By Hank Tester

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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami held a pep rally for several of its sports teams on Wednesday.

While the festivities included the basketball and volleyball teams, it was the football squad who got most of the attention.

Hardcore fans, students, alumni, you name it – they can’t wait for the 8 p.m. Saturday showdown between the No. 7 Hurricanes and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

The U has lost the last three meetings to the Fighting Irish – but this year feels different.

The undefeated Canes have their swagger back. They’re 8-0 with an in-your-face, over-the-top “Turnover Chain.”

Cane’s football is a culture and it runs deep.

Head coach Mark Richt, a Hurricane alumni, led the cheers Wednesday night.

“We are excited about this opportunity,” he told CBS4’s Jim Berry.

“This is why you came back,” Berry followed up.

“Not a doubt about it. To be back to my alma mater and the great things that are happening,” Richt said.

The students will pack their section of Hard Rock Stadium. The season tickets holders will show. And the price for single tickets are getting pricey.

“It means so much to me to see this program back to where it should be,” said Canes offensive lineman KC McDermott.

While football is clearly dominating the campus conversation, that doesn’t mean there isn’t excitement for basketball season, which begins this week for the Miami men and women.

They kickoff the season during a doubleheader at the Watsco Center on Friday night, starting with the women at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8.

Head coaches Jim Larranaga and Katie Meier, along with their squads, were at Wednesday’s rally.

The men’s basketball team enters the seasoned ranked 13th.

The Hurricanes women’s volleyball team was also on hand at the pep rally. Led by head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara, they are currently ranked 30th in the NCAA with a 15-5 record.

Those who attended the rally at The Rock received free Sebastian the Ibis T-shirts and free ice cream courtesy of Cold Stone Creamery.


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