It's still hard for Riptide to talk about, but Saturday's dismantling of the Miami Hurricanes by the Florida State Seminoles was one of the most demoralizing things we've ever had to watch. Before that the 'Canes were sitting as the highest ranked team in Florida and a universal favorite to win the ACC. Now they're unranked, and right on cue the seemingly annual chorus of naysayers gunning for coach Randy Shannon's termination has started up.
Just minutes after time ran out and Jimbo Fisher and the 'Noles sealed their 45-17 win over Shannon's Canes, The Palm Beach Post already had a story up questioning Shannon's future with the team.
"Randy's got another game next week at Duke. He'll work like crazy to win it, but he's in survival mode now," wrote Dave George.
"The frantic and promising push to get Miami back into the top 10 is over for another year. Now it's up to Shannon to keep his kids together for one more try in 2011."
"The way things are going, it may just be his last try, too."
ESPN seems to agree, and a quick look at Twitter blather and comment section craziness seems to indicate more than a few fans are on board.
Shannon did sign a four-year contract extension in May, and he'd take a hefty pay out if he was dismissed early.
Shannon is also one of, if not the most high profile African American head coaches in College football history, and his firing would be a step backward for the game. Some misguided commenters seem to think that's the only reason he's held on to his job as long as he has. It's not.
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Despite nominal success on the field -- no bowl win, no conference or divisional titles -- UM's administration loves Shannon because of his success off the field. He's kept the team in line, guided them towards awards for academic excellence, and has only seen one of his players arrested.
The head honchos at UM are still hypersensitive about erasing the image of the Thug U days, and Shannon has done that admirably. Though, if the 'Canes really want to do away with that image than they need to match the teams of the '80s success on field with the current team's success off field.
Shannon will likely get another shot after this year. In fact, he can still salvage this year. Winning the Coastal division is still a big possibility. That could set up a redemptive rematch against the 'Noles in the ACC title game. Though, ice cold Shannon needs to implant a lot more passion in his team to make that a reality.
We'll give Shannon another season, but if January 2012 rolls around and the 'Canes haven't added any new trophies to their increasingly dusty case it may just be time to go searching for a new head coach.