With a deep freshman recruiting class, a young and menacing defense and the quarterback of the future in place now, the Miami Hurricanes are on their way toward regaining their football swagger. Still, each time The U has taken the field this fall, a sentimental cringe has swept across South Florida as the Hurricane faithful mourned.
You see, after 70 years as the Hurricanes' home base, the Orange Bowl took a wrecking ball to the heart this summer. Sure, it was a business decision. There's a hunger to revamp facilities and increase revenue. But that doesn't change the fact that it's gone. Nothing more than ashes and memories.
On Saturday, I took my seat at the Canes' new home and watched Florida State escape a last-minute Miami surge to win 41-39 at Dolphin Stadium. As I struggled to walk down the aisle with rain goblets in my eyes, I overheard one Miami fan say, "I hope Dolphin Stadium hasn't cursed us."
I, too, felt the Canes boat had been rocked and flipped. I thought back to the better days. Days of victory. Days in the Orange Bowl.
Inspired by my memories, I put pen to paper and crafted an ode to properly eulogize our once-great stadium.
Little Havana now desolate without its most famous domino,
As Miami's historic game piece has been smashed apart to rubble.
For 70 years Hurricanes' fans flocked to the Orange Bowl to witness virtuosos,
Even with the Boston College miracle or Florida International scuffle,
The chant of C-A-N-E-S remained a timeless trademark within the U-shaped vicinity.
Jim Kelly to Vinny Testaverde to Ken Dorsey made "Quarterback U,"
Warren Sapp to Ray Lewis to Sean Taylor made "The U's" greatest hits soundtrack,
Wide left, wide right, wide left added pizzazz to the gridiron glitterati,
In the end five national titles and the most NCAA graduates making the pro move.
Now Dolphin Stadium beckons the Canes orange and green pack.
20 years ago it was the other way around,
The Canes were the Orange Bowl host and let the Dolphins in with their cleats.
Sure 1972 was sweet for the undefeated 'Fins around town,
But from 1985 to 1994, Miami maintained a record 58-game home winning streak.
How the Hurricanes entered every game left everyone smitten,
Through a cloud of smoke, the structural steel of the stadium rattled like a noisy tantrum,
Set against a tropical backdrop of Miami's skyline and palm trees green.
The Orange Bowl never was known for its suite additions,
Paint peeling away like a Sunshine State orange and rust running rampant,
But the Hurricanes' success elevated the prestige of its aged coliseum.