Could be Worse - A LOT Worse

If you missed the ending of the Miami-West Virginia contest and simply read the message boards regarding the game, you might have come to a shocking conclusion later in the day – the Canes did actually beat the Mountaineers.

But you wouldn't know it by the Net. Posters called-out players, coaches, and play-calling alike, almost invoking the old "sky-is-falling" feeling around our favorite home on the web, grassy.com. It was the reaction to a loss rather than a win.

If some of the fans who spewed bulky amounts of negativity after UM's 29th consecutive win were really embarrassed by the Canes' play in Morgantown, they should stop and think about what it would have been like to cheer for some of the other teams who hit the gridiron on Saturday. Imagine waking up on Sunday and being a fan of:

Florida State – You're shaking your head in disbelief because your team just played in front of its largest crowd, a national audience, and a host of blue-chip recruits, only to tank it against a team in a transitional period with a new coach and sporting a high school offense. The fallout of this disastrous defeat? Your coach makes his second stupid current events comment in three months, comparing Notre Dame to a serial killer. Numerous team arguments arise, and those last two TDs may have made the score more palatable, but it also creates a quarterback controversy in the process.

Greg Jones' Heisman bid? Gone. A chance to build on the UM game and prove to a national audience that it was no fluke? Gone. An opportunity to prove your team wasn't in complete disarray? Gone. Chris Rix? Likely gone – to another school, if many of the Nole fans had their way.

Oh and yes, you did actually lose to Louisville.

Tennessee – A prime-time showdown against a bitter rival goes wrong from the beginning, as your star receiver – and documented head case with a concussion – doesn't suit up and your team promptly gets demolished by a Bama team on probation. And if 4-3 and a being trounced in your own backyard aren't bad enough, the defending national champion Hurricanes will roll into Knoxville with an 8-0 record and a No. 1 ranking. Another home blowout – the third loss of the season in Neyland Stadium – and being banished into the "Others Receiving Votes" category of the polls? You must be dreaming, right?

Florida – You're actually thrilled to death because you played "Bye" this week, preventing your preseason top-5 squad from slipping to 5-4. That's on the horizon, though, because the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs are up next, and they're anticipating applying a butt-kicking of monumental proportions. Of Spurrieresque proportions. Like FSU, your team appears to be a ship without a competent captain, kind of like Joseph Hazelwood stumbling around the deck of the Exxon Valdez. And also like FSU, one of the two teams, in a best-case scenario, will finish with at least four losses.

Other teams around the country are reeling – Nebraska, Michigan State, and Washington, to name a few – but one fact remains: Complain all you want, but it has never, ever been better to be a Miami Hurricane, especially if put into the proper perspective of the current college football environment.

We're still at the top, people, so enjoy the ride.

Bill Whitehead is a sportswriter and columnist with Scripps-Howard News Service.

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