UM Has No Choice But Impose Bowl Ban

But the frigid reality is what Miami says to the NCAA and potential recruits matters more right now than to three senior starters.

By telling recruits the nastiest stuff is behind them after a second-straight bowl ban, Miami can sell the future easier. Even if the nastiest stuff isn't behind them. After all, who knows with the NCAA?

By telling the NCAA a good bowl - and potentially (wink-wink) a very good bowl - is being taken away, Miami also might gain bonus points for self-administering its medicine.

This is where Miami's good finish to the season can help its NCAA cause. By winning Saturday at Virginia and becoming bowl eligible with six wins, Miami moves to within a win against Duke of the ACC Championship Game.

That in itself is a small stroke of fortune. North Carolina is ineligible for the title game due to its own NCAA issues. So the limp competition to win the Coastal Division of the ACC was diluted even more.

That two-week stretch after Virginia and before the Duke game will be the time to impose the ball ban. That's the prime time for Miami to do it.

Miami can double its pain then. It can show it's losing the ACC Championship Game, which won't take a non-bowl team, and potentially a marquee BCS bowl. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Again, there's some wink-wink involved. Even if Miami beats Duke, Florida State awaits in the title game. Miami was drubbed out of its middleweight status a few times this year, including a not-that-close 33-20 loss to Florida State.

So, if Miami plays Florida State again and loses again, it's probably not giving up a BCS game. It's losing Sun Bowl. Or Chick-fil-A Bowl. Or something that says the bowl in itself isn't the issue. That extra month of practice time is for a young team.

Golden is building a program at Miami. That's what this first couple of seasons have been about. He's had some nice wins. Year Three is when his team needs to take a decided step forward. With 21 starters returning, he should, too.

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