Miami football named Sleeping Giant poised to awaken

Josh Pate of 247Sports named the Miami football program among four sleeping giants nationally.

(01/03/2002)    Miami head coach Larry Coker rides on his players shoulders and holds up his finger
(01/03/2002) Miami head coach Larry Coker rides on his players shoulders and holds up his finger / Robert Hanashiro - USA TODAY Network via

The Miami football program was a cultural phenomenon with four national titles between 1983 and 1992 and again with a 34-game winning streak and another championship in 2001. With mostly mediocrity for the past 20 years, Miami has remained polarizing and relevant since its title years.

Miami has been trying to return to prominence since the end of the Larry Coker era. Mark Richt appeared to have Miami headed toward a return among the elite programs nationally winning 19 of his first 23 games as the Hurricanes' head coach in 2016 and 2016. That included a 15-game winning streak spanning those two seasons.

Two of the other three teams Pate mentioned are Miami's rivals. Miami defeated Nebraska in their bowl game to win three of their five national championships. For over 30 years, Miami and Virginia Tech have been conference rivals. Miami or Virginia Tech won or shared the Big East title in seven of their 11 years.

Tennessee is the fourth program Pate mentions. The Volunteers hold a 2-1 series edge over Miami. Tennessee beat Miami 35-7 in the 1986 Sugar Bowl, ending a chance for Miami to win the National Championship. The Hurricanes and Volunteers last split a home-and-home in 2002 and 2003.

"Mentioning Miami please yeah. Miami belongs here. Yeah, I'd love to see Miami as one of the Prime players in college football again. Their last National Title was in (20)01. But oh friends from 1983 to 2003,14 of those 21 Seasons Miami won double-digit games and they have only won one double-digit season since '04. Did the structure of the sport change? Not necessarily, it's just Miami being in Miami's own way and if Miami gets out of Miami's Own Way, Miami can do special things again. I don't think it helps they tore down the Orange Bowl either...Miami home games you will have to provide the folks a winner. But if you do provide them a winner, they will show up...but unlike some of these places with blind loyalty, they are not showing up if you're anything less than a winner. The number one ingredient in this sport to win at the highest levels has always been and will always be Talent...""

Josh Pate, 247 Sports

The criticism on the attendance at Miami football games has always been misguided. Pate is correct about Miami fans supporting a winner. Per the College Football News, from 2018 through 2022, Miami was 36th nationally averaging 42,821 fans per game. That includes the 2020 season when COVID protocols were different by state.

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Miami has significantly upgraded its talent under Mario Cristobal. The Hurricanes have signed consecutive top-10 classes. As those players mature over the next two seasons, Miami has to improve on the field. Several of the 2023 signees will leave after the 2025 seasons. Miami needs to capitalize on that talent.