passion is the reason we love the Hurricanes, as for most things in life, to the extent we do. From Ray Lewis's epic pregame speeches to Michael Irvin's and to Ed Reed's, passion has built greatness at the University of Miami.

After the Hyundai Sun Bowl, the Hurricanes will officially be in a new era. Mark Richt has hopes of bringing Miami back to the elite ranks of college football. Before he can put his first touches on the team, however, there's work that needs finished.

With years of subpar performance and a new coach at the helm, this offseason is spoiling fans with thoughts of returning to greatness. Greatness doesn't have to wait. More than anything, what we want here at State of the U is a Hurricanes' victory at the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

A Washington State Cougars offense that ranks first in the nation in passing offense stands between the Hurricanes and victory. While Miami has struggled as a whole defensively, ranking 76th in total defense, they have had success against the pass. Defensive backs Corn Elder, Artie Burns, Tracy Howard, Deon Bush, Rayshawn Jenkins, and more have held their own in coverage. Their stellar play led the Canes to be ranked 29th in passing yards allowed and accounted for 15 interceptions on the season.

In the Hurricanes last five games, the defense has held opponents to an average of 185.6 passing yards and registered four interceptions.

This is where passion needs to be seen the most. Squaring off with a lethal passing attack, the Hurricanes' secondary must be aggressive. The defensive line has to disrupt timing and get into the backfield. Miami's defense faces arguably the greatest passing threat it has seen all season, and only the intensity its played with in the last five games will suffice.

From us at State of the U, we'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. For those of you unable to make the trek to El Paso, Texas for the bowl game, we invite you to ‘cut it loose' in our game thread tomorrow.

The Miami Hurricanes square off with the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, December 26 at 2:00 p.m. ET in the 82nd Hyundai Sun Bowl.