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Strong Finish Should Enhance Bowl Status for Miami Hurricanes

Photo: Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire

The official announcements will be made on Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped many from making their bowl projections. The Miami Hurricanes (8-4) improved their position, it would seem, with a very impressive finish to an incredibly trying and mentally exhausting season.

Winners in four of their last five games, the ”Canes should be in pretty good shape when the bowl invitations are handed out.

Prognosticators are all over the map when it comes to Miami’s ultimate destination. Over at ESPN, Mark Schlabach has the ‘Canes in a very interesting matchup with SEC foe Georgia in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Dec. 30. It’s interesting for a couple of reasons; not the least of which it pits the ‘Canes against a prestigious SEC opponent.

Georgia is a perennial power in the conference, although you wouldn’t know it by the fact that it fired (or did he resign?) head coach Mark Richt. And the plot thickens. Miami is currently looking for a new head coach and the recently unattached Richt once played for the Miami Hurricanes way back in the day.

A quarterback for the ‘Canes from 1978, 1980-82, Richt appeared in all 11 games each season. He was most prominent in 1982 when he completed 71-of-149 passes for 838 yards and four touchdowns. For his career at Miami, Richt threw for 1,431 yards and nine touchdowns, completing 103-of-229 passes with 17 interceptions.

It is reported that Richt will coach Georgia in whatever bowl game it winds up playing.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy predicts that the ‘Canes will go west to El Paso, TX., and play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 26, against Utah. But the ‘Canes last played there in 2010, a 33-17 loss to Notre Dame, and some feel that accepting a bowl invitational to that destination would be a step backward in time.

Interestingly enough, two different sources have Miami playing in the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fl., on Jan. 2. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm places the ‘Canes there to face a different SEC foe in Mississippi State. The Bulldogs also finished 8-4 in the highly competitive SEC West and played in the Orange Bowl this past season. It would be a game certain to draw attention with the quarterback battle between the ‘Canes’ Brad Kaaya and Bulldogs’ Dak Prescott.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Brant Parsons also predicts that Miami will go bowling in Jacksonville. However, he pits the ‘Canes with SEC West power LSU. This, too, would make for an interesting game with early-season Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette giving Miami defense something to think about.

‘Canes fans will remember the last time these two teams met in a bowl game. It started a slide for Miami in the postseason. The ‘Canes had won seven of their last nine bowl appearances before a 40-3 drubbing at the hands of the Tigers in the 2005 Peach Bowl.

Starting with that game Miami has been on the losing end in five of its last six bowl appearances, including the last four. The last time the ‘Canes won a bowl game was the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl, a 21-20 victory over Nevada.

The Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium, on Dec. 26, could also be a possible destination for Miami. That game matches an ACC team with a Big Ten squad.

The potential is there for an intriguing bowl game. And though much of the attention surrounding the ‘Canes camp is on the hiring of their next head coach, which could be announced as early as Tuesday, the attention is a nice reward for a gutsy finish.

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