What the University of Miami has done this millennium is absurd. They have accumulated an ungodly winning streak, a near-perfect regular season for three and a half years, BCS bowl promised land for three consecutive years, two national championship games, one national title and one national runner-up. Since 2000, Miami boasts nearly 50 wins and only four losses since the dawn of the 21st-century, a feat matched only by Oklahoma University. The Hurricanes spent the longest time in the Top Five than any other team in history.
Now the unthinkable has happened twice. First, Miami’s NCAA-record regular season winning streak ended in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech. Then the ‘Canes handed Tennessee a win a week later at the Orange Bowl, ending the nation’s longest home winning streak. The aftermath has Miami looking at the Gator Bowl instead of the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl. They’re not taking it too well, either.
Long the dispensers of cruel thrashings, the ‘Canes have responded with less than total composure. Tight-end Kellen Winslow found difficulty expressing his dissatisfaction in refined language. The starting quarterback spot is up for grabs. There is no running game without Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, or Frank Gore. The program that once could do no wrong is now struggling to score seven points a game. That’s amazing considering the Hurricanes have five first-round draft picks in their starting lineup.
Want to hear something ridiculous? How’s this for ridiculous – Oklahoma beat Texas A&M 77-0 on Saturday, and all 77 points were scored in three quarters. That’s an outrage. It’s absolutely ridiculous for a score to get out of control like that. It should have never happened. It makes a mockery of a gentleman’s sport. Someone should pay the piper.
That’s right. Texas A&M owes us all an apology. Oklahoma took out their offensive starters for the second half. They took out their defensive starters midway through the third quarter. They threw a grand total of four passes in the second half, compared to 37 run plays. Up seven touchdowns, they became utterly predictable. Yet A&M managed to give up four more touchdowns.
ESPN’s Mike Lupica vilified Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops on radio and television. How could he let this happen? He vowed to cheer against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. However, had Lupica actually seen the game, he would be singing praises to Oklahoma for not scoring 100-plus against the Aggies. The Sooners ordered the reserves to run at “half-speed,” get to the line of scrimmage, and fall down. Seriously. That’s how bad it was. The Sooners showed mercy.
A&M coach Dennis Franchione, along with everyone else who saw the game, said that the score was a product of the Aggies’ utter ineptitude – not Sooner avarice. The Aggies were on the other end of an ugly rout a couple weeks ago – 73-10 over Baylor – they know how sometimes you can’t lose for winning. What do you do? Take a knee on every possession? Punt on first downs? Suit up the coaches? Stoops and Company are open to good suggestions.
Continuing on our theme of absurdity and ridiculousness this week, let’s talk about the coaching situation at the University of Nebraska. Nebraska’s sixth-year head coach Frank Solich is still in the hot seat despite his 57-18 record, including an 8-2 mark this season. His .760 winning percentage ranks fifth nationally among head coaches with at least five years of coaching experience. Under Solich, Nebraska has played for a national title – a 31-17 loss to Miami in the 2001 Rose Bowl – won a Fiesta Bowl over Tennessee, and won a Big XII championship. Yet every season his coaching credentials come into question.
Nebraska need not look any further than Texas A&M to see what can happen to a program that gets rid of a good coach. Last season, Texas A&M “money people” threw their considerable weight around to get R.C. Slocum fired, even though the coach has a bevy of conference championships and had a win over previously unbeaten and top-ranked Oklahoma. The “money people” then threw a lot of cash at Dennis Franchione to lure him away from University of Alabama. Now the Aggies are struggling to win five games and are fresh off the biggest spanking in Big XII history. Huskers – this doesn’t have to happen.
Tipton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.