Voice Of The Hurricanes: Is The U Back?
By Dan Harralson
What a win it was for the Miami Hurricanes to knock off the Florida Gators.
Miami had to face an exceptional Florida defense that held the Hurricanes to only 21 points.
That's right, 21 points. Some teams game plan and are hopeful for 21 points, but the Hurricanes know what they have this year offensively, and they did what they had to do to pull out a victory over a solid SEC defense.
So, is The U back?
It has been 13 seasons since Miami last won the national championship and raised the crystal ball in Pasadena with a thumping over Nebraska.
Miami lost a national championship game heartbreaker the very next year to Ohio State and has faded to the rear-view mirror of the national stage since.
The 'Canes moved to the ACC in 2004 and never have won the conference, yet alone played in the conference championship.
Twelve years ago was a special time for Joe Zagacki, who took over as the voice of the 'Canes football team.
He has been with the Miami Hurricanes broadcast team for all five of their national championships.
"This is my 25th year in the broadcast booth," Zagacki said. "The first year I did play-by-play we lost to Ohio State. My first year ever on the broadcast was '83 and I did the pregame show and was on the sidelines and (we) won the national championship against Nebraska."
Joe has been there for all of the Hurricanes national championships and the near misses in '92 and '02 (losses to Alabama and Ohio State).
"I have five rings," Zagacki said. "I was the analyst for the '87, '89, '91 and the 2001 championships."
He has worked with all of the national championship coaches. From Howard Schnellenberger to Larry Coker, Zagacki has been there.
Where does Al Golden project at The U?
"I think he's one of the really fine young coaches in college football," Zagacki said. "I think he is part of the new wave of coaches that are coming along. He's had such a great pulse and can really articulate his vision of the program."
The only thing in question around Miami's campus is the lingering effect of the NCAA's decision, or lack thereof, on the Hurricanes' football program.
The NCAA's indecision has cost Miami two bowl games and is unfair to Golden. The organization needs to make a ruling so the coach knows where the program stands and how to move forward.
"He (Golden) has a chance to leave behind a legacy just like Howard, just like Jimmy, just like Dennis Erickson," Zagacki said. "I think once they get past the NCAA, whatever the outcome of that is, once he gets a level playing ground, I think he can leave a championship legacy."
Defeating nationally-ranked Florida gave Golden a big notch in his belt. The 'Canes put on a defensive exhibit and have a offense that will be in tune for ACC play.
That raises the question again: Are the 'Canes back?
"First of all, anytime you beat Florida it's a great win," Zagacki said. "They don't play that often. They've played 55 times and Miami has beaten them now seven of the last eight times, so that game gives you bragging rights for a long time. It's important in that department. It demonstrates to Miami's players that they go toe-to-toe at an elite level, so the impact there is that it gives you credibility."
Winning gives a program that already has won five national championships instant respect.
However, there is still work to take care of on the field. The ACC is a good conference this year and Florida State and Clemson are in the same boat as Miami, wanting the crystal ball.
"It doesn't mean they're (Miami) all the way back, but winning games like Florida gives you credibility," Zagacki said.