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Clinic Talk: What Can We Learn from a Cupcake?

Miami hosts Bethune Cookman in the annual Cupcake Bowl

NCAA Football: ACC Kickoff Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Every year teams across college football schedule a cupcake (or two) to start the season. Some believe it’s in case star players are suspended. Some like it for a confidence booster for the players and fanbase alike. While we’re pretty certain Miami crushes Bethune Cookman, what can be learned from a cupcake opponent in week 1? I’ll give credit where it’s due, our Cam Underwood’s tweet got me thinking about this:

Quarterback Competition

While Cam is right, BCU doesn’t exactly bring the strong test that would show true colors of a QB’s FBS ability, I’m going to approach this from the other side of the equation.

At least it’s a safe game to allow a rotation to take place in. The stuff other teams like Notre Dame last year under Brian Kelly, and some other competitions have had to do is play two QB’s in a big time match-up in week 1. The Irish played Texas and that’s a risky national game to just throw any old QB out in and chance giving away drives.

While BCU wouldn’t prove who is the best QB, maybe it will serve purpose to prove who the worst QB is. If you struggle against an average FCS team, you’re not ready for ACC Football. Malik Rosier, Evan Shirreffs, and N’Kosi Perry should all split reps with the 1st team in the first quarter. After the opening three drives- let the hothand take the rest of the 1st and 2nd quarters. From there, give #2 the 3rd quarter, and #3 the 4th quarter. After seeing Perry’s moves I think it’s safe to say he has ACC ability and just needs time to adapt and get there.


Normally, the FCS teams will keep their 1’s in and run their best guys for at least three quarters. They’re using it as a next level practice, a chance for their kids to get some big time film for the NFL, and a payday. The Miami Hurricanes are using it as a tune-up and a way to find depth.

Miami is struggling to find depth at tailback, on the offensive line, at tight end, and even breaking in a new punter and some returners. A cupcake can give Travis Homer a chance to get more carries and build confidence. It would give the TE’s some legit playing time against different colored jerseys. You can judge the returners and how they see the ball and the field. A costly special teams mistake against FSU will spell disaster but you assume the defense can overcome one against BCU’s offense.

NCAA Football: Florida A&M at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of new blood will get a chance at college playing time. In high school, most kids don’t see this many FCS players all season let alone in one game so it’s time to shine and get a feel for the speed and power of NCAA Football.

Quality of Preparation

Al Golden struggled to destroy these cupcakes early on in games. His teams didn’t come in as prepared and fine tuned as anyone would have liked. We were always left thinking, ‘Wow, that first quarter was a bit too close.’ In 2016, Richt’s first ‘Canes team came out 14-0, 28-3 at the half, then poured on 42 third quarter points in a rout.

As opposed to 2015 vs BCU where the first quarter ended 7-0. The 2nd saw a 24 point explosion giving a 31-0 lead, and then only 14 second half points. What’s that a sign of? A lack of football conditioning? A lack of depth? A poorly prepared squad? Maybe all three.