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Mediocrity in Miami: FIU loss shows hard truth

Despite two weeks to prepare for FIU, the Hurricanes fell in embarrassing fashion.

Miami v Florida International Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Playing on the former site of the Orange Bowl was supposed to play out differently for the Miami Hurricanes. A lot different.

With two weeks to prepare for the five-win FIU Panthers, who had previously fallen in their rivalry to FAU by 30 points, the Hurricanes came out as they have in their other two games following bye weeks: slow and sluggish.

Much like those two games too, the Hurricanes embarrassingly fell, this time to crosstown rival FIU by a final score of 30-24.

This loss, along with the losses to North Carolina and Georgia Tech, has proved that as unfortunate as it may be, the Hurricanes are nowhere near on the level of Alabama, LSU, and Georgia. The Hurricanes are not even on the same level as Michigan or Wisconsin. The Hurricanes are simply just closer to Pittsburgh or Virginia.

That puts Miami in the mediocre territory. It makes them a team capable of winning their division or eight games but never in the position to win the conference or a big-time bowl game. Yet.

Since Larry Coker’s final season in 2006, the Hurricanes are 96-67 and have won just one bowl game, a 30-14 win over West Virginia in the 2016 Camping World Bowl. In that same time frame, Pittsburgh has 98 wins and three bowl game wins.

Instead of continuing the prominence that Larry Coker and, ironically, current FIU head coach Butch Davis set out, the Hurricanes made a shift to a more modernized approach. The Hurricanes followed what many other college football programs have done and introduced the Turnover Chain, three separate times, and then Touchdown Rings this season.

Yet, the issue with stuff like the Turnover Chain and Touchdown Chain is that it is simply embarrassing when you are not winning consistently or losing to inferior teams at home like they are now.

This lack of winning is not because of talent, it is not because of hard opponents (most of the time) and it is not because fans no longer support the program. These problems come up because Miami has continued to follow the textbook definition of insanity, and continuing to follow similar things from previous years and expecting different results.

Look through games from last season and compare them to the loss to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, or FIU. How different are those games? How different are the results? Have the Hurricanes truly taken that next step as a program?

The simple answer is they have not. They may have taken a step back as a program. They may have thrown themselves into a rebuild, instead of a retool.

Although the Hurricanes attempted to preach ‘The New Miami’ throughout the offseason, the talk was just that, talk. The action shown on the field has been less than ideal, it’s been disappointing.

The Hurricanes have continued to waste the talents of tight end Brevin Jordan, who was named a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, running back DeeJay Dallas, who could pave a career for himself on Sundays in the NFL, and linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney, who were constants on the defense for four seasons.

All of those players, who are insanely talented and would start on a lot of Power 5 programs, may end their college careers without a conference championship, or any consistent rise in the program.

Where the Hurricanes sit currently is uncharted territory. They’re on pace to finish another season with just seven wins, which would be just the second time the Hurricanes have finished with seven wins since 2010.

The embarrassing reality of all of this is that Miami is not currently contending for the ACC Championship, they are contending for the ACC Coastal.