MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When the final seconds of the game ticked off and the Miami Hurricanes began celebrating a signature victory over the Florida Gators, the coaching staff took a few minutes to celebrate before turning to job number two…keep on winning.
The Hurricanes’ victory propelled Miami back into the Top 25 for the first time in three years and the team jumped all the way to number 15 in the country. The jump from unranked to 15th was a feat that’s been pulled off only six times in the last decade in the AP poll.
Incidentally, it’s also the first time that head coach Al Golden has been the coach of a team ranked in the AP poll. And given the talent he’s putting together at UM, it’s not likely to be the last time the Canes are ranked under his leadership.
Still, Golden knows that while that victory was good, there’s plenty of work to do ahead.
“It was a good win and everything,” Golden said. “But, hey, we’re already moved on.”
It’s not like the Canes have to be too worried about their next two opponents though. UM takes a week off before playing Savannah State at Sun Life Stadium. Savannah State is one of the worst teams in the Football Championship Subdivision and has given up 143 points in two games.
Then UM takes a trip up to Tampa to play the South Florida Bulls. The same Bulls team lost to Michigan State over the weekend and was hammered by FCS school McNeese State in Week 1.
In other words, UM should enter October at 4-0 and be ready to take on conference play ahead of a big matchup later in the year against the Florida State Seminoles.
Still, Miami has plenty to work on ahead of October. One area the Canes are struggling mightily in is on third down conversions. The Canes are 118th out of 124 teams in third down conversion at 5-25 on the season.
But, UM is getting respect not only from the SEC, but also from fellow Atlantic Coast Conference head coaches like Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. The Clemson head coach, whose own team ascended to number three in the rankings this week held up the “U” symbol with his hands for UM’s victory over UF.
“I think Dabo’s a class act and obviously he’s excited about his team and he’s confident about his team and he’s excited for the league,” Golden said. “And I share in his excitement. What they’re doing up at Clemson, I think it’s great for the league. You want to have these types of games and have them be meaningful.
“You know, one thing about the ACC, we haven’t shied away from these games, from these intersectional games,” Golden said. “Hopefully we can continue to schedule like this and maybe find a way to work it out where we can continue to have Florida moving forward, even if it’s every third year or something.”
For now, that’s not in the plans.
So Golden will stick to what’s actually in front of the ‘Canes. This week at practice, Miami’s opponent gets to be Miami again, and Golden sounds eager to get back to work.
“There’s a great storied tradition here,” Golden said. “What we have to do now is respect the past, but we have to represent the future. We have to move forward. And the way we help the conference is to become the Miami Hurricanes. That’s the truth — for us to grow up and play like Miami Hurricanes.”
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