There is no such thing as a moral victory.
Miami lost on Saturday night. They fought hard, but that does not change the fact that this program still could not pull out the big win.
Miami is a young team. Anybody who gives the depth chart a look can tell you that.
Against the Gators, they looked very young.
Bad penalties killed the Canes at key junctures.
A neutral zone infraction gave Florida new life on their first quarter scoring drive.
A personal foul penalty killed a first half Hurricane drive.
An end zone pass interference call on a third down set up the second Gator touchdown.
These are the mistakes of young, immature teams.
The thing about youth is that it frustrates while also bringing hope. “We’ll get ‘em next year” is a lot easier to deal with than “we should have got them this year.”
Youth garners free passes from hopeful fans.
To be sure, Miami has a great future. The first half proved that this team can play with anybody. In fact, after this game, I fully expect Miami to appear in the ACC championship game this year.
However, the fact that this team is young does not get the Canes a “free pass” for this loss.
In this game, it was the 21.5 point underdog Hurricanes that choked.
The Miami defense was brilliant in the first half; it looked like it had been imported from five years ago. Tim Tebow looked uncomfortable. Several times, Miami had the ball and the chance to take the lead.
But they did not.
Quarterback Robert Marve showed a lot of moxie. But the offense just could not find a way to beat the Gators’ speed. It was the same story of the past three seasons.
And therein lies the problem.
It is time for this team to start winning. It is young, but there are plenty of guys who have been around the block, too.
The excuses have to stop. This loss was too typical of what this program was. For the team to get to where they are going, winning has to become the expectation, not the exception.
The change in culture is occurring.
Sean Spence has been the best player on the team. Marve and Jacory Harris have been an immediate upgrade over the past five years of quarterback play. And there are plenty more who could be written about if I had more space.
It is the beginning of the end of an era. The guys who have been on the field for the past three disappointing seasons are being phased out.
However, with this culture change comes new expectations.
Randy Shannon will be the first to tell you: even a tough loss is still a loss.
This program is about winning. The UF loss was unacceptable and a massive choke job.
Simply put: there are no moral victories.