CORAL GABLES, Fla. In January 1942, due to safety concerns after the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor the month before, the Rose Bowl was played in Durham, N.C., rather than Pasadena, Calif.
The Miami Hurricanes figure its time for another bowl at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Were going to treat Duke like our bowl game, Miami junior defensive end Shayon Green said Tuesday.
With the decision having been announced Monday that the Hurricanes, being investigated by the NCAA, will self-impose a bowl ban for a second straight year, Saturdays game at Duke will be their season finale. But while Miami players might talk about this being their bowl game, whether they truly act like that remains to be seen.
Before last seasons regular-season finale against Boston College, the Hurricanes learned about being ineligible for a bowl. They didnt exactly play with much zest in suffering a 24-17 home loss to the mediocre Eagles.
It sure was, Miami coach Al Golden said in admitting his team wasnt motivated then. Well, you hope the team has grown, you hope the team is different. I certainly feel like our leadership is strong right now.
Unlike last years game, there is at least something at stake Saturday. Even though the Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3 ACC Coastal Division) are now ineligible for the ACC Championship Game, they still can tie for the Coastal crown if they defeat the Blue Devils.
Golden also says the makeup of this seasons team is different. He pointed to the Hurricanes last year being a senior-heavy outfit while theyre now much younger.
I think the antithesis is true this year, Golden said. The majority of your team is saying, Its forward thinking. Its not the culmination But the challenge for our team, how were going to be defined, is by how we respond to this and the first test in that is Saturday against Duke. And we can say whatever we want. We can say, We have a great attitude, were working hard and were focused in. But the test is Saturday.
Yes, it is. So it might not matter much what the Hurricanes are saying now.
Senior cornerback Brandon McGee said Miami administrators, coaches and sports-information officials have cautioned players against not saying anything negative about Miamis self-imposed bowl band. Therefore, it was no surprise all the players made available to the media Tuesday were emphasizing the positive.
Truth be told, thats what everybody really would think from the outside looking in, McGee said about whether it will be difficult for the Hurricanes to get up for Saturdays game. You would think, how do you motivate yourself playing a game just after you got your bowl game taken away? But we look at it just like that, its our bowl game, its our last game. I think these guys really want to go out and send the seniors out on the right note.
If the Hurricanes win Saturday, Golden doesnt know yet if they officially can call themselves Coastal co-champs and hang a banner or display a trophy. But he is using getting a piece of the title as a way to help motivate the team for Saturday.
Were going to come out pumped up, said sophomore wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, whose Hurricanes, with a win, would have the same Coastal record as title-game-bound Georgia Tech and perhaps also as bowl-ineligible North Carolina, which is 4-3 with a game left against North Carolina State. Were not going to hold anything back. If we go out and win, everybody will know whos at the top of the Coastal.
Everybody also would know that the Hurricanes, who have a win over Georgia Tech, would then have given up a berth in the ACC title game against Florida State with the Orange Bowl on the line. There was not a strong chance of Miami getting into a BCS bowl, but now theres no chance.
Miamis decision to self-impose was much tougher this time than it was last year, when it was known the Hurricanes couldnt do better than a minor bowl. But school officials are continuing to try to lesson anticipated NCAA sanctions for rogue booster Nevin Shapiro allegedly having spent years before Goldens December 2010 arrival providing illegal benefits to Miami players.
If the administration has been talking to the NCAA and getting feedback from the NCAA about what if were going to ban ourselves, then I totally agree with the decision, said Randal Hill, a former Miami star receiver. But if the school hasnt been talking to the NCAA and theyre just doing this, then I dont agree. Because the NCAA could come back and do whatever they want and not care that you self-imposed.
Miami officials have declined to offer specifics on their dealings with the NCAA. Until the NCAA finally makes a ruling on the Hurricanes, the program is going to face uncertainty.
There was a cloud over last season and theres a cloud over this season, said Lamar Thomas, a former Hurricanes star receiver and radio and television analyst. So it makes for a very unhappy environment until you know that you can put it all behind you It was a very tough decision to give up a chance at the ACC championship, but I guess for the betterment of the program, you want to try to lessen the blow.
Miami players didnt have much to say Tuesday when asked if pulling out of another bowl could significantly hurt recruiting. Hill said it will from the standpoint of other schools using what Miami did against the Hurricanes.
Theres still one thing the Hurricanes can do to at least somewhat salvage the season. They can defeat Duke in their version of a bowl game.
But if that happens, it remains to be seen if the Hurricanes will have a banner or a trophy to show visiting recruits.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson