Senior Day at the Orange Bowl

Tomorrow when the clock strikes one o'clock in the afternoon, 10 seniors will take the field for their final time when Miami welcomes Virginia Tech into the Orange Bowl.

With so much at stake, one might forget that it's also Senior Day for these 10 players who have given their hearts and souls to this program, the university and the South Florida community.

They have bled, they have sweat, and they have worked themselves into a mess to bring the fans the best football that anyone could possibly ask for.

This senior class is currently 43-5 at Miami and could end their careers with a 45-5 record with wins over Virginia Tech and in the bowl game that will follow.

With a win tomorrow, they will have played in every BCS bowl game starting with the Rose Bowl as freshmen or redshirt freshmen when MIami won its fifth national championship, followed by a berth in the Fiesta Bowl and last year in the Orange Bowl.

This year's team could get a trip back to Bourbon Street and the Sugar Bowl where the ‘Canes won their first BCS game with a 37-20 whipping of the state-rival Florida Gators.

For these young men that include the likes of Chris Myers who is through and through the truest Hurricane one can even think of as he knew he would be playing for this powerhouse program when he was just a little kid to Brock Berlin who made a pit stop in Gainesville before realizing that Coral Gables was where he belonged. Home-grown Antrel Rolle will be named to virtually every All-American team there is and possibly finally win Miami a Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's top defensive back that has been robbed from Edward Reed and Sean Taylor in the past few years, their final game in the Orange Bowl will be a memorable one even more so with how much is riding on the game

"It's the last game in the Orange Bowl for the seniors," Myers said. "We win we go to a BCS bowl. If we don't, we go to a sorry bowl."

The emotions will be running high for these seniors, but there is much more at stake. Winning will give the Hurricanes a 9-2 record and clinch them a tie for the ACC championship with Virginia Tech, but by way of winning head-to-head and having a higher ranking, the ‘Canes will get the conference's BCS berth in just their first year in the ACC.

Still, Myers will feel it.

"I probably won't know what I'll feel like until I am driving up there and then I get to walk out and see my family on the field, but it's going to be sadness--a bittersweet type thing, "Myers said. "You're going in wanting to get that BCS game that's one side and you're going in knowing it's your last game ever in the Orange Bowl and you are never going to get a chance to play there again. At the end of the game me and some of the other seniors like Joel Rodriguez will go lay down on the 50-yard line still in our pads and never let it go."

His quarterback, Berlin, is one who also recognizes that it will be his last time donning the orange and green on the home turf.

The native of Shreveport, Lousiana, who left high school as the number one player in America originally signed with the Florida Gators, but after two unsuccessful years behind Rex Grossman, Berlin made the move to Coral Gables, and although he has heard boos at times from the fans, he's been hearing the cheers of late with the spectacular senior year he's had having thrown for 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

"It's going to be for me and all the other seniors," Berlin said. "It's been a special experience playing here and playing in the Orange Bowl. Obviously, knowing it's the last game you'll play at home will be emotional. But it's still a big game and we can celebrate after the game."

Coming off of a 52-7 trouncing of Wake Forest two Saturday's ago, it will be on Berlin to lead his squad to victory as he has done 18 times already as quarterback at Miami.

"We want to pick up where we left off against Wake Forest," Berlin said. "It's a big game for us and them too. You couldn't ask for any better of a deal with two Big East teams coming into the conference and playing each other for the ACC championship."

And after feeling the brunt of a Virginia Tech 31-7 pasting in Blacksburg last year, nothing will be sweeter than to hand the Techsters their hind parts tomorrow.

"We remember last year very clearly and how it felt walking off the field," Berlin said. "We don't want that feeling again. In reality, it is just another game, but one with a lot on the line."

Especially for the 10 seniors who want to go out in style.

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