In case you missed it, the Miami Hurricanes beat the Florida State Seminoles, and in doing so sending the rival team to a 1-3 record, while themselves moving to 4-0.
And, it also put Miami in a situation they haven’t had/been able to face in many, many years: dealing with success.
Everybody knows the recent past: Miami lost to FSU in each of the last 7 seasons, and the performance following that rivalry game loss was atrocious. Miami was unable to rebound from the loss (and physical attrition that invariably follows a game against FSU) and promising seasons went in the trash.
But now, after having ended the streak and beaten FSU, Miami has to fight a different battle. The Hurricanes have to avoid a letdown, ignore the performance of last week, and move forward to keep things going this season.
As far as problems go, this is a great one to have. Dealing with success, living up to expectations is a challenge, but every team in America would like to have to deal with such concerns. Yes, the Miami Hurricanes are riding an emotional high after beating Florida State for the first time in forever, but they can’t let those good emotions overtake their intensity or focus.
For Miami, the immediate task of refocusing and continuing to have high level performance is one that needs urgent attention. Coming to Hard Rock Stadium this week is 3-1 Georgia Tech. It is always challenging to play GT because they run that damned triple option offense with cut blocks and uncalled false starts. They are one of few teams to run their offensive system, so it takes extra focus and preparation to know the gameplan and defensive assignments to curtail the run-heavy attack.
So, while Miami is 4-0 and in a better place right now than they’ve been in years, that can’t be enough. The Hurricanes have to appropriately deal with success, continue to be hungry, and push toward their goals. The ACC Coastal Division Championship is still attainable. A premium bowl game is still attainable (most bowl projections have Miami going to the Orange Bowl currently, for the record). The ACC Championship is attainable (if unlikely bc Clemson looks like the best team in America right now). A National Championship, though VERY UNLIKELY AND IMPROBABLE, is potentially attainable.
But the only way any that Miami achieves or attains any of those goals is to deal with success. Not wallow in it. Not let it overcome the team. But accept it, enjoy it, and move forward to continue to have the success that hasn’t been seen around Coral Gables in many, many years.
Whether Miami is able to do that or not will tell the story of this season. But, based on the fact that Miami has accomplished something this season that they hadn’t in the previous 7, I’m hopeful that Mark Richt and the Canes will be able to do just that.