Even before the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes destroyed No. 3 Notre Dame 41-8 in the late-night Saturday showdown at Hard Rock Stadium, the bowl scenario for Miami remained positive — that is, if the Canes were to defeat Virginia at home next Saturday and Pittsburgh on the road the day after Thanksgiving.
The Hurricanes, 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, would have a good chance to stay home and play in their first Capital One Orange Bowl game since 2004 should the Canes not make the College Football Playoff but still end up as the highest-ranked ACC team in the final College Football Playoff rankings.
Better yet, they could make the playoff and go for their sixth national title, which they would likely do if they finish undefeated.
UM could also be in the Orange Bowl game as the ACC champion not selected to compete in the playoff.
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Clemson is No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Should the Tigers, who clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Atlantic Division on Saturday afternoon by defeating FSU, defeat the Hurricanes in the ACC title game Dec. 2, the OB would be required to take the next highest-ranked ACC team in the final CFP poll — assuming Clemson remains in the top four.
The Orange Bowl opponent would be the highest-rated non-playoff team or non-conference champion from the Big 10 or SEC — or Notre Dame. Some possibilities at this point: Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn or Notre Dame.
The Orange Bowl will be played Saturday night, Dec. 30.
BROTHERLY TRASH TALK
The tension was high this week in the McIntosh household in Fort Lauderdale, where six siblings and mom and dad were in a tizzy over the prospect of their oldest son, RJ, a 6-4, 293-pound starting defensive tackle for Miami, going head-to-head for the first time against son Deon, a 5-10, 193-pound backup Notre Dame tailback.
Their mom Kyria McIntosh was dreading it.
Their dad, Richard McIntosh, a huge UM fan, gave permission for RJ to give little bro a good, safe hit.
“I know their dad loves Miami,” Kyria McIntosh, the mom of this brood, told the Miami Herald on Thursday night. “But as far as I’m concerned, I want them both to win.
“I just hung up the phone with RJ. He wants to make sure I’m OK that he’s not going to intentionally hurt his brother.”
Mom didn’t have to worry after all, as Deon had only one carry for 1 yard late in the game.
Big-brother McIntosh, 21, got to wear UM’s vaunted turnover chain after recovering a fumble and rumbling 35 yards toward the goal line with the ball last week against Virginia Tech. On Saturday he was second on the team with six tackles.
Little brother McIntosh, 20, had rushed for 367 yards and five touchdowns on 64 carries for a strong 5.7-yard-per-rush average coming into the game.
Both played for Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale.
▪ Four different UM players got to wear the turnover chain Saturday.
The Canes earned their first turnover chain at 3:09 of the first quarter when safety Jaquan Johnson intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush at the Irish 39-yard line and returned the ball seven yards. It was Johnson’s third interception of the season. He led Miami with eight tackles and a tackle for loss.
The Canes almost had two other picks in the first quarter.
The other interceptions were by cornerback Malek Young and cornerback Trajan Bandy. Bandy, a freshman, earned the team’s first defensive score with 22 seconds left in the first half when he ran back the pick 65 yards to make it 27-0.
Freshman defensive end Jon Garvin had his second sack/strip/fumble recovery in as many weeks.
▪ Canes senior kicker Michael Badgley tied Carlos Huerta’s all-time UM mark for field goals with the 73rd of his career at 13:27 of the second quarter to make it 17-0 UM. Badgley broke the record with his 74th field goal, a 30-yarder, with 5:56 left.
Badgley missed the first attempt of his career from 40-49 yards (42 yards) in the fourth quarter.
▪ UM defensive lineman Anthony Moten left the game with what appeared to be a left ankle injury with 8:05 left in the first quarter...linebacker Charles Perry went down with what appeared to be a left-knee or leg injury with 14:55 left in the third quarter. He couldn’t walk off on his own.
▪ Freshman punter Zach Feagles averaged 38.5 yards on four punts, including a long of 51 yards. Two punts landed inside the 20.
▪ Linebacker Zach McCloud and Joe Jackson each recorded one sack, with end Trent Harris adding another two.