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What Gameday Is Like At Hard Rock Stadium

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What does gameday look and feel like as a Canes fan at Hard Rock Stadium?

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As a Miami Hurricanes fan, gameday starts at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, as you rise to another beautiful fall day in South Florida. However, the only indication that it’s actually fall, is that it’s football season.

While you watch College Gameday, which is usually shot at campuses in colder climates, you smile as you look outside and remember the paradise that you are in fact living in. Enough of the small talk though, it’s Canes gameday, and whether FSU is in town or UNC, you have things to do.

As you meet your friends at a designated house to pack up the truck in preparation for the tailgate, the anticipation is building by every minute. Everyone shows up to the house wearing Canes jerseys, polos, and then of course there’s that one guy who doesn’t own any Miami gear.

You squeeze far too many people into the vehicle, but nevertheless, you’re off like a herd of turtles. After a quick stop at Publix to grab a chicken tender sub and to load up the coolers to the brim, you get on I-95 North, I-75 East, or however you make it to the stadium.

Then, like a shining beacon of hope, football and debauchery, Hard Rock Stadiums appears ever so majestically. Though, sitting in traffic waiting to actually enter the parking lots for about 30 minutes may damper the mood just a tad.

Whether you’re in the Orange Lot, Green Lot, Blue Lot or way out in the Yellow Lot, you find your spot, and there is nowhere else you’d rather be. The smell of cigar smoke and BBQ fill your nostrils, while the sounds of drinks being cracked open and your gameday playlist hit your ears like a favorite Foo Fighters song.

As you’re grilling, playing pong, tossing the football around, telling stories of old Canes games, the lots begin to fill up, and there’s still four to five hours before kickoff. You have the TV set up to watch other games, meanwhile you also have Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. giving you the pregame show on 560 WQAM.

As the time goes on, your Pub-sub is gone, you’re trying to hide how much you’re sweating, and yet, the smile on your face is as big as the Rio Grande. You may venture towards the stadium, watch the Hurricane Walk, watch the band go by, or it’s just not time yet to leave your chair at the tailgate spot.

The clock reads an hour before kickoff, and it’s beginning to become a little bit more rowdy where. Cars are parked within inches of each other, there’s thousands of people surrounding you, flags flying from vehicles as far as the eye can see. The time is approaching.

“We got some Canes over here!” “WOOSH! WOOSH!”

30-minutes to go and it’s time to head in, and at this point, your mood and excitement is the highest it’s been thus far all day. You and your crew start the walk to the stadium, high fives are given, you participate in maybe one or two chest bumps to complete strangers, you can hear the UM fight song or “Turnover Chain” blaring from peoples cars.

“We got some Canes over here!” “WOOSH! WOOSH!”

You’re in your seats, the student-section is jam-packed, opposing fans are already jawing it up with you, pregame warmups are just finishing up, it’s almost time.

The Band of the Hour does their performance, the stadium is filled, the opposing team takes the field as their band plays aloud their fight song.

Then all of a sudden, you hear AC/DC come over the loud speakers, the Canes walk through the tunnel, and take the field, running through the historic smoke as 65,000 fans are about to tear the roof off. The adrenaline and emotion that’s coursing through your veins can only mean that it’s time for Miami football.

“OHHHHHHHHHHHH.........C-A-N-E-S... CANES!”

The kicker puts his foot forward, and the game starts. You’re standing right from the start, whether it’s third-down and the defense needs an extra boost, or you're imitating N’Kosi Perry clapping his hands prior to the snap.

“The gain is for 12 yards, and that’s good for a Miami Hurricane......FIRST DOWN!”

Miami fans have turned Hard Rock into one of the best home-field advantages in the country, and while it’s not 58-straight wins like at the Orange Bowl, a 16-3 home record the past three seasons isn’t bad.

The first two quarters are long, and the Canes are down going into halftime. While you’re walking around the stadium looking a frozen lemonade and a Cuban sandwich at the vendors, the mood is frustration, and yet a quiet confidence remains.

As the second half gets going, Miami starts to gain momentum. A touchdown here, and you’re back in the ballgame, the crowd and everyone is back on their feet.

“OHHHHHHHHHHHH.........C-A-N-E-S... CANES!”

Then all of a sudden, an interception is thrown, and the Turnover Chain makes an appearance, sending the Canes faithful into even more of a frenzy.

When that Chain comes out, the overwhelming confidence that fills every Hurricanes fan is then reduplicated by the players themselves, and at that point, the game is over.

Not only are the Canes stronger than any team once the fourth quarter hits, so are the fans. As night falls on Dade County, something magical happens at Hard Rock Stadium, the crowd noise is amplified by fifty. Just like back in the Orange Bowl, Miami and its fans come alive when the moon comes out.

Doesn’t matter if UM is neck-and-neck with FSU, up by 50 on Savannah State, or enjoying a comfortable lead against Notre Dame, Miami fans are loud all game.

The clock hits double-zeroes, ballgame over, Miami wins. The alma mater is played, you file out of Hard Rock happy, ready for next Saturday so you can do it all over again.

“It’s great, to be, a Miami Hurricane!”

Two more months till we’re back home.