Throughout its storied history, the Miami Hurricanes have captured five national championships, becoming one of the premier programs in college football. For all of their greatness, several Miami teams failed to take home the title back to Coral Gables. There was the 1986 team and their fiasco against Penn State, or the 1992 Canes who met their match in the Sugar Bowl when facing Alabama.
Yet, it was the 2000 Miami Hurricanes, who may just go down as the best UM team never to win the national championship.
10 best teams that didn’t win a National Championship according to Fanbuzz:— CFB Home (@CFBHome) July 24, 2019
1 - 2002 Miami
2 - 2005 USC
3 - 2009 Florida
4 - 2000 Miami
5 - 2011 LSU
6 - 1959 Ole Miss
7 - 1987 Florida State
8 - 1994 Penn State
9 - 2004 Auburn
10 - 2016 Alabama
Coached by Butch Davis, the talent that was on the 2000 Hurricanes team is almost too insane to comprehend. Their wide receiver room consisted of Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson, among other superb wideouts. Jeremy Shockey was the tight end, Clinton Portis and Najeh Davenport were the running backs, and the offensive line only allowed eight sacks all season.
That 2000 Miami Hurricanes roster was unbelievably stacked. pic.twitter.com/aLhu3iW98b— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) May 27, 2018
While the offense definitely had weapons all-around, that side of the ball was led by sophomore quarterback, Ken Dorsey. Having played sparingly the year prior, Dorsey flourished in 2000, throwing for 25 touchdowns and over 2,700 yards, becoming the legendary leader we know him as today.
“Big time players, step up in big games.”-Santana Moss pic.twitter.com/GX3JG0gUvn— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) March 30, 2020
On defense, where to begin? At linebacker was Dan Morgan, who would go on to have one of the greatest seasons for a collegiate LB in history, capturing the Butkus Award, Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy, the first player ever to accomplish that feat.
Dan Morgan, the greatest linebacker in Hurricanes history pic.twitter.com/9ntCKzsQTW— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) March 24, 2020
In the secondary, the Hurricanes had a plethora of playmakers, beginning with safety Ed Reed. They also had the late Al Blades, as well as future first-round draft pick Mike Rumph.
So, with all this talent, what stood in the way of these Hurricanes taking home the championship hardware?
Well, there’s two reasons. First reason, that came in week two, as the #4 Canes traveled all the way to Seattle to take on the upstart 15th-ranked Washington Huskies. Getting off to a slow start, the Hurricanes never quite recovered, as their comeback fell short in the final seconds, with a heartbreaking 34-29 loss.
Though, the resilient Canes didn't allow the defeat to affect them for long, and got back on track. In fact, Miami would go on to win their next 38 games, and wouldn’t lose again until January of 2003.
BEST MOMENT - Wide Right III
Three weeks after the UW loss, Miami’s arch-rivals, and ranked number one Florida State Seminoles made their trek down to South Florida, to take on the #7 Hurricanes. Led by Bobby Bowden, FSU was also the defending national champs.
In a back and forth contest, Dorsey led UM down the field in the final minutes, hitting tight end Jeremy Shockey for the go-ahead touchdown. A 49-yard missed field goal by the Seminoles with no time left gave Miami the 27-24 upset victory. It was the first time since 1994, that the Hurricanes had defeated the Noles.
Jeremy Shockey days until Canes football pic.twitter.com/j4XTyY9oLx— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) May 28, 2019
Now back in the championship hunt, Miami continued to surge following their win over FSU, overpowering their opponents with a high-octane attack on offense, and a suffocating swarm of defenders on defense.
#TuesdayTrivia: Miami Hurricane Dan Morgan was the first and only player in NCAA history to win the Butkus Award, the Bednarik Award, and the Nagurski Trophy in a collegiate career.— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) May 29, 2019
And he won them all in the same year. pic.twitter.com/Eos8ZhGMMR
On the first Saturday in November of 2000, UM would face another test. This time, it was Frank Beamer’s #2 Virginia Tech Hokies, led by superstar quarterback Michael Vick. Thanks to Moss and Shockey hauling in touchdowns from Dorsey, Miami rolled the Hokies, 41-21, sending them back to Blacksburg. UM then found themselves ranked second in the nation for the remainder of the regular season.
Miami would finish the regular season 10-1, rattling off nine consecutive wins following their slip-up at Washington. During that span, UM defeated the top two ranked teams in college football. In their final four games of the season, the Canes outscored their opponents 150-33, and UM fully expected an invitation to play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the national championship.
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
Sadly, we all know what happened next. The BCS instead voted Florida State to face Oklahoma, leapfrogging the Seminoles over the Canes in the rankings. Even though Miami beat FSU earlier in the year......
I could go on a rant for many paragraphs about this situation, but I won't. It happened, and it’s in the past. So, instead, the Hurricanes were chosen to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and they’d be squaring off against their in-state rivals, the Florida Gators.
With the frustration of not playing for the title fueling their play, the Canes never gave the Gators a chance. Thanks to a strong second half, Miami cruised to a 37-20 victory over Florida.
Unfortunately, the Sugar Bowl win wasn’t what the Hurricanes program, nor its fans, truly wanted. Yes, it was sweet to down the Gators and claim bragging right over the state of Florida, but we all knew, and still know, that the 2000 Canes should’ve been playing the Sooners for the national championship.
The ONLY thing stopping the 2000 Miami Hurricanes from DESTROYING the Oklahoma Sooners for the National Championship that year was a computer with a bad program.— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) June 29, 2018
However, Miami did finish the job in 2001, as UM put together perhaps the finest season in college football history, on their way to the schools fifth national championship.