Like some other ACC coaches, N.C. States Tom OBrien says its only a matter of time before Miamis Al Golden has the Hurricanes challenging for national championships again.
Once he withstands all the stuff thats going on in Miami I think hell get Miami back in the national championship scene, OBrien said this week.
With his team visiting the slightly favored Hurricanes Saturday, its predictable that OBrien would have nice things to say about the opponent and the opposing coach.
But OBrien and others Virginia Techs Frank Beamer, Florida States Jimbo Fisher and Boston Colleges Frank Spaziani specifically share the same theory.
Its not if theyll be back, its when, Beamer said in preseason. Everythings still there for them.
Or is it?
Program momentum and damage-control issues aside, Miamis environment has changed on a number of fronts since Larry Cokers 2001 team, then a Big East member, won the fifth and last of the schools five Associated Press national titles.
During the ensuing 11 years, the SEC has poured untold millions of dollars into facilities, coaching salaries, recruiting and player development while Miami has basically banked on its name and street rep.
And although Miami still likes to think of itself as a national program of sorts, the fact remains that the ACC and SEC are located in the same general neighborhood. Other than perhaps Florida State, theres not a team anywhere that recruits the state of Florida more effectively than the SEC factories.
Keep in mind that the high school juniors of the 2012-13 academic school year were in the first grade when Cokers team won that 01 title. Many of those young prospects are likely to identify more with Cam Newton (Auburn) and Trent Richardson (Alabama) than those many ex-Miami stars of the 80s and 90s.
Something else to consider is that its getting progressively more difficult for private schools to win big in football. Theres always been a gap between most of the publics and privates in basketball, but that trend is clearly moving into football, as well.
Other than Southern Cal, Stanford of late and Texas Christian at times, only two other privates have finished in the final AP top 10 since 2004. Notre Dame took ninth in 05 and Boston College tied Texas for 10th in 2007.
Its a far cry from the days when USC, Notre Dame, Brigham Young and Miami took 12 AP national titles from 1972 through Southern Cal in 2004 (later vacated).
And among the BCS automatic qualifying conferences, the ACC is the most private league. With Syracuse coming aboard and Notre Dame set to become a quasi-member, the ACC soon will have six privates.
Thanks primarily to Southern Cal and Stanford, the privates have been able to sign top-rated high school quarterbacks. But particularly on defense, only Southern Cal has consistently been able to sign and groom top-line talent and depth.
Having been an assistant at Virginia for more than a decade and then the coach at Boston College for 10 seasons, OBrien cited the public school factor as part of States lure when he took the job in 2007.
Miami obviously has a substantial ceiling advantage over Boston College, but its difficult for me to envision the Canes becoming the Canes of old for many years to come.