University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes likely headed to ‘second-tier’ bowl

Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) is tripped up by Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Avonte Maddox (14) as the University of Miami hosts Pittsburgh at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Nov. 29, 2014.
Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) is tripped up by Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Avonte Maddox (14) as the University of Miami hosts Pittsburgh at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Nov. 29, 2014. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In the wake of an ugly ending to a once-encouraging regular season, the Miami Hurricanes must regroup, complete their academics for this semester and get ready for a bowl game.

And that game will likely be a “second-tier” bowl, as designated in the new College Football Playoff system, a person with ties to the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl process said Sunday. The postseason games for which UM is expected to be considered:

▪ The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl at 8 p.m. Dec. 26 at Tropicana Field.

▪ The Duck Commander Independence Bowl at 3:30p.m. Dec.27 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

▪ The Quick Lane Bowl at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 26 in Detroit.

▪ The Military Bowl at 1p.m. Dec. 27 at NMCM Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Hurricanes, along with the rest of the Football Bowl Subdivision teams, will officially learn of their bowl destination late Sunday afternoon — though they should have an idea before then.

The Bitcoin, a natural fit because it’s close enough to reach by car, could match the Hurricanes (6-6) with fellow in-stater UCF (8-3) of the American Athletic Conference, while the Independence could vie for a juicy Miami-Florida (6-5) matchup.

The Quick Lane would match a Big Ten team against the Canes, and in the Military, an American Athletic Conference team.

UM coach Al Golden, the object of social media scorn by countless fans who want him fired after his team’s 35-23 loss Saturday to Pittsburgh, did not take part in his usual day-after teleconference because he was out recruiting, according to a Miami spokesman.

Golden is now 28-21 overall, 16-16 against ACC competition and 18-20 against teams from the power five conferences since his first season in 2011.

But as it has every season, Golden’s name already popped up among media as a contender for coaching openings — despite his contract that runs through the 2019 season and assurance from athletic director Blake James that Golden will be the coach next year.

Sporting News listed Golden as a possible top candidate to replace Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who finished 9-3 this season and whose firing was announced Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Canes, many of whom in defense of Golden repeatedly told the media recently that “coaches coach and players play,” are expected to take off most of this week and then begin bowl practice soon afterward.

A few Hurricanes spoke after the game, including freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya, who threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns.

“They had a lot of our patterns worked out pretty well,” Kaaya said of Pitt, which became bowl-eligible with the win. “It was hard to get to the second and third reads because they pretty much had them locked and covered. At the same time, I feel like we couldn’t really get our rhythm too well. We were just out of sync a whole lot of times.”

Nonetheless, Kaaya said he gave it his “all.”

“I just want to get better,” Kaaya said. “I want all the young guys to really progress and get back to the bowl game and let that carry us through next year. … I’m trying to be great, and all my teammates to be, especially the young guys.”

Senior linebacker Denzel Perryman said he didn’t know why the Canes had collapsed after the hard-fought loss to FSU on Nov.15.

“If I could say anything,” he said, “I’d probably say we just got complacent.”

As for tailback Duke Johnson, who broke Ottis Anderson’s all-time UM rushing record Saturday, he said he “never imagined” being 6-6, but that the players who love the game must find it within themselves to play better.

Johnson’s mother, Cassandra Mitchell, who was photographed on social media sitting with agent Drew Rosenhaus during the game, told the Miami Herald on Sunday that Rosenhaus and assistant Robert Bailey unexpectedly approached her at halftime, sat down and introduced themselves.

“That’s when we said, ‘Right now we still have football to play and Duke hasn’t made a decision, and if the time comes I’ll get in touch with you,’” Mitchell said. “We’re not making any decisions now. We’re not meeting with anyone.”