University of Miami

These two UM moments were among the ‘weird and wonderful’ from the 2017 season

Miami Hurricanes safety Jaquan Johnson receives the turnover chain as the University of Miami hosted Virginia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 4, 2017.
Miami Hurricanes safety Jaquan Johnson receives the turnover chain as the University of Miami hosted Virginia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 4, 2017.

ESPN’s David Hale on Thursday posted his 17 “weird and wonderful” moments from the 2017 college football season. The University of Miami, which won its first ACC Coastal title in program history and went 10-3, made the list twice.

One moment to be expected is the turnover chain, that five-and-a-half pound 10K gold “Cuban Link” chain with the “U” hanging on the bottom. It came out every time the defense intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble, which was often. The Hurricanes led Power Five teams and finished tied for third nationally overall with 31 turnovers. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said before the Orange Bowl that the chain will return next season.

“In a season in which sideline swag became all the rage, Miami made the biggest fashion statement with its gaudy gear that just so happened to actually work [or, it at least made for a pretty impressive placebo effect], as the Canes finished with 31 takeaways,” Hale wrote. “Plus, if your competition is a rubber garbage can, well, the chain was clearly the fashion statement of 2017.

Miami Hurricanes defensive back Trajan Bandy and Jaquan Johnson speak to the media about turnovers after the University of Miami Hurricanes host Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

For the second moment, one has to go all the way back to ACC Media Days when Miami coach Mark Richt taught the world how to properly eat a sandwich. To review, each sandwich should take 10 bites — five for each half. The first two bites are the corners, then one in the middle (which Richt referred to as the “filet” of the sandwich), followed by two more bites to finish it off. The process is then repeated for the second half of the sandwich.

“Media days are usually dull affairs, regardless of the conference. But Miami’s coach managed to liven things up with what can only be described as the definitive guide to properly eating a sandwich,” Hale wrote. “And after winning the Canes’ first ACC Coastal Division title, it should be all ‘filet of the sandwich’ for Richt until next season begins.”

Among other highlights on the list:

  • The University of Central Florida declared itself national champions after going a perfect 13-0 and defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
  • Alabama true freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entering the national championship game in the second half and leading the Crimson Tide to their fifth national championship under Nick Saban.
  • The whirlwind of postseason coaching hires, which saw Jimbo Fisher bolt to Texas A&M, Willie Taggart take over Florida State and Tennessee contacting close to a dozen people to find a replacement for Butch Jones.
  • Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin’s twitter antics, including those toward his former boss Saban.

University of Miami football coach Mark Richt talks to the media about the school's now mythical turnover chain a day before the Hurricanes take on the Clemson Tigers in Charlotte.

Related stories from Miami Herald