The Miami Hurricanes were once one of the top powerhouses of the college football landscape. They won National Championships, produced a record of first round draft picks and it was so easy to recruit top talent, that they actually had to turn down great athletes because they already had more than they knew what to do with in Coral Gables. Miami was a breeding ground for some of the best players to enter the National Football League, and while many people had a problem with all of their swagger, the Hurricanes could back it up on the football field.
That was then. This is now.
Over the past couple of decades, things have gotten progressively worse. Severe sanctions. Loss of scholarships. Forfeiture of bowl game invitations. Blowout losses. Lewd rap songs by players. Brawls against inferior opponents. Failing to become bowl eligible without sanctions. Overhyped recruiting classes. Getting passed up in bowl selections by other rivals.
That was also then, believe it or not. Now is even worse.
Miami is once again facing even more severe sanctions than they did in the past. This one could really hurt in terms of lost scholarships and banned postseason play. Simply put, the Hurricanes are a mess.
And it is not just because of what has taken place off the field. Yes, the recruiting has gotten far more difficult. Not only are superior players choosing to go to Florida and Florida State, but now, the Hurricanes are losing good players to Central Florida, South Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida International. And those are just the players who decide to remain in-state. Many leave altogether without even scheduling a visit to Coral Gables.
Miami no longer produces automatic NFL talent. In fact, they have not had a player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in four years. It used to be that you could not get out of the first round without seeing three or four Hurricanes going in Round 1. That is no more. Now, they don’t even make the first night.
But again, it is more than that.
People refer to Miami as “The U.” That must stand for ‘Used to,” as in the program that used to be relevant. Miami used to be a powerhouse, regardless of what conference in which they played their games. It doesn’t matter of it was the Big East or the ACC, Miami meant business. They were feared. They were respected. They may not have been liked, but that didn’t matter to them. They knew who they were, and so did everyone else.
But now, who knows about the Hurricanes? Check the current ACC standings. Sure, Miami is 4-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play. That is not horrible, but they were 4-1 and 2-0 in ACC play a few weeks ago. They have dropped three straight contests, dropping them into second place in the ACC Coastal division. Not behind Virginia Tech. Not behind Georgia Tech. Not behind North Carolina, who is also going through some issues of their own. Not even behind Virginia.
Miami is looking up at Duke in the standings.
Not in basketball. Not in lacrosse. In football.
While it is one thing to be staring up at Duke in the standings, it is even worse when the ‘Canes stare up at the crowd in their home games. If they are near sighted, they may not see anyone there.
Of course, even with perfect vision, they won’t see that many more people. The attendance has been downright embarrassing. It is one thing to have a quiet crowd, but no crowd is even worse. Of course, that just fits in with attendance throughout the state of Florida in most sports, especially south Florida.
Miami is nowhere near a resurgence. In fact, things are only going to continue to get worse for the Hurricanes. They can no longer recruit the top players in the country. They cannot even get the big name coaches who help bring in top talent. They will not win the conference. They will not have improved attendance. They will not even be playing past early December.
Things in Miami are bad. They may have even hit an all-time low.
I guess the only thing they can find solace in is that their fans no longer even care enough to support them at home.
“The U” ought to be ashamed.
For more reasons than one.