It's been awhile since the University of Miami had to take a five hour flight to play a bowl game. Nearly seven years to be exact. You might remember it. It was out in Pasadena in this place called the Rose Bowl. Miami won something special that night. It's fifth -- and currently its final -- national championship. The Canes shredded Nebraska 37-14 with arguably the greatest team in its programs history.
Seven years later, UM is going back to Cali. But this trip is to play in something far less important: the Emerald Bowl. It's just one of the other 32 bowl games that will be played for fun in a span of two weeks. The one that counts will be here, at UM's current home, on Jan. 8 and it involves the hated Florida Gators and the Oklahoma Sooners. In a sense, I find it symbolic Miami's first bowl trip under Randy Shannon will be out in the same state where UM's last great conquest happened and 3,027 miles away from the only game this program really cares to play in. Because that distance is how far I think this program still has to go to get back to being what it once was, when it played in games that mattered.
I'm not trying to rain on the Canes' parade today. Getting a bowl bid after the worst season in 30 years is a step in the right direction. It's progress. But for a moment, I just wanted to put into perspective again how far The U has fallen. Whether most of you like it or not, with each passing season, those national titles and that rich history gets further and further away. This trip out to San Francisco, however, could be the second step in the climb back. Don't get me wrong. The Hurricanes don't need to beat California on Dec. 27 as much as they need another top 10 recruiting class and a few upgrades on its coaching staff. But for those of you that bleed orange and green (and are tired of hearing it from the orange and blue) I know you need something from this team. A win out on the West Coast would be a nice start.
> Tonight I spoke to UM assistant Stephen Field, whom I'm sure you heard by now played the role of hero Saturday afternoon
here in Miami, pulling a guy out of a burning, flipped over car on I-95. Field told me tonight he's not sure why people are making such a big deal out of it. "I just would have done what anybody else would have," Field said. That's Stephen being a cool guy again. I've known him for close to 10 years now, since he first started coaching on high school sidelines at Miami Central. Whether you like it or not brother, you were a hero on Saturday Steve.
> In honor of the return trip to Cali...