No bowl? No problem.
Another dose of self-induced sanctions haven't taken the motivation out of Miami, as the Canes went to Durham and beat Duke 52-45. For Miami to have won seven games this season is one of the most underrated accomplishments in college football. Many -- including myself -- wrote the Canes off this season, saying they were too young, had too much experience to replace after losing eight offensive starters, too tough of a schedule and too many off-field distractions for a winning record.
The Canes proved their doubters wrong until the very last play of the regular season. Miami racked up 646 total yards against Duke, including 248 yards on the ground. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 369 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Duke Johnson likely wrapped up the ACC's Rookie of the Year award with 176 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Miami's defense didn't play much better than Duke's, though, and the Canes racked up 11 penalties. It was hardly a flawless performance, but those are hard to come by in the Coastal Division this year.
Miami has plenty to build on for next season -- and a coach to rally around. For Al Golden to navigate the program through such choppy waters his first two seasons was impressive. Duke coach David Cutcliffe also had a season to be proud of, as the Blue Devils still have another game to play. Both coaches put their programs in good positions moving forward. It now turns into a waiting game for Miami with the NCAA.