Saturday night, the Miami Hurricanes play a football game at Hard Rock Stadium. In a vacuum, this is not a sentence that is all that exciting. When this is a thing that is happening this Saturday, December 30, it's a big deal.
Yup, it's happening this weekend, in 2017.
The tenth-ranked Hurricanes (10-2) will take on the sixth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (12-1) at Hard Rock Stadium this weekend in a little game some people are referring to as the "Orange Bowl."
Maybe you've heard of it.
The Canes' appearance in the prestigious pseudo-home bowl game is their first since they beat Florida State 16-14 in 2004. Since then, the Canes haven't exactly sniffed the finest bowls that college football has to offer. They haven't fared too well in the bowls they have appeared in since then either, going 3-7 in their ten postseason appearances.
But that was then.
To put into perspective just how awesome this season has been for Miami, think about this: The Canes making an appearance in the Orange Bowl is a letdown. Ain't that some shit?
Being the ACC's representative in the Orange Bowl would have seemed like the prize just a few short months ago. Then came the turnover chain and wins over FSU, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame. And in all, ten straight wins started the season.
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Suddenly, just being in the Orange Bowl wasn't enough. Canes fans had hopes of seeing their team in the college football playoffs.
Unfortunately, the Hurricanes played 12 games this season and the final two didn't go their way. So now they settle for just an appearance against the sixth-ranked team in the nation in one of the most storied football games in the history of college football.
To say the Canes have come a long way since Al Golden was fired and Mark Richt was hired two seasons ago would be an enormous understatement. But that's not the bar the Canes set. Their bar is national championships. Their bar isn't the Orange Bowl unless the Orange Bowl is also where the national championship game is happening.
The Hurricanes somehow exceeded and fell short of expectations this season. What a ride it's been. Saturday night is just the icing on the cake.