The Miami Hurricanes can't be that far gone. Can they?
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to look all of the way back to the 1980's to find the swagger that pushed "The U" to the forefront of national prominence.
The 2001 and 2002 'Canes—like their counterparts from the 80's—were the baddest team in college football. In fact, the '01 version is still regarded by many as the best team in college football history.
Heading into their 2002 BCS National Championship matchup with Ohio State, Miami had run off 34 consecutive victories. 35 seemed like a lock. The Buckeyes' last gasp looked to have come on a 4th-and-3, trailing by seven in overtime. Craig Krenzel's pass fell to the ground, incomplete. Players and coaches rushed the field. Fireworks were in the air. Helmets were in the air.
So was a penalty flag.
If you're looking for a starting point to explain the regression of the Miami Hurricanes football program, referee Terry Porter's phantom pass interference call is it.
Sure, the 'Canes won 11 games and the Orange Bowl in 2003. But the aura of invincibility was gone. From 2000-2002, Miami went 35-2. From 2004-2006, the Hurricanes were 25-12. In 2007, Miami suffered their first losing season since 1997 (and only their second since 1979), and were further disgraced by a brawl with lowly Florida International.
The program gained momentum under Randy Shannon from 2007-2010, but he never could get Miami all the way back over the hump.
Enter, Al Golden.
Golden worked a miracle at Temple—turning one of the nation's cupcakes into a bowl team, and restoring pride to a program that had one foot out the door. The resources in Coral Gables are among the most plentiful in all of college football. Which leads one to believe that a guy who can turn the Owls into a winner, can resurrect the University of Miami.
Can the program do a "U" turn in his first season?