Unfortunate End to a Great Run

I have found it hard to watch replays, read the paper, even check out the internet since the game that Terry took away. I have replayed the game in my mind so many times, I just need to close my eyes, and I see the worst call in my time as a ‘Canes fan, rivaling only the call made against the ‘Canes in South Bend when Cleveland Gary supposedly fumbled at the one-yard line, arguably costing us a National Title.

But what made this even more difficult to swallow was the delay in making the call.

I was watching the play from the 10 yard line on the same side of the field. I was facing the referee who was closest to the play. As I saw the ball go up, I held my breath. The ball dropped, I saw the referee closest to the play waive the pass incomplete. The fireworks started, the team rushed the field. But I was watching the end zone, not quite convinced that the game was over. I don't know why, but I had a feeling. One-one-thousand, no flag, two-one-thousand, no flag, three-one-thousand, no flag, we are safe now right? Four-one-thousand, flag!

My first problem with the Phantom P.I. was the fact that the referee closest to the play immediately waived the pass incomplete, and Terry Porter, Big XII referee, standing on the end-line took it upon himself to make the biggest call of the game. The only way you make that call is if you are absolutely certain that you are making the right one. Terry Porter may say that he was replaying the play in his mind to make sure that he was making the right call, but I for one don't buy that for a minute.

He waited four seconds, an eternity. He let the celebration begin, and then with one tossing of a yellow rag, he gave the Buckeyes new life and punched the ‘Canes in the stomach. Had Terry Porter thrown the flag right away, Miami would not have celebrated, and thus would have escaped the emotional roller coaster Terry Porter put them through in the biggest game of their lives.

People can say that Miami did it to themselves by giving up five turnovers. They can say the offensive line was dominated by Ohio State. Fact of the matter is that even with five turnovers and total and utter domination up front, Miami had fought is way back into contention. The score was tied at the end of regulation. It was Miami's game to win, and they did. The consensus all around the country, except for the State of Ohio, is that Miami's back-to-back Championship was robbed from them by a inept, under qualified referee who had no business being on that field.

At the end of the game, I congratulated Ohio State for winning the game. I was sure that I would find some plausible rational for the call that was made. There was no way a bad call would be made. Maybe it was just late. But then, I saw the play on tape. From the first time I saw the replay, I realized Ohio State deserves only credit for hanging with the ‘Canes through regulation. The game was over in the first overtime. Their title will forever be tainted with the stink of Terry Porter's Phantom P.I. They will forever be required to justify their "victory."

The thought of Ohio State fans wearing 2002 Championship gear sickens me. The thought of Terry Porter sickens me. A 34 game winning streak, an opportunity for back-to-back championships, ruined by Phantom P.I. Had Todd Sievers missed the game tying field goal, I could have accepted the loss, because a player had control of that situation. Losing a game following what was clearly a horrible call, that is a different story, especially after mounting a such an impressive comeback to force overtime.

What is clear now is that the only remedy for this ailment, this affliction brought on by the scourge all ‘Canes fans will remember as Terry Porter is another successful run at the National Title. Miami is not a flash in the pan, like I suspect Ohio State will be. Before probation, Miami was a perennial contender for the National Title. As soon as the harmful effect of probation ended, Miami has again regained, and even improved its position in the world of college football. We will not rebuild, we will reload. We will remember the likes of Terry Porter and his Phantom P.I. We will remember the throat-slash. We will remember Ohio State's celebration after receiving what was ours. We will be playing in New Orleans come January 3, 2004!

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