Miami Ends Disappointing Season
Nov. 30, 1997
MIAMI (AP) _ During the past decade, talk about the future of Miami football in November has mostly meant December and January. As in bowl games.
But in the ruins of a 5-6 season, their worst since 1979, the Hurricanes are talking of a distant future, of rebuilding a once powerful program into a respectable one.
``The task begins Monday to rebuild this program,'' Miami coach Butch Davis said after the Hurricanes' 33-13 loss to Syracuse Saturday. ``I'm eager for Monday to come so I can start convincing kids this is where they want to be, because this is where the national championship is going to be won before they leave.''
For Syracuse, which became the first Big East school besides Miami to win an outright conference title with the win, talk of the future this season centers around an alliance bowl bid.
``This is why I came to Syracuse, to play in the big game,'' said quarterback Donovan McNabb, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the Orangemen's victory over a team that had beaten them six straight times. ``We won this game and now we are going to an alliance bowl.''
Two Fiesta Bowl representatives watched the game in the Orange Bowl and that bowl is likely what looms in the future for the Orangemen. ``We're going to Tempe,'' McNabb said, after rushing for 100 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown.
In the other locker room, Miami players who will return could only think of next year.
Except for three probation years, the Hurricanes have been to a bowl game every year since 1979, but won't play in the postseason this season.
``I feel good about the future of this team,'' Miami senior quarterback Ryan Clement said. ``This may be the best young talent anywhere in the country in this locker room.''
Miami also can be optimistic because NCAA sanctions that limited their recruiting are now over. Davis can recruit a full group of players this offseason _ 25.
The Miami team that was so badly beaten by Syracuse was a depleted squad, thinned by injuries in addition to the recruiting limitations.
To Syracuse, Clement said: ``Good job guys, you beat the team that had 50 players eligible. I just wish I could be here next year to give it back to them.''
While this Miami team might have been the worst since the 1970s, it's also been the most handicapped starting out, Davis said.
``The record may show they didn't have a winning season, but I don't think there's been a team at the University of Miami since the mid-70s that has had to face as many adversities, as many shortcomings and as many obstacles as this team,'' Davis said.
``With the younger players and the talent that's already here, it's not going to be too far in the future.''