If you told Miami Hurricanes fans in July their team would go 10-2 and play in the Orange Bowl, people would have wondered what was in the oil in your vape pen. Sure, there were high hopes for the Canes coming into this season, but that sort of success seemed at least a year away.
Mark Richt and his staff definitely have the Canes ahead of schedule on their journey back to college football dominance. It's been an incredible ride for the Hurricanes this season. So many amazing things have turned out well for them, and things will likely continue to improve as Richt cleanses the team of its recent past.
These are the best things to come out of an amazing Miami Hurricanes football season.
1. The invention of the turnover chain took over college football. So simple yet so ingenious. Everything about the turnover chain is perfect. The gaudiness. The oversize U logo. The individuality
The Hurricanes have forced 30 turnovers this season. It might sound weird to say out loud, but this beautiful piece of ridiculous jewelry should get credit for half of those turnovers. It's been years since Canes players flew around on defense like they have this season, and much of the credit goes to that rare in-game, individual award.
The greatest part of the turnover chain isn't anything that happened on the field in 2017, though; it will be what happens on the field in 2018 and beyond. You can guarantee the Hurricanes will pick up a slew of top recruits simply because they want to wear the turnover chain.
2. The Hurricanes have a major home-field advantage again. Since the Orange Bowl was demolished and turned into a baseball park that people see only on TV, Miami has longed for a home-field advantage. It wasn't that fans stopped going to games (they didn't, really), but Dolphin Stadium was a dead fish when it came to college atmosphere.
Then Dolphins owner Stephen Ross dumped a truck full of money into making the stadium a less shitty place to watch a football game, the Hurricanes got good at football again, and suddenly Miami has a home-field advantage again. Now Hurricanes fans have a taste of what football can be at Hard Rock when they show up and get loud. That should last quite a while as long as the Canes keep their part of the bargain.
3. Miami was up while Florida State and Florida were down. It's good to be good, but it's even better to be good when other people are bad. It makes you look even better. For recruits considering UF, FSU, and UM, Miami has to look like the right move now.
For years, UF was where it was at. Recently, FSU was the go-to place if players wanted to end up in the NFL. Right now, UM is the best environment to succeed. For kids choosing a school, it's all about right now. Miami couldn't sell kids on its past anymore. They didn't care.
Now that UF and FSU are basically starting over with new coaches, Miami is the place to hit the ground running for recruits. That'll show up on the field over the next five years.
4. Mark Richt forever changed your sandwich game. Enough with the putting Miami back on the college football map: Let's talk about how Mark Richt made a plain old PB&J great again. Scratch that: Richt straight-up brought sandwiches back. They had left, but they are back because of him. Looking back, we all should have known Miami would dominate this season based
Appearing on ESPN before the Hurricanes season got underway, Richt explained how he attacks a sandwich in a particular way that we didn't know we needed until we saw it with our own eyes. His X's and O's approach to sandwich cutting makes every bite an elite one. The above video should be taught in third grade.
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5. The U got its swagger back. When you throw every positive thing that came out of the Hurricanes' 2017 season on the pile, it's rather impressive. The Canes are back in the national championship discussion, they have a home-field advantage again, they invented the single greatest gimmick in college football history, and they fixed sandwiches forever. Pretty badass.
All of that is secondary to one amazing thing to come out of the Canes' 2017 season, though: Fans and, more important, the University of Miami, got their swagger back. There is no denying it. Log on Twitter, dammit. You can't tell Hurricanes fans shit right now.
Just like the good old days.