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Monday Musings: Happy Memorial Day; Gameday Eats; Cane Qualifiers

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Happy Memorial Day, eeerybody! It’s a day we celebrate the sacrifice given by so many that we can never repay, nor one that I will ever be able to fully appreciate like others. A big thank you to our men and women in the military that fight to keep this country safe.

And now on with the tomfoolery, in a very list-y manner……

1. It’s Memorial Day, sooooooooooo……………………as so many of us are grilling today, what’s your favorite thing to grill/cook/prepare at a football tailgate? For me, the holy trinity of football tailgating are hamburgers, ribs (spare or baby back, not going to meat snob you, although I tend to cook spare ribs a little bit more), and a good dip. Simple, diverse, yet delicious. Something on a bun, something to dig your hands into, something to dip your chip into. (Can’t go wrong with a pork butt, which is the preferred meat for me if I was hosting a house full of people or a large tailgate…..but I personally tend to throw my pulled pork on bun, and I’m a hamburger guy, so I don’t need to double the sandwich pleasure.) For years, I’d been living in the fat patty hamburger world, rolling up and flattening out a 6-7 oz patty and grilling it to a juicy medium. However, after I hit up the Falcon’s Landing in Amelia Island, FL, I’m sold on the double thin patty approach. Two ultra-thin 2-3 oz patties, grill them up at a high temp quickly, melt a piece of American cheese in between them the second you get them off the grill. It’s like a Juicy Lucy burger, without the hassle or mess. A bit of crispness on the outside of the patties, but still juicy enough….and mix that with the creaminess of the melted American cheese in the middle and the zest from the Tony Chachere’s seasoning salt that I use…..and voila. Hamburger bliss. You’re welcome.

2. My list of historical Hurricane hitmen. Earlier this month, Justin Dottavio posted an article that I greatly enjoyed, which – ironically – highlighted former opposing players that have tormented Hurricane fans in some of the seminal and most gut-wrenching moments in UM history. Being a football history nut, this got me thinking. For me, far and away, seeing Ken Dorsey on his knees in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl is probably the saddest sight for me in Miami history. As we all know, it blocked title #6 and sent the program into a gradual tailspin that resulted in the darkest days of the program since Howard Schnellenberger brought the Canes to relevance. For that reason, my list looks like:

1. George Teague

2. Matt Wilhelm

3. Warrick Dunn

4. Shane Conlan/Pete Giftopoulos

5. Pat Terrell

Yeah, although Wilhelm, who finished the game with a team-high 11 tackles, flattening Dorsey in overtime might be a lasting memory in my mind, I can’t deny the utter dominance and flash plays that George Teague made in Bama’s statement win over Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl. In my mind, that’s the single-greatest performance against a Cane on a big stage in program history. Warrick Dunn, as Justin Dottavio noted, is a career Cane-killer, having his way with UM from 1993-1996 on the way to a national championship in 1993 and helping FSU supplant Miami as the premier program in Florida during that stretch. Penn State linebackers Shane Conlan and Pete Giftopoulos each picked off Vinny Testaverde twice in denying Miami the culmination of what would have been arguably the greatest season in college football history. Pat Terrell returned a Steve Walsh pass for a touchdown and batted away the deciding two-point conversion to preserve the 31-30 win in what ultimately decided the 1988 national championship. I had to go back and read about the game to recall Terrell’s accomplishments, but while his accomplishments might have less acclaim than others on the list, his impact in the game was huge.

3. LSU gets its QB (???). Lot of talk about this kid Joe Burrow, but he’s not the first Big Ten transfer to come to Death Valley. Danny Etling came from Purdue and started in 2016 and 2017, but development was his problem at LSU, as has seemed to be the case with every QB there going back to……….Tommy Hodson in the 1980’s, maybe (?). In other words (as I knock on wood), I’m not sweating this move too much.

4. New Canes on campus……..and without eligibility issues. According to Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, all but one player have enrolled at UM, and the lone player – Cam Davis – will enroll in summer session B. Doesn’t it feel nice to have your incoming freshman hit the ground running, without any issues of test scores, class credits, and other NCAA qualification hullabaloo? Doesn’t feel like this kind of across-the-board clearance happens all that often with major programs, so I’ll happily take it.

5. Old Canes game I’m watching this week: Miami 41, Notre Dame 8, November 11, 2017. Reviewing the 2003 Fiesta Bowl and the 1988 Catholics vs. Convicts game left me needing a pick me up in both of those series. Beating Luke Fickell and a putrid Ohio State team back in 2011 doesn’t really do the trick. Think I’ll watch UM’s thorough trouncing of the Irish instead….from College Gameday through the entire game. One of my favorite overall gameday experiences of my Canes fandom.

So let’s hear it. Your favorite gameday eats (recipes, please), your most lamented opposing team villains, your thoughts on LSU’s new quarterback. Fire away…