One Night In Tempe
So at last Miami week is here and the game that has had a significant amount of buzz ever since it was scheduled is a mere three days away. This game has been on everyone’s mind, and as Sanzenbacher said “it is a relief we can finally talk about Miami now”. The fact that it is a matchup of two highly ranked teams from different conferences is merely considering the real time aspect of the game. There are some deep subplots woven into the fabric of this game even before the players take the field on Saturday.
There was a really good piece in the dispatch online about how Miami has fared since that fateful and glorious night in Tempe. Until I read it I had not really thought about how Miami had gone down after that game and is just now building themselves back to national recognition. In their case what ended up causing the slide was due to recruiting. Suddenly south Florida was not just theirs and kids were going other places too. Some of the kids they did get didn’t pan out which happens to everyone – it just all happened to Miami over the course of a few years, along with the Brian Pata tragedy and the tearing down of the Orange Bowl. Now they have a former Miami player as coach in Randy Shannon who is turning things around and bringing in the talent again (Harris, ) and has them ranked #12. If they were to go into the Shoe and get one – it would catapult the program back to the top once again.
The Buckeyes came from that night with the cherry high of being the best in the land only to spend the next seven years going through a series high profile losses in bowl games and non conference opponents from a variety of reasons - false entitlement, undeserved placement, lay down roll overs, and in a couple of cases heart wrenching final minute losses that should have been victories. Just now after the Rose Bowl is the talk more like how we are back to the top level instead of “just being good in the conference” – and even now we still have many doubters. A big win against the Canes helps to further shake the big game monkey from the back of the program and keep an incredibly talented Buckeye team in the hunt for Glendale in January.
Ramzy from Bucknuts wrote a really good piece about the history between these teams:
“Since that night in Tempe, Miami has played in five December bowl games, losing three of them. Their two victories were against Ron Zook’s Florida Gators and a one-point thriller against Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl. Prior to that night in Tempe, Miami had played in two December bowl games over the previous 22 seasons. Ohio State destroyed Oklahoma State in the 2004 Alamo Bowl and has been in BCS games exclusively otherwise. The trajectories have had decidedly different tilts since that evening.
When Ohio State and Miami last met in the regular season back in 1999, they were coming from different directions: The Buckeyes had spent the previous six seasons in or near the top ten while Miami was rebuilding from the ground up. Over the next three years, the Canes would be dominant and the Buckeyes would start over. After meeting again in 2003, it would be Miami that had to start over while Ohio State went back to reloading as it had in the 1990s. This time around, both rosters are looking loaded and there’s no reason to believe either team is going to have another dip anytime soon, especially the Buckeyes, who have not had roster depth like this since 1996.”
It is funny how things played out for both programs. Now they both arrive at this place with seemingly so much history for only meeting a handful of times – not to mention the fact both teams are flush with talent and it will be a hell of game anyway. To borrow the words Sir Dane once again – “it will be wild”.