2006 Monday Thoughts: The Miami Game

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Monday Thoughts: Miami

Very
little that happened Saturday night surprised me. I expected both teams to
struggle on offense, I expected it to be a low-scoring game, and I figured one
of the two teams would make a mistake or two that cost them the game. The one
thing I didn’t expect to see was a completely clean, hard-fought game, but
that’s what we got.

This one was billed by some as the “Thug Bowl,” because Miami and
VT haven’t distinguished themselves with their behavior recently. By
“recently,” I mean as long as you feel like the statement is true.
This season? The past year? The past few years? The 1980s through today? Take
your pick.

In talking to Tech fans before the game, everyone I talked to agreed that one
of the major keys to the game was for the Hokies to keep their heads, avoid the
trash talk, and play with composure. It appeared that the Hokies had gotten
their act together after the BC embarrassment, but the subsequent games against
Southern Miss and Clemson were both home games, and they weren’t against teams
with the, well, reputation of the Miami Hurricanes.

I figured the Canes would come out swinging, literally and figuratively,
trying to rattle the Hokies and “protect the OB.” Games between Miami
and VT, particularly in the Orange Bowl, have never been affairs for the timid,
and with Miami’s back to the wall, it looked like it might get ugly.

Lo and behold, what unfolded in the Orange Bowl Saturday night was one of the
most cleanly-played games of all time between these two teams. Not only was
there minimal trash-talking and posing (you had to look hard to find it), but
there were actually incidences of good sportsmanship: players from opposite
teams helping each other up, Miami and VT players patting each other on the
helmet, the whole nine yards.

And you know what? The game was still hard-fought, a battle, and though ugly,
a classic that Tech fans will remember for a long time.

I found myself wondering if I had misjudged the Hurricanes. From the
post-Peach Bowl fight with LSU through the logo-stomping at Louisville and into...