Golden not the answer for Miami
While coming up with any sort of success at Temple, much less turning one of the nation’s most miserable programs into a winner, is worthy of praise and respect, there’s one teeny, tiny issue here.
Al Golden didn’t actually win anything, and Miami wants a Point B to Point C guy.
Once Golden did the job of recruiting well, mostly by putting a fence around the greater Philadelphia metropolitan era, Temple got to the point where it wasn’t a doormat anymore. While that was great, as Buffalo, Central Michigan, Akron and, in a one-year turnaround, Miami (Ohio), proved, it was possible to go from being miserable to a MAC champion, and Golden didn’t finish the job.
Temple going from miserable to decent was a story in 2008, but in 2009, Golden had a team good enough to win the MAC title, or at least the East Division. With the chance to play for the championship, Temple lost at Ohio 35-17.
This year, Northern Illinois (speaking of not getting the job done) was the MAC’s best team, but Temple was the clear No. 2. The program, and Golden, failed late in the year, losing at home to Ohio when the running game and the run defense mysteriously went bye-bye in the sloppy conditions. That loss ended up costing the Owls the MAC East title; the puzzling, dead-team-walking, 23-3 loss to Miami ended up costing the 8-4 team a bowl invite.
Yeah, Golden’s Temple program recorded the largest academic turnaround in the Academic Progress Rate reform era, and yeah, Miami (Fla.) cares about the classroom with a fantastic APR under Randy Shannon. Last May, when the reports came out, Miami’s program was the only one in the BCS that finished in the top 10 percent academically and finished the 2009 season ranked in both the USA Today and Associated Press polls. Shannon really was getting it done both on and off the field, but he didn’t return the Hurricanes to football prominence, and for that he was fired.
So now Miami has two problems: 1) Golden hasn’t closed, going 7-12 at Temple in November and December and with no appearances in the MAC Championship Game, and 2) This isn’t the 1980s.
Florida is the top dog in the Sunshine State, Florida State is reloading, South Florida is starting to become a factor, Central Florida won the Conference USA title, and even Florida International and Florida Atlantic will battle for some of the local Miami talent. Throw in the national powerhouses always coming in and picking off players, and the 'Canes’ expectations are unrealistic.
Does Miami want to go back to the Luther Campbell days? Is it looking for the days of being Da U, and all the negative connotations that came with that? Unless Golden can bring in NFL talent right away, and not just very good college players, Miami is going to be disappointed that it’s nowhere near the bright, shining superpower it used to be.
Golden is taking his talents to South Beach, but this will work only if he brings more big-time talents to Coral Gables.