Pressure still on Miami's Shannon

Miami coach Randy Shannon received a huge vote of confidence from athletic director Kirby Hocutt this week when he was given a four-year contract extension and a raise. It's something Shannon deserved after the improvements he has made to the program both on and off the field.

The pressure, though, still remains.

What this contract does is give Shannon more time to finish what he started, and it allows him to continue to recruit without the speculation of his future becoming something other coaches can use against him on the recruiting trail. What it doesn't do is guarantee any wins -- that's up to Shannon, and the fact still remains that there are no excuses this season for Miami not to contend for the Coastal Division and the ACC title.

This year's roster is filled with depth, speed, experience and talent, but a grueling schedule that includes Ohio State and Pittsburgh could stand in the way of Miami and the nation's elite. The expectations, though, are for Miami to return to the top of the BCS standings and to consistently contend for championships -- starting now.

The Hurricanes should be peaking in 2010 and 2011, and Shannon's latest contract won't change those expectations. The 2010 season would have been Shannon's last had his contract not been extended, but it's fair to expect even bigger things from him in 2011.

Shannon has been afforded the time, but continuing to hover in the middle of the pack will always prove costly at Miami.