Plenty of Miami coaches, players and staff found themselves cringing last week over all the attention they were suddenly receiving after season-opening wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech.
Hey, problem solved!
Virginia Tech's 31-7 win on Saturday sent Miami freefalling eight spots to No. 17 in the latest AP Top 25. And with No. 8 Oklahoma visiting this weekend, the Hurricanes have little time to feel sorry for themselves _ especially since the well-rested Sooners could see Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford return from a shoulder injury and have outscored their last two opponents 109-0.
"It's a great situation for us to learn as a football team," Miami coach Randy Shannon said Sunday. "Yeah, we won two good games against two big, tough teams, but we had to come back and be ready in the third game against Virginia Tech and we didn't do it. So now, we've got to step up and get ready for Oklahoma."
This week, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris doesn't expect much Heisman talk or national-title buzz.
He almost sounds relieved.
"Our team is going to rally and get better," Harris said. "That's what matters."
Shannon said the Hurricanes are going "back to basics" this week, with good reason. By his count, Miami missed 17 tackles against Virginia Tech that gave the Hokies 180 extra yards, plus dropped eight passes, all but one of those potentially being first downs or touchdowns.
Against Virginia Tech, mistakes like that led to a rout.
Against Oklahoma, mistakes like that could be even worse.
"We're not at the top right now," wide receiver Leonard Hankerson said. "We've got to keep working."
For a week, though, the 'Canes (2-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were all the rage in college football again.
National television crews came to Coral Gables, Shannon said he did more interviews than ever before, Hurricanes ticket and souvenir sales both became brisk and some players _ left guard Orlando Franklin among them _ didn't deny that the spotlight was uncomfortable.
"We haven't done anything yet," Franklin said last week.
The team from Blacksburg took notice anyway.
Virginia Tech clearly felt slighted by all the Miami attention, and made that known Saturday. The Hokies held Miami to 59 yards rushing, forced Harris into a 9-for-25 passing effort, forced two turnovers and blocked a punt for a touchdown. Even getting out of town wasn't easy for Miami, which arrived home four hours behind schedule after its departure flight from Roanoke was moved to Charlotte.
"You didn't hear a lot about Virginia Tech this week," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said after Saturday's game. "You heard a lot about Miami this week, and rightfully so."
Miami's brutal opening stretch of the schedule _ the Hurricanes will be the first team since 2000 to open with four straight teams in the AP Top 25 _ was touted as a huge test, something Shannon said he never lost sight of. Beating Florida State and Georgia Tech didn't change that, he said.
So that's why he was leery last week about how his young team would handle the spotlight. He's lauded the team often this season for not getting wrapped up in outside praise or criticism, and reiterated Sunday that anything related to the attention over the program's highest ranking in nearly four years wasn't among the things that plagued Miami against Virginia Tech.
"I think people made it more than what it is," Shannon said. "Still got a long season to go. We've got to get this game over with, then we've got to get focused on Oklahoma."