Is the U Back?
it all depends on who you ask.
And PLEASE, use caution, because temperaments will vary.
Miami, again, has grabbed the attention of college football, with a quick start that has many believing that the offensive hire of Rhett Lashlee is the turning point for the legacy of Miami.
Those of us that are in it day in and day out know that there is much more to it than that. We also know that, when it comes to Miami being “BACK”, there absolutely are levels to this.
The Microwave Take
This Take consists of opinions that want Miami to be back sooo bad they are willing to cling to almost any glimmer in hopes that what they see will last. There is a little of that in all of us. I was there once, though not anymore. Who usually falls into this grouping?
- The Media - As much as the media enjoys kicking the Canes while they are down, boy do they like to be the first when it comes to proclaiming us back. After just two games, although against quality opponents, in their eyes, D’Eriq King’s hype is validated, Miami will score 40+ a game and the defense was already championship caliber. Kirk Herbstreit is the leader of that pack, having proclaimed Miami back any year we have started 2-0 or better. Thanks for the love, but we don’t need the talking heads to validate us (myself included).
- Fair Weather Fans - If you don’t know any, then it’s probably you! Kidding, I hope. These folks are optimistic but too quick to jump to conclusions, and usually hold the media’s opinion too high when it comes to grading the Canes. Once, the schedule plays out, after the first sign of concern, these fellows jump to the next team in town.
Big Game Takes
The next level up on the hot takes elevator brings us to the idea that if you begin winning the big games, that has to mean the Canes have returned. 2017 was the best example of this, and to an extent, last year too.
In 2017, a fast start quickly got the first level of “Back” out of the way, starting the season 3-0. It wasn’t until the FSU thriller that the next level of “Back” Takes came in. The feeling of finally winning a major rivalry game provided an air of superiority and validity, that what we saw early is who we actually are. 2017 continued the trend with the amazing beat downs of ranked Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
In 2019 strong showings against the best on our schedule, win or lose, gave us a feeling of being close.
Each year however, failing to avoid losing streaks, bad losses and ultimately an inability to close out or compete against teams like the Florida Gators, Wisconsin Badgers and Clemson Tigers shows that, even past the initial excitement and close calls, there is much work to do in order to be considered “Back.”
All or Nothing
If the microwave takes are one extreme, then these are the other.
A popular and traditional take is that Miami won’t be back until they are hoisting their Sixth Championship Trophy. Rather than entertaining the idea of things breaking the right way or attaching oneself to an arbitrary acceptance criteria, most folks just wait for the parade to let them know the Canes are back.
While I understand the standard, and honestly the idea of not getting over invested in fools gold, we can’t forget that the U was still the U most years between 1983 and 2005 when they didn’t win a championship. Though programs are defined by how much they win, the U has also been very much about how they win. To put them in the most difficult corner is to miss out on a lot of great Canes memories over the years.
So, When Can We Say We Are Back?
Though this is only one fans opinion of what can be considered back, I feel like it lies somewhere between big games and championships. For Miami to be Miami again, we can’t be bogged down by the Virginias and Boston Colleges of the world. We should be handling if not throttling the FIUs and Dukes. Miami is Miami when we win more big games than we lose while putting fear into every other opponent.
What does that look like this year?
That looks like beating FSU handily.
That looks like beating UNC in a statement of who’s boss.
That’s taking care of business against teams like Georgia Tech and NC State without a shadow of doubt to be had.
Does that mean we beat Clemson, win the ACC and the College Football Playoffs? Not necessarily. What it means is that we handle everyone on our schedule not named Clemson with dominance. And when we do play Clemson, once, or twice, it’s not 38-3, but a game that leaves us hungry if not victorious. We should say after a game vs Clemson that we belong with the big dogs, and not getting kicked around with the puppies of the ACC.
The first two games of the season have been nice to see the offseason moves come together.
Now, however, in order to be “Back” back, it’s time to dominate, one game at a time.