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The last time the Miami Hurricanes won the national championship…

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A year after having the BCS formula go against them, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes were on a mission to leave no doubt who the best team in college football was early in the 21st century. Arguably one of the most dominant teams in college football history, Miami set the tone for a season of dominance right from the start of the season and was barely given a fight all season long en route to the BCS national championship. It would be the last national title for the Miami program before some significant changes took place for the program and the sport as a whole.

Butch Davis had capitalized on Miami’s 11-1 season the year before by accepting a job offer from the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Staying behind to guide the ship in Miami was Larry Coker, who had been promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach. Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano also left the Hurricanes to take over as head coach at Rutgers. Randy Shannon took over as defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes, with Rob Chudzinski taking on the role of offensive coordinator. It didn’t matter how many changes were made on the staff, because the roster was loaded with NFL-quality talent with players like Ed Reed, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, and Jonathan Vilma. The talent Miami had on the roster was unmatched, and the motivation after feeling burned by the BCS computers the year before was a recipe for mayhem.

Miami opened the season with a dominating victory at Penn State to hand the Nittany Lions their worst home loss under Joe Paterno, and Miami kept on rolling against Big East opponents Rutgers and Pittsburgh before handling Troy State at home. Miami then scored a lopsided victory in Tallahassee against No. 13 Florida State. Although Miami topped top-ranked FSU the previous season, it was Florida State that went on to play for the national title (and lose to Oklahoma). Miami kept their foot on the ga son offense and defense the rest of the year with blowout victories over Big East foes like West Virginia, Boston College and No. 15 Syracuse. A late November romp of No. 11 Washington put Miami one victory away from delivering on the mission of an undefeated season. They got it done with a regular season finale at No. 14 Virginia Tech, with the Hokies giving Miami its closest game all season long, a 26-24 victory for the Canes.

The Rose Bowl was the scene for the BCS National Championship Game, where Miami was opposed by Nebraska and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch. But the Huskers were not up to the challenge, which had been feared after the BCS computers managed to find room for Nebraska in the championship game despite losing their final game of the regular season to Colorado by a score of 62-36 (Colorado went on to play for and won the Big 12 championship game. Colorado also faced the No. 2 team in the AP and coaches poll, Oregon). The reality is it may not have mattered if Miami played Nebraska, Colorado, AND Oregon all at once because this Canes team probably would have won anyway.

But this was Miami’s last national championship victory, and the quest for another national title in Miami continues with the dawn of a new era under Manny Diaz. Let’s look back to see what else was going on in 2001.

Last National Championship Season: 2001 (18 years and counting)

Who was President?

George W. Bush was in his first year in the White House after coming out on top of the 2000 election. It just so happened his father, George H. W. Bush, was in his first year as president the previous time Miami had been a national champion in 1989 (or 1991 if you want to count the AP national title; Washington won the coaches poll).

The current president, Donald J. Trump, was officially a Democrat after switching from the Reform party in 2001. The construction of Trump World Tower was completed that same year.

What was on TV?

America was in love with “Friends,” which was taking the top spot of the TV ratings in its eighth season on NBC. This was the season when Rachel had a baby and is regarded by some as the best season in the series. The year of television was also highlighted by Regis Philbin getting a new co-host on “Live!”, which ended up being Kelly Ripa, who still hosts the morning talk show to this day.

The world becomes familiar with C.T.U. agent Jack Bauer, played by Kieffer Sutherland, in the debut season of “24.” And for the first time ever, HBO took viewers behind the scenes of an NFL training camp with the debut of Hard Knocks.” The Baltimore Ravens, fresh off their Super Bowl victory from the season before, were the featured team with a quarterback battle between Randall Cunningham and Elvis Grbac among the storylines worth following.

What movies were hot?

The first Harry Potter movie made its debut on the big screen in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone leading the way at the box office. The first film adaptation of the Harry Potter series of books blocked another film adaptation of a fantasy novel series from the top spot by keeping The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at No. 2. Animated monsters of different varieties were also raking in ticket sales with the release of Monsters, Inc., and Shrek.

Another long-standing film franchise made its debut as well with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker starring in The Fast and the Furious. The meaning of family was never the same again, and little did anyone know what a smash success the franchise would become.

The award-winning A Beautiful Mind included an award-winning performance from Russell Crowe and led to awards for director Ron Howard.

Who was on the cover of NCAA Football?

As fate would have it, it was a player from a bitter Miami rival that appeared on the cover of the NCAA Football franchise in 2001. Former Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke was featured on the cover of the game, which brought the video game franchise to the Sony PlayStation 2 for the first time.

Weinke and the Seminoles played for the national championship the previous season and lost to Oklahoma in the national championship game (which is currently Oklahoma’s most recent national title). This, of course, is part of the Miami storyline for the 2001 season.

It is also worth mentioning there was actually another NCAA football video game option in 2001. SEGA’s NCAA College Football 2k2: Road to the Rose Bowl was exclusive to the SEGA Dreamcast. It featured former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees on the cover.

What else happened in 2001?

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States by hijacking airline jets and crashing them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. A fourth jet was brought down in Pennsylvania. The entire sports world hit pause that week as both Major League Baseball and the NFL closed their leagues for a week in the aftermath of the biggest terrorist attack on American soil.

College football schedules were also put on hold for the most part as games were wiped off the Week 2 schedule and rescheduled for later in the season as much as possible.

A backup quarterback takes over the job for an injured Drew Bledsoe with the New England Patriots and leads the team to its first Super Bowl championship. That man is former Michigan seventh-round draft pick Tom Brady. Brady wins his first game as a starting quarterback that season after an 0-2 start to the year by topping Peyton Manning and the Colts. They would go on to have a storied rivalry in the years to come.

The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first World Series by defeating the New York Yankees in an epic seven-game series. Ichiro Suzuki made his MLB debut after coming over from Japan. He wins both the AL Rookie of the Year and the AL MVP.

Allen Iverson stepped over Tyron Lue in an overtime series-opening win against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, but Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal win their second straight NBA title with a 4-1 series victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

While there may be some at NBC who wish I didn’t remind them about this, the XFL was a thing that existed.

Tiger Woods became the first golfer to hold four major championship titles at the same time after adding the Masters to his collection.

The Associated Press named Barry Bonds Male Athlete of the Year. Wonder if they’d like a do-over on that one.

Current Miami head coach Manny Diaz was a graduate assistant at NC State. Nick Saban was in his second season at LSU, and Dabo Swinney was sitting out the 2001 season while receiving contractual payments from his previous employer, Alabama, after the school fired the entire coaching staff under former Tide head coach Mike DuBose.

Miami Heat legend (and recently retired) Dwayne Wade had yet to be drafted by the Heat. That would happen two years later.

When will The U actually be back?

After winning it all in 2001, Miami played two more seasons in the Big East. The conference was about to lose its biggest names as confe3rence realignment started to tremble. Miami and Virginia Tech left for the ACC after the 2003 season. Boston College followed a year later. Years later the ACC would welcome Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse and the Big East lost West Virginia (Big 12) and Rutgers (Big Ten). But Miami was thought to bring some football balance to the conference after years of domination by Florida State. Little did anyone know that it would not be until the 2017 season when Miami would finally get a chance to play in the ACC Championship Game.

The Mark Richt era was thought early on to be what would help get Miami back to being a national title contender given his previous success at Georgia (without ever playing for a national title), and for one brief season, it appeared to be on track for that. But an abrupt retirement by Richt after a disappointing season leaves Miami still trying to figure out a way to being back to being a national title contender on a regular basis. Time will tell if Manny Diaz can bring the glory days back to the Hurricanes.

Former Miami QB Augie DeBiase transferring from USF, too

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An already well-traveled member of the USF football program is on the move.  Again.

On Twitter over the weekend, Augie DeBiase announced that he has decided to enter the transfer database.  DeBiase will be leaving the Bulls as a graduate transfer.  Not only that, but he’ll have another year of eligibility to use in 2021 as well.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

DeBiase began his collegiate career as a two-star walk-on at Miami.  The Jacksonville native chose the walk-on approach over scholarship offers from Indiana and Virginia Tech.

In 2018, DiBiase left The U for junior college.  At Tyler College, he was the starting quarterback for the first half of the 2018 season.  An injury sidelined him for the latter portion of the schedule.  In eight games, DeBiase passed for 793 yards and four touchdowns.  He also ran for three touchdowns.

DeBiase then joined the USF football program during the 2019 offseason.  He didn’t play a snap for the Bulls this past season.

DeBiase is the fourth Bull to enter the transfer portal in less than two weeks.

Citing “financial reasons,” quarterback Kirk Rygol entered the NCAA transfer database May 12.  A couple of days later, wide receiver Zion Roland did the same.  May 20, it was confirmed that defensive end Tyrik Jones had followed his teammates into the portal as well.

Notre Dame still very much in play for Stanford transfer RB Trevor Speights

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Courtesy of a rival, Notre Dame could very well be adding some talent to its football roster.  Still.

In early JanuaryTrevor Speights became one of more than a dozen Stanford players who had entered the NCAA transfer database. A month later, it was reported that Notre Dame football was viewed as the front-runner early on in the process.

The coronavirus pandemic, though, has slowed the process.  It, hasn’t however, caused the running back’s interest in the Fighting Irish to wane.

“Things are going well with my second recruitment. I’m very happy with my options,” Speights told 247Sports.com. “I have an opportunity to play at a prestigious school like Notre Dame and pursue my Masters in Business. … I am in a great position and I’m extremely blessed. …

“I’m just taking things slow. I didn’t really have the chance to visit Notre Dame, so I got to hop on the Zoom with [running backs] coach [Lance] Taylor and [offensive coordinator Tommy] Rees, and just talk ball with those guys and how I’d fit in the system.”

Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford before taking the same job with Notre Dame football in January of last year.  He was Speights’ position coach and helped recruit him to the Cardinal.

Rice is also in the mix for the graduate transfer.  Speights stated he hopes to make a decision “within the next couple of weeks.”

Speights was a three-star 2016 signee.  After rushing for 363 yards and a touchdown on 95 carries in 2017-18, Speights didn’t record a carry in 2019.

San Jose State’s Kyane Schmidt suffers ‘major brain injury,’ in a coma after being ejected from vehicle in rollover accident

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If prayers are your thing, maybe set one aside for a member of the San Jose State football program.

May 20th, the San Jose State football program confirmed this weekend, Kyane Schmidt was involved in a single-car rollover crash, which caused him to be ejected from the vehicle.  Details surrounding the wreck itself haven’t been divulged.

The aftermath, however, is horrific.

“[Schmidt] suffered a major brain injury,” the redshirt freshman defensive lineman’s parents wrote on the Caring Bridge website. “He was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in a deep coma. The doctor said he will be in a coma for multiple weeks. He’s going to need to fight… We believe in him.

“Our broken hearts are full with all the love and support that you- Kyane’s family, friends, and community- have provided by reaching out with concern and prayer. We wanted to provide a means of updating everyone who anxiously awaits to see how he is doing and we will be updating this site with each new information that we receive so that you all can see how he is doing immediately until we are able to reach out personally, thank you in advance and patience as we navigate this new territory. Thank you all for your support and with everyone’s prayers he will be back with us all very soon.”

San Jose State also released a brief statement regarding the injured football player.

“Spartan Nation, we need you!” the Twitter missive began. “Our brother Kyane needs our support while he fights! Please follow the link below to send a message to him and his family with your prayers and good thoughts of support, strength, healing and love.”

As a true freshman, Schmidt was a walk-on offensive lineman.  He didn’t play a down for the Spartans this past season.

Prior to the coronavirus shutting down the sport, Schmidt was transitioning to the other side of the line.

Reggie Bush: Paying players has potential to ‘destroy some people’

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If irony is your thing, Reggie Bush is serving up a heaping cup this Memorial Day.

The NCAA has charted a course that, likely sometime next year, will allow student-athletes, including football players, to profit off their names, images and likenesses.  In an interview with Playboy that appeared online this past week, though, Reggie Bush sounded a word of impending doom for some individuals.

“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” the former All-American USC running back stated. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place. …

“It’s a nasty world out there, and it’s about to get nastier. You’re going to really start to see the true colors of a lot of people, and a lot of businesses too. You’re going to see people doing some crazy stuff to make money, because our market is crashing.”

In June of 2010, the NCAA, citing lack of institutional control and failure to monitor, levied historic sanctions on the USC football program as a result of Bush — and his family — accepting impermissible benefits from “unscrupulous agents.” The stiff sanctions were a result of the NCAA finding Bush had received in the neighborhood of $300,000 in illegal benefits from would-be marketers while a member of the football program.  The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner voluntarily relinquished his award from that year in September of 2010.

As part of the punitive measures, USC was forced to permanently dissociate itself from Bush.  That “permanent” disassociation, incidentally, ends next month.