The last time UM had a winning football team both the team and the fans behaved badly. They called it ‘swagger’ but it was mostly rudeness. I was embarrassed for all of us.
Now the U’s football team is “relevant” again: UM beat FSU, is undefeated, and justly ranked 3rd in the College Football Playoff Rankings. And the U has the Turnover Chain (soon to be a beer near you).
So far at least the swagger has been cleaner; the Turnover Chain is a team celebration, not so much in the face of another team or its fans.
Of course, even if “the U is back” it’s far from cemented in its new status. The team has yet to equal its past domination, and remains far from a national championship, although that dream seems less ridiculous than it did two weeks ago. Until then, however, the team’s, and the fans’, ability to avoid the ‘swagger’ excesses of yore remains to be tested.
Meanwhile, the campus and the county are going nuts in a fun way even if the rest of the country hates us. Even UM President Julio Frenk gamely tweeted out a video supporting the football team. I like good PR as much as the next guy, but it has to be admitted that the sports media is totally in the tank for UM–presumably because it’s great copy, great visuals, and Miami is much nicer place to visit in November and December than, say, Madison, Wisconsin or Norman, Oklahoma.
Of course, as a world-class authority on public health, President Frenk must also be aware of the human toll that football takes on its players: college football causes many injuries including concussions, and creates a real risk of brain injury even without actual concussions.
Perhaps we’ll get to see President Frenk do a video on that topic in his last week on the job. It probably would be his last week, whether or not he intended it that way.