UM football

Miami Hurricanes still have plenty to play for

At 7-0 and about to face Florida State a little more than two weeks ago, the Miami Hurricanes were a top-10 team ready to take on anyone for the chance to win their first Atlantic Coast Conference title and qualify for their first BCS game under coach Al Golden.

Now, after consecutive losses to FSU, Virginia Tech and Duke, the unranked Hurricanes’ postseason options have taken a dip, though the Canes (7-3, 3-3) are still being considered by bowls relatively high in the ACC pecking order.

Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said Monday night that should Miami win out (Virginia at noon Saturday at Sun Life Stadium and at Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m. Nov.29), it would still be very much in the picture for his game. The Chick-fil-A is already sold out and scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 31 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

“Miami for TV ratings is as good a football brand as there is in the country,’’ Stokan said. “That’s very important.”

The Chick-fil-A has the first ACC selection after the Orange Bowl, which could take Clemson should FSU play in the national title game. The Chick-fil-A’s ACC opponent would likely be the No. 3, 4 or 5 team from the Southeastern Conference — leaving Texas A&M, South Carolina, Missouri, LSU and Mississippi still in the mix, according to Stokan.

“Miami with an SEC brand,” Stokan said, “has great cache around the country.”

ESPN’s BCS expert Brad Edwards already is predicting a Miami vs. Texas A&M matchup in the Chick-fil-A, which might excite TV viewers who love watching Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. But it could make UM fans cringe if the Hurricanes’ defense doesn’t improve fast.

Another intriguing game and current possibility for UM could come in the Russell Athletic Bowl, to be played against an American Athletic Conference team at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. That bowl picks its ACC representative after the Chick-fil-A.

If Central Florida clinches the AAC title, the Russell will choose Louisville and star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to face the ACC pick.

Bridgewater, who played at Miami Northwestern High, was committed to UM before he pulled his commitment after Randy Shannon was fired.

“We want to put the best game on the field,” Russell Athletic Bowl spokesman Greg Creese said. “That’s most important. If Miami is our best option in terms of the game itself, they’ll be the one we select.”

The other UM bowl options, in order of selection, are the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas; the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.; the Music City Bowl in Tennessee; and the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La.

Guaranteed berths

The ACC has eight guaranteed bowl tie-ins, but could have as many as 12 teams qualify for a bowl by the time the season ends. The league is hopeful it will find slots for as many teams that need them, using other conference games that have openings. Currently, only ACC members North Carolina State and Virginia will not be bowl eligible.

Miami has not been to a bowl game since Dec. 31, 2010, when it lost 33-17 to Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, and finished the season 7-6.

In 2009, the Canes played in the Champs Sports Bowl, now the Russell. They lost 20-14 to Wisconsin on a rainy night in which UM tailback Graig Cooper tore his ACL in horrendous field conditions. The field has since been resurfaced with artificial turf.

Positive outlook

UM was off Monday, but Golden said Sunday evening that the Hurricanes were still positive, especially with a bowl berth finally a reality after sitting out self-imposed postseason bans in 2011 and ’12.

“We get to go to a bowl game for the first time in three seasons, which is obviously going to help us move the program forward,” Golden said. “We’re excited about the future. We’re not down.”

Read more UM stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Tough road:</span> Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman (52), with Thurston Armbrister, relishes the challenge of playing in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday. ‘I can’t wait for this matchup.’

    UM Football

    Miami Hurricanes show no fear of going to Nebraska

    UM’s defense, better statistically this season after three games, is going into Saturday’s game against Nebraska’s explosive offense confident it can hold its own

UM quarterback Gray Crow is shown during the team's spring scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

    UM notebook

    Gray Crow moves back to quarterback for University of Miami

    “No, it’s not easy,” Golden said of Crow’s situation. “The idea behind the move back in July was give him an opportunity to play, based on our depth at quarterback. We were hoping he could help us at H-back, at fullback, at long-snapper or in some way on special teams. He talked to us [Tuesday] and we moved him back.”

FILE- In this Sept. 6, 2014, file photo, Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA football game against Florida A&M in Miami Gardens, Fla. Kaaya was walking through the Miami campus earlier this week, totally unbothered and unnoticed as he strolled around Lake Osceola. Call it a rare moment of solitude for the Hurricanes' quarterback, who has been thrust into the fire as a freshman starter and is now getting ready for No. 24 Nebraska on Saturday night.

    UM Football

    Miami Hurricanes QB Brad Kaaya to face huge test at Nebraska

    With Kevin Olsen no longer at UM and Ryan Williams nearing his comeback, Kaaya says he's ready to enter hostile territory.

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category