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Greatest “What If” Games (Part 2)

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You take out a few plays, and Miami could have 10 national championships.

Craig Erickson

Everytime we hear the chant, “Its great to be a Miami Hurricane,” we say it as loud as we can, because we flat out love the Canes. Though, there have been several games where we’ve been let down, and have hindered the program from reaching insane heights.

Now it hasn’t always been the fault of a Canes player. though sometimes it has (cough cough Brian Monroe) sometimes we can blame the ref, yeah, you know what game I’m talking about.

By the way, this is no particular order.

Miami vs Tennessee: 1986 Sugar Bowl (35-7)

You never look at 35-7 final score and think that Miami could’ve possibly been the better team, but trust me, they were.

The Canes came into this game ranked number two with a record of 10-1, and a win would give Miami their second national championship (#1 Penn State would end up losing in Orange Bowl).

“quote by dan sileo”

After scoring on the first drive, the Hurricanes were dominated, and the Volunteers went on to score 35-unanswered points, and didn’t look back.

Though, you look at the rosters between the two teams, and its not even funny. Remember, this Miami team the very next year would go on to make it to the brink of another national championship (keep reading).

You play this game 10 times, and I truly believe Miami wins at least seven of those games. Hurricanes win this game, the 80’s dynasty is even more historic, and Jimmy Johnson gets his first ring.

Miami vs Penn State: 1987 Fiesta Bowl (14-10)

In the history of the University of Miami football program, is there a more heartbreaking loss? Hell, they dedicated an entire segment on 30 For 30 about the game.

Though a season filled with drama, the Canes entered the Fiesta Bowl 11-0, ranked number one in America, and were also touchdown favorites over Penn State. The Canes that season had outscored their opponents 420–136.

Two words that you have to say about this game is Vinny Testaverde. The 1986 Heisman Trophy winner threw five interceptions, and Miami turned the ball over seven total times.

The craziest stat that game other than the turnovers, was the fact that the Hurricanes outgunned Penn State in total yards 445 to 162, yes you read that correctly. There is absolutely no reason Miami should have lost this game, NO REASON.

The 14-10 loss in my mind, is the worst defeat in the history of the program.

What happens if Miami wins this game? National champions obviously, they ended up winning the title the next year so back-to-back, and even more recognition. Oh, and everyone would’ve still be wearing fatigues to Miami games to this day.

Miami vs Notre Dame: 1988 Week 5 (31-30)

Ah yes, the infamous “Catholics vs Convicts” game. Yes, we may have destroyed those little Irishmen this past season, but man, this game from 30 years ago still hurts.

You know why it hurts? Because Miami got screwed that game. Throughout this series of games, I've full-heartedly blamed the Canes for losing. And while the Hurricanes obviously could've played better, one play will always go down in infamy.

Fourth quarter, Miami down 31-24, fourth and 7, Steve Walsh finds Cleveland Gary across the middle for a touchdown! Tie game! Oh wait, no?

The refs said that Gary fumbled the ball before hitting the ground and falling into the end zone. Notre Dame recovers. Though, those of us who have seen the replay know, it was in fact a touchdown.

Would Miami still have won that game? You tell me.

Anyway, the Canes would go on to win the rest of their games in 88, including the Orange Bowl. They were obviously the best team in the country that year, and would’ve beaten the snot out of West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. National champs again, maybe even for the second, third or even fourth year in a row.