Big game weeks are different.
The pulse quickens, tension mounts.
We all know the feeling.
Usually, for Miami fans, that is Florida State week. And, on the off chance that Florida agrees to play Miami, that week is special too.
This week? It has those vibes.
SEC! SEC! SEC!
There are several reasons for excitement this week.
The first is this is a road game at a highly regarded SEC opponent. Even after losing to Appalachian State, Texas A&M is favored to win this game. The second is that it is winnable. No one is afraid of the Aggies. Even before the Appalachian State debacle, they are primarily living off an Alabama upset last year.
It’s not to say the Canes will win, but they surely can win.
Who Cares If Miami is “Back”?
A recurring theme over the last 20 years has been a continuous judgment on whether Miami is “back.” I can’t be the only that is not only tired of this question, but also doesn’t care about the answer.
Surely, there are those, in particular nationally, that will view this weekend’s game as a referendum on Miami. Win, and the praise rolls in, lose, and the Canes are out of sight and out of mind.
But in terms of season and program trajectory, this game is actually not that important. Whatever your seasonal aspirations are, whether they are ACC Coastal, ACC Championship, or College Football Playoff, this game will not eliminate the Canes from consideration nor guarantee their participation in any of those games. And in terms of the program, well, even being undefeated in November and blowing out Notre Dame on National TV was not enough to actually fundamentally change the program trajectory.
Everyone keeps waiting for that one moment, that one proof point, that shining light that shows the U is “back” without considering what that would even look like or how you’d ever really know.
Real growth takes time, it takes failures in addition to successes. We learn more about people from how they respond to failure than how they deal with success.
This will not be a program defining win, or a program crippling loss. This program is on the start of a long journey that I do believe will ultimately lead to the Promised Land. You could easily argue that while high profile, the 3rd game of the 1st year of the Mario Cristobal Era is surely going to be a mere footnote long-term.
I could easily advise the community to just enjoy the game, enjoy the spotlight, don’t worry about the result. Enjoy a rare out-of-conference matchup.
There Is An Issue With That
And then I see Jimbo Fisher’s smirking face and all that goes out the window.
We need to win this game.
There is an opportunity here to make a statement, how fleeting it might end up being. There is an opportunity to stomp our old nemesis’s face in. There is an opportunity to rise to the occasion.
There is an opportunity to be Miami Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes aren’t a team, they’re an attitude, a way of life, a swagger. And on this stage in Texas, the Hurricanes can blow into town and leave victorious, with Jimbo in tatters.
Life is full of moments and opportunities. But there are very few “big” games college players will be able to play in. This is one. This is the moment to step up, put the chips in the center of the table, stand up, and be counted.
It might “just mean more” in the SEC, but it means most for our community, for long suffering Canes fans, longing for that beacon of hope to reemerge, that symbol of “U”nity that binds us all. There is nothing quite like that orange and green in all its glory.
Under the lights on Saturday, a tradition built in South Florida heat, forged in National Championships, can deliver euphoria to a community that has suffered a scarcity of joy since Terry Porter threw his flag 20 years ago.
Vanquishing Jimbo is merely icing on the cake.
The time is now, the team is ready, the opponent is there for the taking. On Saturday, the Hurricanes will rise, and with them, they take all our aspirations.
U Gotta Believe.