As head coach Al Golden preps his young team for Soldier Field, one has to wonder if facing Notre Dame is Golden’s toughest challenge since becoming the head man in charge?
Aside from playing at Soldier Field, are these Miami Hurricanes primed to face the task at hand – can they hold up against the chilly weather? Are they going to play four solid quarters of football? Will the U tough program prove to be affective?
Some of you may be too young to remember the heated Miami-Notre Dame rivalry. The Good versus the Bad; the Saints versus the Sinners; the Catholics versus the Convicts.
For the youngsters, here are some quick tidbits on the ‘Canes vs. Irish rivalry via The Huffington Post:
- Between 1971-1980, Notre Dame owned Miami, winning ten straight games by an average of 23 points.
- From 1981-1987 the tables turned in Miami’s favor. Between Howard Schnellenberger and Jimmy Johnson, the ‘Canes went 5-1 against the Irish – their average margin of victory was 28 points.
- Saturday’s game marks the first time since 1990 that the two rivals have met during the regular season.
- The Irish lead the all-time series 15-7-1
Perhaps the most infamous meeting between the two teams occurred in 1988. The No. 1 Hurricanes were upset by No. 4 Notre Dame, 31-30. The animosity was evident before the game had even started. The two squads engaged in a pre-game fight, just outside of the entrance tunnel.
Notre Dame would go on to win the 1988 national championship.
Now that we have relived the past, as Miami fans like to do (not that there is anything wrong with that), this brings me to the question at hand: Is facing Notre Dame on a chilly night at Soldier Field Al Golden’s toughest test since becoming Miami’s head coach?
The answer is: of course.
This game holds a lot of implications for Miami. If the ‘Canes were to upset Notre Dame, not only would they find themselves amongst the top 25, but a signature win could mean that the U is finally back – well, at least on the upswing. The fact is, Miami is now relevant. And Notre Dame is relevant.
Al Golden has the potential to join the Miami elite. A win against Notre Dame wouldn’t cement his name amongst the greats, like Schnellenberger, Johnson, Erickson or Davis – but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
It is evident that Miami is getting better. With each game their progress is obvious. If Golden has his young squad prepared mentally, well, this game has the potential to end in Miami’s favor.