With opening kickoff six days away, No. 13 Miami heads into the season with high expectations.
The Hurricanes return key players on both offense and defense. Head coach Randy Shannon received a four-year contract extension over the summer.
Fans eagerly await possible payback for losing a sixth national championship at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. On Sept. 11 at Ohio State, the Canes will receive that opportunity
Instead of predicting each game, however, here are 10 topics of conversation that are sure to occur at some point during the fall.
The Randy Shannon pout will make an appearance. Hopefully it rarely comes out this season.
Last year, it began with the horrid 31-7 loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. While the team played in what appeared to be a monsoon, so did the offense.
As quarterback Jacory Harris got picked off for a touchdown, Shannon stood there, staring into space. He seemed rooted to the spot.
Other appearances came during losses to North Carolina and Clemson.
With higher expectations and a possibly better record (than 9-4), perhaps the pout becomes a bit rusty?
If quarterback Jacory Harris can get off to the start he did last season, he'll be in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy.
If he injures his thumb again and alters his delivery, he'll fade down the stretch just like season.
Harris has the offensive toys to play with- wide receivers Leonard Hankerson, LaRon Byrd, and Travis Benjamin—as well as talented backs in Damien Berry, Mike James, and Graig Cooper.
One thing's for certain: Harris won't be wearing the pink suit he once promised to the December ceremony in New York City.
His father won't allow it because he respects the game too much.
Seven years ago Ohio State beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl for the BCS championship.
The Hurricanes celebrated having thought they won when a pass fell incomplete in the end zone. Instead, the infamous pass-interference call changed sports history.
Since 2003, UM has come nowhere near winning another national championship, while the Buckeyes head into the season as one of the favorites.
During the week leading up to the Sept. 11 kickoff, ESPN and other media outlets will play up the revenge factor.
And if the hype wasn't enough, the game will be televised in 3-D.
Florida and Florida State might hate each other more, but Miami and Florida State always put out a competitive game.
Forget the Wide Rights and Wide Left.
Last season's Labor Day weekend season opener proved to be heartbreak for the Seminoles and jubilance for the Hurricanes.
It was one of the most-watched sporting events on ESPN in years.
When quarterback Christian Ponder's pass fell incomplete after it was dropped by Jarmon Fortson, UM earned bragging rights for an entire year.
Over the series' last four games, the visiting team has won. In 2008, a torrential downpour brought cinematic appeal in time for an onside kick.
Analysts will marvel about the "physical specimen." They'll call him a high pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Other than that, defensive end Allen Bailey, who returned for his senior season instead of leaving early, just hopes to be part of a dangerous defensive line.
"It could be real good. We are 14 deep and everyone has talent," he said at media day. "They can take me out and we’d still produce the same thing. We have great potential. We’ve got some young talent but we’ve also got some senior leadership. The sky’s the limit. The potential is there. The talent’s there."
Bailey is 6'4", 285 pounds, and all muscle. Fans come up to him asking to flex his muscles or autograph their memorabilia. More recently, a Publix worker stopped him while bagging groceries.
"I enjoy it. It’s hard work and it shows."
If Miami gets off to a hot start like it did last season, expect the bandwagon fans to return.
Whether it be television networks like ESPN or Florida residents walking in public, expect to see "The U Invented Swagger" t-shirts.
Popular rap songs will continue to use the word "swagger." Taylor Swift might actually consider it for a second.
No longer will people be ashamed to sport the orange and green while Florida and Florida State begin lives after Tim Tebow and Bobby Bowden, respectively.
Sports talk will be all about the Hurricanes. That is, until the Heat begins its season with Miami Thrice. Or if the Dolphins somehow manage to make noise in the AFC East.
The Orange Bowl can never be replaced, there's no doubt about that.
Even with a mural of Miami Hurricanes football history on the 100 level, Sun Life Stadium still doesn't feel like a home for college football.
With more than 70,000 seats available and a 30-minute (or more) drive in traffic from campus to get there, it seems as though the University of Miami is renting the place.
Will the magic ever be recreated? The smoke tunnel doesn't seem the same, and neither does Sebastian the Ibis and his dancing.
In the upset over Oklahoma, there were flashes of the old. It shows promise for a strong home schedule this season.
During media day and from then on, head coach Randy Shannon has compared transfer tight end Chase Ford to New Orleans Saint Jeremy Shockey.
They're both around 6'5" with good hands. Neither was recruited much out of high school. While Ford comes from Texas, Shockey left junior college in Oklahoma.
With 10 touchdowns produced by tight ends who have now graduated, including New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, Ford would be a huge boost if the comparisons prove to be true.
As a red-zone threat, quarterback Jacory Harris could have a field day and boost his numbers thanks to Ford.
Good luck trying to find out more about the latest injured Hurricane.
As reports go, it's either a lower or upper extremity that prevents the player from practice or a game.
That's why it was good news to hear that wide receiver LaRon Byrd and offensive lineman Joel Figueroa just returned to the playing field.
Whether it's to keep the opposing team or media from knowing, the injury report will continue to be vague and frustrate people.
LeBron James along with Miami Heat teammates Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Patrick Beverley scrimmaged the University of Miami men's basketball team on Thursday afternoon.
New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul came along as well.
Later that night on Twitter, King James still managed to proclaim "I love The #OhioStateBuckeyes!!"
With the key Sept. 11 matchup drawing closer, will James maintain that allegiance? It's something many wouldn't be surprised to hear the media ask.