The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where did this come from?

Generally speaking, Miami fans tend to feel that they are disrespected by the media. As a small, private school with a controversial history (in football terms at least), fans of The U tend to think that the media is quick to speak ill of the program.

But since the Canes started out 2-0 this season, it's becoming difficult to make that argument. First case in point, one ESPN writer ranked the Canes #1 in his ballot this week. That comes on the heels of Miami ascending to 9th in one poll and 13th in another this week (both big gains likely mean that at least some voters have the Canes in top 5 territory).

Why all the love and why all the love this quickly?

What do we really know about the Canes?

Yes, they went on the road and beat what now looks to be a good Florida State team. But that same FSU team could have easily won the opener, had their last pass as time expired been only a little bit higher. Had that pass from Christian Ponder been completed, FSU would be this season's "it" team. But it wasn't, so they're not.

In their second game, Miami dismantled a Georgia Tech team that was a pre-season favorite to win the ACC. While the win was impressive, it needs to be put into context: Georgia Tech was playing its 3rd game (this one on the road) in twelve days; Miami was playing its first game in 10.

At this point, I'm not sure what to think. Normally I'd expect to be the first to be on the Canes bandwagon. But I don't think we know what this Canes team is yet. We'll know more in another week and a half (after the Virginia Tech and Oklahoma games). But even then we won't still really know. We'll need to see how this Canes team handles games against teams that they're supposed to beat. They haven't faced that yet.

What do I expect to see the Canes do this weekend? I don't know. But I think SI's Stewart Mandel summed up my perspective best:

Miami at Virginia Tech, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): I've given up trying to figure out the Hokies. They had been outgained by Nebraska 343-190 before producing a game-winning 88-yard drive. Either they'll intercept Harris three times, run back a punt and win 19-17, or they'll suffer a fate worse than Georgia Tech.

And that's what makes college football so fun. The season is short. Every game counts. The players are young and (for the most part) inexperienced. Small things can change a game, a season, and a career. It's stressful, unpleasant, and exhilirating all at the same time.


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