We’re nearly 90 days to football season for the Miami Hurricanes, and the anticipation and excitement for a new year seems to double each and every day. Then again, players as well as the fans have been counting down until we play Florida since we lost to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl in December.
The UM program is at a very delicate place, and 2019 could be looked at as potentially the most critical and important season in Miami’s history. Now obviously every season should technically be looked at as the most important in a schools history, but 2019 for the Canes is different and feels much bigger.
Let’s look at the reasons why.
First and foremost, the program is simply not the University of Miami that most of us grew up with. For my father and others, they know the Canes as they were in the 80’s and 90’s, constantly contending for national championships and producing several first round draft picks each and every year. For me and those my age, we came to fan-hood in the early 2000’s, and experienced the same thing, titles and memorable players, though just on a smaller scale and short-lived.
Unfortunately, that is just not the case anymore for UM, and if you’re denying it then you’re flat out delusional. Today, I woke up and found myself on Twitter, only to find a horrifying tweet that said current recruits were six months old when Miami won their last national championship. We as Canes fans always talk down on Notre Dame not winning a championship since the 80’s, but at least they’re in the College Football Playoff, and winning 10 games almost every year.
This is how old current recruits were when your team last won a national championship.— Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) May 21, 2019
Florida State 12
Miami (6 weeks)
Ohio State 13
Not listed = Not born
Not only have the Hurricanes failed to win a title since 2001, they’ve haven’t even been able to win a a single ACC Championship, and have just one 10-win season since 2003. I love Miami more than anyone, but you can’t sit here and tell me that the mystique and aura surrounding the U is what it was even 10 years ago.
Second, and this also goes back to winning, but the Canes are falling behind in recruiting. Yes we can talk about how we have top-5 recruiting classes for 2020 and 2021, but how long will that last? We’ve seen last the last several years how just a few losses can impact these kids decisions, and ultimately lead to de-commits.
Schools like Alabama, Clemson and Georgia are feasting on Miami’s seven-win seasons and infiltrating South Florida, snagging the area’s top talents. Kids nowadays growing up in Dade and Broward County don't feel that connection to UM, thus not having that same desire to play for their hometown school, especially since they can go to other schools and win right away.
New head coach Manny Diaz and his staff have done a great job at creating excitement this off-season, but the #TNM hype is gone if the Canes go out in 2019 and lose four or five games. Now I’m not saying that this is a College Football Playoff or bust kind of year, but anything less than a Coastal Division title and 10 wins is unacceptable. Crashing coaching clinics and showing up to booster events on yachts won’t look as cool if you can’t beat Virginia or Pitt, let alone the Coastal.
Especially coming off of an embarrassment like 2018, where the Canes were predicted to win every single regular season game and in the preseason top-10, and then fall to 7-6. Not many people outside of South Florida are paying much attention to the Hurricanes, and rightfully so.
Since 2010, Miami has had five seasons where they’ve won seven games or less. The longer and longer UM falls into mediocrity, the less of a chance the program has to ever make it back to where they once were. If the years of losing continue to go by, and we’re already seeing it in the ACC, Clemson will be so far advanced that we kiss the Playoffs goodbye.
Under coach Al Golden, people were talking about the progress he was making, even though Miami was going 6-6 and never beat Florida State. When Mark Richt took over in 2016, his 9-4 record his first year was considered a success, just because the state of the program was much worse when he was hired.
Diaz is taking over a squad that went 10-3 just two years ago, and entered 2018 ranked eighth in the preseason polls. The talent is there, and the schedule is set up perfectly to win. Manny honestly doesn't have the luxury of stumbling through 2019 and waiting until his second season for us to start seeing Miami win. The time is now, 100% it’s now. Fans and alumni have been patient. Recruits want to see that Coach Diaz can win right off the bat and not see a three or five-year plan for success.