Friday, September 10, 2010

Miami-Ohio State: 7 Years Ago

With Miami and Ohio State meeting this weekend in one of the biggest games of the early seas.on, it's bringing back memories of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl for the national title.

Little known fact about me. I was briefly a Miami Hurricanes fan from 10th grade til senior year as I considered going to Miami. Of course, a lil thing called hurricane season and West Coast love kept that just a dream. But while I was in my phase, I watched the Hurricanes return to prominence which ironically came at the expense of my UCLA Bruins.

(1998. 1st year of the BCS. 20-game winning streak. All we had to do was beat Miami in a postponed game and we're playing Tennessee for the national title. I had to listen to the game on the radio since we were out. Cade McNown's doing his best to air it out (515 yards and 5 TD's) but the defense couldn't stop Edgerrin James who ran for 299 yards and 3 TD's, including the game winner. To this day, that game is the reason he has a pro career. UCLA hasn't been relevant as a national power since. That's another tear for another day.)

Memories must have died hard because I briefly became a fan of the Hurricanes as I courted them for school. The 2001-02 national championship squad was one of the greatest I've ever seen and it was loaded with All-Americans and future All-American backups who destroyed every team they faced.

Winning the title in Pasadena didn't hurt my fandom either. Destroying Heisman winner Eric Crouch and overmatched Nebraska in front of a national audience? Priceless (Sidenote: Every Tim Tebow fan needs to watch video of Crouch and try telling me he wasn't just as dominant)

They walked in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl with 34 straight wins and should've left with 35 along with another national title. Ohio State with super freshman Maurice Clarett played well the entire game and clutched up in the 2nd OT but a phantom pass interference call in the first OT took that way.

Interesting footnotes
- The ref who made the call (Terry Porter) currently has two kids who have full scholarship rides to Ohio State.
- It was also Clarett's last football game until he suits up for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League this year. He had a litany of troubles trying to go pro and getting jailed.
- The game was a changing of the guard. After the 2004 Orange Bowl, Miami has since not played in a BCS bowl game. Ohio State has only missed one BCS game since 2003 but has choked in every BCS game not named the Fiesta til last year's Rose Bowl

I'm not bitter anymore but it's still one of the worst calls in recent memory. That said, it should be a great game this weekend. My sleeper Heisman Trophy candidate Jacory Harris (Miami) will get a chance to show his mettle against everyone's Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor (OSU). Two good teams going at it. And you can bet everyone will see some highlight of the 2003 game among others.

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