Hard to believe that ten years ago, the Orange Bowl, home to the Hurricanes for so many years, was being torn down. Now fast forward a decade later, though its no OB, The Rock is a force to be reckoned with.
In the 1980’s, 90’s and early 2000’s, one thing was certain when you came to play the Hurricanes in Miami, that it was going to be loud. The Orange Bowl would be packed to the brim with over 75,000 and it was truly a home-field advantage for the Canes.
No wonder they were able to secure 58-consecutvie victories at home over a nine-year-period.
Following the 2007 season, though the memories stayed, the building was gone, moving the Hurricanes to then-named Dolphin Stadium, much to the chagrin of fans, and former players.
“You had the place (the Orange Bowl) and it was literally rocking, literally rocking, the energy was electric, and I don’t think you can mimic that at Sun-Life Stadium,” said former UM linebacker Jonathan Vilma in “The U Part 2.”
For years, Dolphin Stadium, Sun-Life Stadium, whatever it was called, was a joke for home games. With the exception of the Oklahoma game in 2009, FSU in 2010 and UF in 2013, very few times in the the first eight years did the stadium have any energy whatsoever.
Though continuous fan support at home games isn’t a new problem to the University of Miami, the lack of attendance can’t all be put on the team. From 2008 to 2015, the team did not generate a single 10-win season, suffering through the Randy Shannon and Al Golden years.
Notable home losses during those years was 2010 to USF, an overtime shocker where Shannon was fired immediately after the loss. Then of course, the 58-0 defeat to Clemson, that ultimately was a turning point in Miami’s history, due to the fact that Golden was also let go after that game.
Since then, in the two years following, with the reemergence of the program, fans are once again making Miami a tough place to play.
In 2017, Miami averaged 57,774 fans each game, which is its highest total since moving stadiums back in 2008.
When Miami hosted Notre Dame last season, it was a signal to the rest of the country that not only was the U back, but also Hurricane fans were back.
In a game where College Gameday was there on campus earlier on Saturday, The Rock came to play. “That was one of the loudest stadiums I played in in my five years [at Notre Dame],” said Dolphins rookie tight end Durham Smythe in an interview with the Sun Sentinel. Smythe played for the Irish in 2017.
Kirk Herbstreit said himself that during the Notre Dame game, it was the loudest stadium he’s ever heard.
More good news for Canes fans, UM is expected to sell out their season tickets for the first time in school history. Last year, Miami sold a school record 42,000 season tickets.
Though schools like North Carolina, Pitt and Duke will be among the teams that visit The Rock in 2018, fans already have their eyes set on October 6th, when FSU comes to town.