In two weeks, the college football world has turned upside down. It seems like it was only a few days ago-in fact, it really was a few days ago-that UM stood atop the standings, blemished only by a bad Terry Porter call that came almost a year ago.
But now, with back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Tennessee, Miami has not only lost, but is on a losing streak, something Canes fans haven’t heard since Scott Covington was under center. In the words of Joe Schmo’s Matthew Kennedy Gould, “Whaaaat is going ooooooooooon?”
The offense should be blamed more than any other unit. They have been rendered ineffective by opposing defenses, only rarely resembling the potent Miami offenses of recent years. Brock Berlin, a former High School All-American, has shown only once this season (during the Florida game) that he can carry the team on his shoulders. Otherwise, his decision-making has been poor in the clutch, more than canceling out his decent passing stats.
Frank Gore got injured. Again. Ouch. Let’s hope he can come back to old form next year, but until then, Jarrett Payton doesn’t exactly get it done against elite opponents. Jason Geathers has looked even worse, and freshman phenom Tyrone Moss apparently isn’t adept enough at picking up pass-blocking schemes to get significant playing time. Kellen Winslow has been double- and triple-teamed out of meeting any preseason expectations. Ryan Moore has shown flashes of Randy Moss in between several drops. The O-line has been beset by too many injuries to gel.
But not all is lost. In fact, this could be a blessing in disguise. Firstly, this disappointing season could convince some players with remaining eligibility to return despite projecting as first-round NFL draft picks. That means Kellen Winslow, Vince Wilfork, and Sean Taylor, key pieces to the team, could be more inclined to stay to win another championship. Secondly, and follow me on this one, could be revenge on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Now that the Sugar Bowl is out of the question, all you Canes fans should go out and buy yourselves a Michigan hat. If Michigan can beat Ohio State on November 22nd, and assuming they go undefeated the rest of the way, Michigan earns a berth in the Rose Bowl as Big Ten champion. Meanwhile, Ohio State, assuming it wins the rest of its games, will have only two losses, making it a contender for one of the other two bowls, the Fiesta or the Orange. If Miami beats Pittsburgh, it will win the Big East, automatically making them eligible for a BCS bowl, either the Fiesta or the Orange. Either scenario would be a fitting stage for a rematch: the Fiesta would take the matchup back to where it all started, and the Orange Bowl would give UM a heavy home-field advantage.
So, let’s hear it for Brock Berlin and the Michigan Wolverines! They may have earned us out sweetest win yet.
Ben Minkus can be contacted at Boopalee@aol.com.