The Miami Hurricanes aren't quite bowl eligible just yet, but last night they shook off a three-game losing streak and delivered an epic 30-12 smackdown to the Virginia Tech Hokies. The worst of their schedule is behind them (including loses to three teams in currently in the BCS top 10), and the Canes are now the strong favorites to win the ACC Coastal Division for the first time ever.
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There's just one hitch: those looming NCAA sanctions. So, should the Canes sit out the bowl games like they did last year, or forge ahead?
The rest of the Hurricanes schedule is almost a cake walk. Next week they visit 2-6 Virginia. Then it's off to an out-of-conference game against USF who haven't won a game since week two. They end the season at the surprisingly resurgent, but still beatable Duke. There's a very strong chance the team will end the season 8-4, and find themselves awarded the Coastal Division title.
So what should the team do?
Sit Out The Bowl Game, and the possible ACC Championship Game:
It's hard to imagine that whatever punishment does eventually come down wouldn't include a multi-year bowl ban. It's better to get it out of the way now when the team is young and promising but ultimately mediocre at best. It's not worth risking a possible bowl ban when the current group of freshmen and sophomores are upperclassmen.
Go to any Bowl:
It's not the 'Canes fault the NCAA is taking so long, and it's certainly not fair to punish coaches and players who have zero connection to the misdeeds that took place. No one even knows what the NCAA has confirmed anyway.
Go to the ACC game and only accept a bowl invite if it's the Orange Bowl:
It's hard to gauge exactly how the NCAA would take the idea of the team going to the ACC title game, losing, and then deciding to sit out a Bowl Game. But, come on, if the team does manage to win the Coastal Division they at least have to go to Jacksonville, right? Especially considering they'd likely be playing in a rematch against FSU. ACC officials (not to mention ESPN execs) have been dreaming of the day Miami and FSU meet in the ACC title game since the day it was first announced. And, hey, if the 'Canes somehow do manage to pull of the upset, who are they to say no to the Orange Bowl invite?