It's a big weekend for college football.
Unfortunately, a lot of us who would have been in Charlotte this weekend for the ACC Championship, will now sit at home Saturday and watch Georgia Tech (6-6 overall. 5-3 ACC) take on Florida State (10-2, 7-1).
Probably not Al Golden.
Unless he changes his plans.
When The Hurricanes coach was asked If he would be watching the ACC title game, he replied, "I probably won't be. I hope I'm at a recruiting dinner trying to get someone that's going to help us get in that game -- again.''
You know it's driving Golden crazy that the Canes aren't in this game, which should have been UM vs. FSU in a rematch of state rivals. When the UM administration opted to self-impose its second consecutive bowl ban in hopes of softening expected NCAA penalties in the Nevin Shapiro case, that also included the ACC title game.
"We've made a significant sacrifice here,'' Golden said. "It wasn't just one postseason game. It was three postseason games. It was a chance to play in a championship game and it also was a chance to play our arch-rival and have a chance to go to a BCS game. So, we're giving up significantly."
Especially frustrating that Georgia Tech is the team that got the nod for the title game over the Hurricanes, who beat Tech in Atlanta in overtime this season (remember Mike James' incredible performance that game?)
Anyway, in case you didn't hear already, the NCAA has granted Georgia Tech permission to play in a bowl game should the Yellow Jackets lose to FSU and have a 6-7 record. In doing so, that could prevent a team such as 10-2 San Jose State from playing in a bowl, or 6-6 Central Michigan.
Doesn't seem to make sense.
WAY TO GO SHAYON
Wanted to give a shout out to defensive end Shayon Green, who won the 2012 Brian Piccolo Award along with FSU running back Chris Thompson.
The Piccolo Award, given annually since 1972 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo, goes to the "most courageous" football player in the ACC. Piccolo, who played for Wake Forest (and the Chicago Bears) and was the 1965 ACC Athlete of the Year, moved to South Florida when he was 12 and graduated from the former Central Catholic High -- now Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas -- in 1961. He was stricken with an aggressive form of cancer and died at age 26. (aside: any of you remember, or ever seen, the movie that immortalized Piccolo -- Brian's Song? A remake of it was made in 2001. The original was aired in 1971.)
Shayon, according to the news release of the award, "had to overcome four different major injuries:'' two ACL tears in his right knee, one meniscus tear in his right knee and also suffered a dislocated wrist that forced him to miss "all, or a major part of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.''
"Shayon is an amazing individual with an unparalleled work ethic,'' Golden said. "I cannot think of anyone who exemplifies the ideals of Brian Piccolo or is more deserving of this award than him. He has overcome a dislocated wrist and three separate knee surgeries to become our leading tackler and team captain. His commitment and perseverance is an inspiration to us all.''
Frank Gore (2004) and Glenn Sharpe (2006) are the other two Canes who previously won this award.
I did a feature about Shayon early this season. He's a tough player, whom I recall many a day walking to or from practice limping. But he ended up leading the Hurricanes in tackles with 67 in 12 games -- three more than LB Denzel Perryman (nine games); six more than LB Gionni Paul (nine games); and eight more than LB Eddie Johnson (10 games).
Shayon will be back next year.
HERE'S THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY I WROTE ABOUT SHAYON EARLY THIS SEASON:
When Shayon Green learned that fifth-year senior linebacker Ramon Buchanan sustained a second major knee injury Saturday on the same knee Buchanan tore last October, tears welled in Green’s eyes.
“That was very upsetting,’’ Green said this week, taking a few moments to compose himself. “He’s in my prayers.’’
Green’s empathy is palpable. The 6-3, 260-pound Miami defensive end tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee as a freshman during 2009 fall camp. He tore the same ACL again during spring practice of 2011.
“But I never quit,’’ he said.
This medical marvel, an inspiration to teammates and coaches alike, resumed his playing career six months after his second reconstructive surgery. Today, the redshirt junior leads the Hurricanes (1-1) in tackles with 15 – highlighted by his tackle-for-loss on an attempted trick play from the 1-yard line at Kansas State in the second quarter.
KSU missed an attempted field goal on the next play.
“He’s as tough as they come,’’ defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said of Green, who plays strong-side, rush end and nose tackle on third downs. “He has come back from multiple injuries, yet he throws it around every day. Here’s an example of someone who doesn’t make excuses, a guy playing three positions and owning the game plan.’’
Green, 21, grew up in Tifton, Ga., where he was rated the No. 65 weakside defensive end by rivals.com. He said his mother, a nurse; and father, who owns a small construction company, helped keep his spirits up through both ACL tears.
“Proud is not the word,’’ said Larry Green, who had just hung up with Shayon a day after the demoralizing 52-13 loss at Kansas State. “He’s very respectful, well mannered, smart – and I love him to death. He was a little upset because he’s a leader on the defensive line and they played poorly. I told him, ‘Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get ready for Bethune-Cookman. You’ve got to rally your troops.’’’
TICKETS ON SALE FOR UM FOOTBALL BANQUET
Tickets are on sale for the UM Football Banquet, which will be held Dec. 9 at Jungle Island in the Treetop Ballroom -- 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, 33132.
Tickets are $60 per person, which includes buffet lunch.
Check-in and reception begin at noon, with luncheon and awards program at 1 p.m.
Fans can purchase tickets online or by calling the Hurricane Club at 305-284-6699.
HURRICANES TO HOST WOUNDED WARRIORS
The UM baseball team will host the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team for a 7 p.m. exhibition on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
The Wounded Warriors are young veterans and active duty soldiers who have lost limbs while serving their country in the military since 9-11.
Pregame festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds from the game ($10 general admission tickets a the gate) go to the Wounded Warriors.
These guys are awesome -- and they're incredibly fit. I've covered the Wounded Warriors who run in the ING MIami Marathon. It's a fantastic organization. I'm guessing that this event will be inspiring, and worth attending.
Another shout out, this one to the men's and women's hoops teams, who had back-to-back great victories against highly ranked teams -- the men against No. 13 Michigan State and the women, last night against No. 6 Penn State.
Michelle Kaufman covers UM hoops for The MIami Herald, and wrote two compelling stories on the games.
While she was at the men's game two nights ago, by the way, she caught up to UM interim AD Blake James to ask him about the speculation of Al Golden speaking to Tennessee (or other teams) about head coaching vacancies.
She relayed this quote to me, from James:
"I spoke to Al the last two days regarding all the rumors and he assured me that he'll be with us next year and isn't going anywhere."
I believe it.
I am on furlough next week (mandatory and predetermined), so will be back after that.
Everyone have a healthy and happy week ahead.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN