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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sad day in college football: The O.B. on its way out

It won't even cause many to take a second thought. Some may even laugh. But for most in South Florida, or for anyone who attended a big football game -- pro or college -- there, losing the Orange Bowl is tough.
The University of Miami made a tough decision this week. It opted to play its football games in Dolphin Stadium begining in 2008. They will say goodbye to the Orange Bowl with the home finale against Virginia this year.
I can't properly describe the atmosphere the O.B. (thanks, Lamar Thomas) created for a football game. Yes, it was barely standing. Sometimes it wasn't near full enough. It was old. It had long said goodbye to its good days.
But that place was magical.
As a kid, I attended every Orange Bowl Classic with my father. Billy Sims, Brian Bosworth, Michael Irvin; Oklahoma, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Miami; Lou Holtz, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer -- the names and teams who played there are historic.
The Hurricanes were my team ever since their shocking 1984 Orange Bowl victory -- and resulting national championship -- over Nebraska. What a crazy night. I was 13, and I knew that's where I wanted to go to school. For several reasons, I never attended Miami, but cheer for them as hard as anyone who did.
And the Miami Dolphins. I can remember an AFC playoff comeback against Cleveland .. it had to be around 1984, too. And a Monday Night loss to New England. They used to actually have a dolphin in the end zone.
I hated when they went north of town nearly two decades ago, too.
But losing the Orange Bowl, reminds me of some special times with my father. He's gone, too. As I said, it's a sad, sad day. For those who share in some of sports' special moments there -- with special people -- we'll have to cherish the memories.


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