The score was 20-13 with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter when Jamal Carter was called for targeting FSU wide receiver Kermit Whitfield. What ensued was a level of rowdiness the likes of which I’ve never seen in my six years of attending Miami Hurricanes games.
I’m no NCAA rules expert, so I won’t try to debate whether or not this call was correct. The most astounding part of the situation was the fan reaction. After the call had been reviewed and upheld, fans began throwing bottles onto the field. Projectiles were thrown from all areas of the stadium to protest the “bad” call. While this posed somewhat of a danger to photographers, cheerleaders and staff of both teams stationed on the sidelines, it was a gutsy move.
It’s unlikely that this call would have elicited the same reaction had it been any other game. Our rivalry with FSU is one of dedicated hatred and as such, the stakes are higher. Pride and dignity were on the line. When you play a rival, you never want to leave the fate of the game in the hands of the officials. Unfortunately, protesting the officials’ calls does little to change their minds. In fact, Miami could have been penalized for the bottle throwing incident.
After years of being stifled by NCAA sanctions and losses against less-than-worthy opponents, Miami fans have suffered through quite a bit in recent years. We are a fan base that knows what it wants. Need I remind anyone of the “Fire Al Golden” banner planes? Even though we know our protest wouldn’t change anything, we made our voices heard – albeit in disrespectful and dangerous way, but we did it nonetheless.
Part of what makes college football so much fun is the rowdiness surrounding it. This rowdiness has been noticeably lacking from the Miami Hurricanes in the past few years. With a new coaching staff whom many believe will lead us back to greatness, the bottle-throwing protest harkened back to our years of true swagger.
I’m talking about back when our players exited the plane for the 1987 Fiesta Bowl wearing fatigues, or when they celebrated every good play with hand gestures and dance moves. While these reactions and statements certainly aren’t the most respectful (or safe) ways to play the game, they contribute to the swagger with which we identify. Nobody ever said college football was classy, and the Canes certainly never have been. The bottle-throwing incident just confirmed that our notorious, in-your-face swagger is on the cusp of a triumphant return.
Dana McGeehan is a junior majoring in history and media management.