It Ain't U, Miami
The University of Miami’s nickname seems a bit out of place recently. Being called The U, implication being Miami is the end-all-be-all university in this country, should be accompanied by some sort of grading criteria. Sure, past Hurricane editions have warranted such a cocky and smug nickname. After all, they were big and bad and better than you. From Warren Sapp and The freaking Rock to Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, Miami’s players were better than players from your school; they knew it and you knew it as well. From 1979 through the 2006 season, Hurricanes head coaches won 267 games while losing just 69. Winning a shade under 80% of your ballgames for a quarter century deserves as brash a nickname as can possibly be thought up.
Now, however, the swaggerish nickname remains with little of the backup. Miami hasn’t competed for a conference crown in years. In fact, they have never won the Atlantic Coast Conference since their move from the Big East. They haven’t vied for a National Championship in over a decade. They hardly produce All-ACC performers, let alone All-Americans or Heisman Trophy finalists. The days of Miami being The U remain in name only, almost as a tribute to what that term used to represent.
A lot of this decomposition can be blamed on scandal. From NCAA violations under Butch Davis and Randy Shannon to the fiendish Nevin Shapiro epic tale, Miami has broken its share of rules. However, that used to be part of their M.O. Other teams feared Miami because opponents knew they were a little rough around the edges and might push the boundaries of rules and common decency. Being found guilty of doing just that should have boosted their self-esteem.
Instead of raging against the machine and battling back to superiority like in years past, Miami has slunk into obscurity. There is no Michael Irvin coming in to take the team’s personality to insane heights. There is no Edgerrin James to run over, around and through all-comers. But more importantly, there is no fear or intimidation when an opponent hears the Hurricanes are coming to town: they expect to give Miami a loss. If anything, The U should be called The L. It would be a more fitting name for what this university has delivered in recent seasons.