A few hours after University of Miami coach Mark Richt learned his team had risen to No. 2 in both the Associated Press and Amway coaches polls, its highest ranking since 2003, Richt was told during his weekly Sunday teleconference that some of his players have been adamant about being disrespected by the national media.
“We showed them a video Friday night of just all the comments everybody had about the game and what they thought was going to happen,’’ he said. “And really, enough of that got everybody’s blood boiling a little bit. We’ll use whatever we need to to motivate.’’
So, what will he do now that the media is gushing about the Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who pounded Notre Dame 41-8 late Saturday and meet Virginia (6-4, 3-3) at noon this Saturday in the last home game of the season?
Show them a different video?
“We’ll think of something else,’’ Richt said. “No one really gave us much of a chance, was the biggest thing.’’
When asked how he felt about his team’s newest leap in the polls Sunday, Richt reiterated that he’s “been saying from the very beginning, you know when you win you move up. If you lose you move down. There are a lot of games to be played still.’’
The Hurricanes were No. 7 in the AP and No. 6 among the coaches going into Saturday’s game, but their dominant performance against the former No. 3 Fighting Irish (8-2), coupled with former No. 2 Georgia (9-1, No. 1 College Football Playoff) getting crushed by Auburn, put the Canes just one spot below perennial powerhouse Alabama (10-0), which scored in the last minute to defeat Mississippi State on Saturday.
The real test will come on Tuesday when Miami’s newest CFP rankings will be revealed on ESPN. UM is now No. 7 in the CFP rankings, which reward the top four teams on Dec. 3 with spots in the playoff to determine the national championship.
ESPN Stats & Info had the Hurricanes with the nation’s top strength of record, just above Alabama’s.
The Hurricanes clinched the Coastal Division title of the ACC on Saturday and will face defending national champion Clemson (9-1, 7-1), No. 4 in the AP and No. 3 among the coaches, in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We were on edge,” UM linebacker Shaquille Quarterman said after Miami’s victory. “I’ve never seen our players like that before, just with all the disrespect that we got, feeling that we were just overlooked constantly.”
Notre Dame dropped to ninth in both polls.
Wisconsin, at 10-0 one of three undefeated Power 5 teams that include Miami, is No. 4 in the coaches poll and No. 5 in the AP.
Oklahoma (9-1) is one spot below UM at No. 3 in the AP and No. 5 among the coaches.
In injury news, UM announced backup strongside linebacker Charles Perry is out for the rest of the season with “a left lower extremity injury’’ sustained in Saturday’s game. Perry, a junior, posted 15 tackles and one interception in nine games this season. Perry was down with 14:55 left in the third quarter with what appeared to be a left knee or leg injury during the opening kickoff of the second half.
Richt said defensive tackle Anthony Moten and safety Sheldrick Redwick, both of whom left the game at different points with injuries, were “fine.’’
▪ Three-star fullback Realus George out of Atlanta Pace Academy tweeted on Sunday evening that he was committing to Miami’s Class of 2018 after attending the game Saturday. George is 6-2 and 245 pounds, according to 247Sports, and also had offers from Virginia, Boston College, Navy, Army, Memphis and FAU, the recruiting site said.