Thursday-night magic? Or Thursday-night misery?
Maybe a little of each.
University of Miami football coach Mark Richt said Monday morning that when he coached at Georgia, the Bulldogs didn’t schedule games for Thursday nights.
Perhaps Richt doesn’t realize that the Hurricanes, according to the Atlantic Coast Conference, have the highest ESPN Thursday-night overall winning percentage of any ACC school: 18-4 (.818) – 11-1 at home and 7-3 on the road.
He likely doesn’t care, as the unranked Hurricanes (4-2, 1-2 ACC), coming off back-to-back ACC home losses to Florida State and North Carolina, have been afforded four days to practice for Coastal rival Virginia Tech (4-2, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday, and that includes Wednesday, the day they fly out of Miami.
This is a quick turnaround. Whether it’s getting signals down or staying extra after practice, we have to get together as an offense and help our defense out.
Brad Kaaya, UM quarterback
“This is a quick turnaround,’’ UM quarterback Brad Kaaya said Saturday night. “Whether it’s getting signals down or staying extra after practice, we have to get together as an offense and help our defense out.’’
The Canes were scheduled to practice on Monday, their usual off day, though there was no media availability. Richt will address the media on Tuesday afternoon.
“When I was coaching at Georgia our president kind of refused to ever play on a Thursday night, home or away,’’ Richt told WQAM on Monday morning after being asked about the quick turnaround. “If there was a home game because it was an on-campus stadium then you’d probably have to shut down school for sure Thursday and Friday, maybe even Wednesday to get prepared.
“When it came to away games I’m not sure exactly why that was the way it was. But we just didn’t do it. When I was at Florida State… as a coach, you’d play on a Thursday and a lot of times you’d have an open date prior to that, but I can’t remember going from a Saturday to a Thursday. So, it’s a new experience for me. But both teams have got to do it so it seems a little bit more fair in that regard.”
According to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Hurricanes have the highest ESPN Thursday-night overall winning percentage of any ACC school
Some UM Thursday-night games, it should be noted, such as the 2000 season opener against McNeese State, the 2008 opener against Charleston Southern and the 2010 opener against FAMU, were not Thursday-night ESPN telecasts.
“It’s a short week so we just gotta put this past us and move on,’’ running back Mark Walton said Saturday. “Virginia Tech on a Thursday night. Just go to their place and try to get a W.’’
UM’s Thursday-night ESPN conquests include the first game they ever played for that telecast, a 40-10 win over No. 10 Houston on Sept. 12, 1991, when the Canes were No. 2 but eventually earned the national title. They also include three victories and no defeats against the Hokies.
Their four losses include last year’s 34-23 stinker at Cincinnati on Oct. 1. They also lost to Virginia in 2011, at Georgia Tech in 2008 and at Pittsburgh in 1997.
Virginia Tech, coached this year by Justin Fuente after long-time coach Frank Beamer retired, is 21-9 on Thursday-night telecasts. The Hokies’ last such game in Blacksburg was a 30-6 loss to the Hurricanes in 2014.