Last week, I was sitting back on my couch flipping the channels when I came across the ESPN 30 for 30: The U, Part 2. It's the second part about the story of the Miami Hurricanes, one that begins after the program started going belly up from living on the edge as a bunch of renegades, and it details their rise back to prominence.
In 2000, Miami was back. Butch Davis survived the calls for his head on South Beach after he put together a roster of hard-working, ultra-talented football players. Surviving sanctions from an era that wasn't his, the Canes destroyed teams that season en route to the Big East championship.
Having lost only to #15 Washington back in September, Miami went on a tear, winning out in hopes of going to the national championship game in the eyes of the BCS computers. They destroyed Rutgers, 64-6, before beating #1-ranked Florida State at the Orange Bowl on Wide Right III, 27-24. They scored 40-plus points in their next three games, including a 41-21 win as the #3 team in the nation over second-ranked Virginia Tech. After beating Syracuse, 26-0, Miami needed to only close out Boston College with a statement win in order to get into the BCS Championship game, or so they thought.
BC entered that game on Thanksgiving weekend at 6-4 after having lost at Notre Dame Stadium the prior week, 28-16. The Eagles were a scrappy team, headed to a marquee middle tier bowl game but with the potential to make some noise against the Canes if they played their cards right. It was the start of the Tom O'Brien era as we came to know it - wins over Syracuse, Rutgers, and Temple with losses to Virginia Tech and West Virginia along with, shockingly, Pittsburgh.
The 2000 Canes were loaded to the gills with pro talent - Clinton Portis and Najeh Davenport were backup running backs to James Jackson. Ken Dorsey threw five touchdowns for every interception he tossed, and he had Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, and a young Jeremy Shockey catching passes. Boston College, meanwhile, had Tim Hasselbeck handing off to William Green with Cedric Washington and Derrick Knight backing him up. Dedrick Dewalt led an unheralded receiving corps that utilized a number of players like Jamal Burke, Dujuan Daniels, and tight end Ryan Read.
BC had a chance, even though their defense stood suspect in certain areas (namely against the run). Then, the game kicked off.
Miami did unholy things to the Eagles down in the Orange Bowl, amassing just under 500 yards, including 244 via the rush. What was notable about the performance was that not a single Hurricane running back gained more than 66 yards, and they didn't score a touchdown on the ground. But Dorsey threw for five TD's with only 255 yards, including two to Moss and one apiece to Jackson, Wayne, and Shockey.
Hasselbeck, meanwhile, threw for only 120 yards and a pick, while Washington and Green did the bulk of the work via the ground. Washington fell just short of 100 yards, and Green picked up the only Eagle touchdown with 78 extra yards.
Miami 52. BC 6.
This was a bad day for the Eagles, but it was something that ultimately sent them packing to Hawaii for the Aloha Bowl, where they defeated Arizona State. It did set up a titan style matchup the next year, where BC, undaunted, nearly defeated the Hurricanes before Brian St. Pierre threw that interception I still haven't forgiven him for.
So while we take a trip back to a very, very bad day today, we remind ourselves that BC always rebounds and boy, was that Canes team good even though they got hosed out of the national title game by the computers.