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Monday Musings: Notre Dame week; Corn Elder next great Pro Cane?

Random Canes and football-related inanity.

1. Pressure’s off….so will they fight?

After Miami’s second-half wilting led to a convincing 37-16 Tech win, the pressure on the Canes to stay in the Coastal race is gone-zo. I, like most fans, was hoping for an upset and then back to the ol’ scoreboard watching that we’ve done over the past (insert way too many) years. Now, all major goals for the season are gone.

And, given the state of the roster, the chances of running the table wouldn’t have exactly been good even if they found a way to sneak out a W in Blacksburg.

Yeah, sure, coaches will regurgitate that tired banter about “next man up” and we’ve still got to win/injuries aren’t an excuse/yada yada…..but you, I, and half-dead Uncle Fred all know that OF COURSE injuries matter and are an excuse. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of many more teams that have been injury-ravaged than the 2016 Miami Hurricanes. At least on the defensive side of the ball. And another one went down on Thursday, with senior safety Rashawn Jenkins going out with a knee injury.

Combine that with the already paper-thing depth and the result is a weary, overmatched Canes’ defensive unit, which needs more help from its beleaguered/sputtering offense in order to stay off the field.

But what will we see going forward? Will they fight or fold? Your guess is as good as mine, based on recent history.

The ol’ mantra about Florida State beating the Canes twice thrice has been true the past three years, with the Canes going 2-6 in the 3 games following FSU so far. And with inexplicable losses during those stretches to teams like Virginia and the 58-0 turd laid against Clemson…..what can we expect to see during this last month?

A lot of the blame in the past has gone on Al Golden, and deservedly so, but despite the X’s and O’s….there’s still blame to go with the Jimmys and Joes that suited up each week. And many of those same players are still on the roster. Whatever the case may be – and it’s been a hard thing to put a finger on – it seems like there’s been a general late-season malaise. I don’t know if I can call it a lack of effort, but there hasn’t seemed to be much of a sense of urgency or fire when the Canes get behind.

So, what will Richt, Diaz, Kaaya, and the leaders on this team give us the final month of the season? Even though goals have been lost, there’s still plenty to play for: pride.

Oh, and guess what, peeps……

2. ………It’s Notre Dame week.

The one thing that’s maybe the greatest facet of college football is the rivalries….and the wins over one’s rival. In the midst of a down season, knocking off a hated rival can give the fans of an 8-4 or 7-5 team a warm and fuzzy feeling going into the offseason.

And even though the 2016 version of Miami – Notre Dame is effectively irrelevant on a national scale, it still represents another of the greatest aspects of the sport – tradition. Claims of Miami being “Sun tan U” back in the 60s and 70s for the visiting Irish. The all-time classic matchups in the 80s and early 90s. It was the marquee game for a number of years.

Notre Dame Stadium is still an incredible place to watch a ball game. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend the trip.

And it would still be a heckuva place to get a win. Guess how many games the Canes have won in that stadium all-time? One. 1984, where Alonzo Highsmith scored 4 touchdowns in route to a 31-13 thrashing of the Irish in what would be one of the high points of Jimmy Johnson’s first year struggles in Coral Gables.

Winning in South Bend before a national television audience would still be a great accomplishment, one that could serve as a high point for what has become a lost season.

3. Corn Elder has the stuff to be one the best Pro Cane in years.

There certainly have been some impactful Pro Canes in the past decade with Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork, Greg Olsen, Sam Shields, Calais Campbell, and Jimmy Graham rising to star status……and possibly Lamar Miller headed that way.

Defensively, the league may be about to get another one in Corn Elder. While Elder doesn’t bring a big frame, he packs a punch when he hits. Just ask Georgia Tech Clinton Lynch, who Elder stopped in his track and pile drove into the ground.

But it’s his instincts that make the difference. He has superior cover skills for a college defensive back, and his size, quickness, and closing speed will carry him far at the next level. Given the opportunity (such as what Shields had in 2010 with fellow rookie Morgan Burnett), Elder has the look of a guy who could make an impact early in what could be the start of a long and prosperous NFL career.

4. Pick of the week.

Arkansas laid the dud to end all duds in a 56-3 no-show loss at Auburn, dropping my record to 6-3-1 ATS for the year. This week, maybe I’m drinking the koolaid a little bit from last week on Auburn. And maybe I’m buying in too much to what appears to be a terrible Ole Miss team. Fournette broke the LSU school rushing record on SEVEN carries against the Rebels?!?! I don’t care who’s running the ball; that’s a special level of piss poor pathetic from the Ole Miss defense. Auburn and Ole Miss seem to be streaking in different directions, which surprises me the line is not higher against the Rebels. Auburn (-3) 31, Ole Miss 23.