Miami Hopes to End Bowl Slide with Sun Bowl Rematch Against Wazzu
After rumors surfaced all week of a Miami and Washington State meeting in the Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl, the matchup was confirmed early this afternoon.
Both the Hurricanes and Cougars will be making their third trip to El Paso, and the game will be a rematch of the 2015 Sun Bowl. Wazzu won that contest by a final score of 20-14 in a rare snow storm that blasted El Paso.
The Cougars won their first ever trip to the Sun Bowl by a 33-27 score over Purdue in 2001, while Miami lost to Notre Dame 33-17 in another cold football game in 2010. In fact, the Hurricanes have never enjoyed a "Sunny" El Paso in their two previous trips to town. Miami is also trying to end a bowl slide that includes losses in 10 of their last 11 postseason games dating back to 2008.
This season, Washington State finished 7-5, including a 6-3 record in the Pac-12. They also won six of their final eight games during the regular season. They did all of this while their head coach Nick Rolovich was fired for not getting his COVID-19 vaccine. He has since appealed his firing. Meanwhile, interim head coach Jake Dickert led the Cougars to a 3-2 record, and the former defensive coordinator and linebackers coach signed a new five-year contract as the Cougars permanent head coach.
Like Wazzu, Miami finished 7-5 and they played their best football in the second half of the regular season. The Hurricanes won five of their final six games including back to back victories over ranked ACC opponents #18 NC State (31-30) and #17 Pitt (38-34).
The bigger question in South Beach is who will coach the team when they arrive in El Paso for the game? The latest rumor is that Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal and Miami are negotiating a contract. According to CaneSport and the Miami Herald, Manny Diaz, who has been the head coach of the Hurricanes for the last three seasons, canceled his recruiting trip today as he awaits his fate. In addition to Cristobal, Miami is also targeting Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich to take over the same position with them.