Miami faces Wisconsin in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl

UM News reporter Robert Jones is keeping up with many of the activities and events surrounding the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30 at Hard Rock Stadium.
By Robert C. Jones Jr.

UM News reporter Robert Jones is keeping up with many of the activities and events surrounding the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Miami faces Wisconsin in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
Read UM News reporter Robert Jones’ blog for behind-the-scenes reports.

December 30, 2017 at 11:45 p.m.

Images of Game Day

From orange-and-green-clad fans sporting Sebastian the Ibis hats, to spirited Band of the Hour members performing the UM fight song, to legendary ’Cane Russell Maryland being honored, to Hurricanes players making their traditional smoke entrance, the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl was a pageantry of color, excitement, and enjoyment. A crowd of 65,042 witnessed the Miami-Wisconsin matchup—UM’s first New Year’s Six bowl game appearance since 2004. Though Miami would come up short 34-24, ’Canes fans know there’s plenty to build on for the future. View the slideshow.

December 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Pre-game Pano
Hard Rock Stadium begins to fill to capacity as kickoff for the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl approaches. (CLICK/TOUCH IMAGE FOR PANORAMIC IMAGE)

December 30, 2017 at 7 p.m


'Canes Fans
SoLo D, second from right, with, from left, Winston (Winnie Win), producer/DJ CalvinEs, and manager Stephen Daniels.

SoLo D’s Music Transcends Sports

It was Miami rapper SoLo D’s grandfather, University of Miami professor of sociology Jomills Braddock, who turned him into a Miami Hurricanes fan, taking him to UM football games in the Orange Bowl back in the early 1990s when he was just a youngster.

Today, SoLo D’s popular “Turn Over Chain” song, inspired by the flashy emblem that is awarded to any Miami player who intercepts a pass or recovers a fumble, is not only turning people into diehard Hurricane fans but admirers of the rapper himself.

“I really didn’t expect it to go viral,” SoLo D, whose real name is Delonte Copeland, said Saturday outside Hard Rock Stadium, where he performed the song and other music from his repertoire at the UM Alumni Association’s Capital One Orange Bowl Pregame Celebration. “I guess the timing was right. Everyone wanted to see the ’Canes win, and they were winning, and the turnovers made it special. The song grew into something bigger than we ever thought it would.”

All told, the Hurricanes broke out the chain a total of 30 times this season. Only Central Michigan and Wyoming had more takeaways.

SoLo D has written songs for artists, churches, nightclubs, nonprofits, political campaigns, and most notably many of Miami sports teams.

His latest song, “The Hit Squad,” is named for Hurricanes defensive end Chad Thomas.

He just loves music,” Stephen Daniels, SoLo D’s manager and the vice president of Miami Sports Music, said of the young rapper. “No other artist is doing what he’s doing—interpreting music with sports.”

But there’s also a socially conscious message behind many of SoLo D’s songs. One of the more important issues he’s been addressing in his music: the education of young black males.

Said the rapper, “Any platform I get, I like to tell the story of what’s going on.”

December 30, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

Bailey Group Tailgaters
The Bailey group of tailgaters prior to kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium.

UM’s Tailgating Faithful Descend on Hard Rock

It didn’t matter to Stanley Bailey that his tailgating canopy, emblazoned with the University of Miami logo and colors, had been deployed next to a group of Wisconsin Badgers fans.

“We’re all here to have fun and cheer for our team,” said Bailey, who arrived in the Orange Lot at Hard Rock Stadium to start the tailgating ritual a good five hours before the Miami Hurricanes would take the field to battle Wisconsin in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl.

Bailey, along with six of his family members, had plenty of company, as Hard Rock’s parking lots teemed with tailgaters well in advance of the 8 p.m. matchup.

UM fans had a decided advantage, outnumbering Wisconsin tailgaters at least five to one.

Chicken, steaks, shrimp, and corn on the cob simmered on barbecue grills large and small. Fans tossed footballs into the air. Others debated Miami’s chances against a one-loss Wisconsin team that, like the Hurricanes, came within a game of earning a berth in the College Football Playoffs.

Tanya Romero, a Hurricanes fan since the ’70s who said her father, Arnold, was an assistant under legendary UM coach Howard Schnellenberger, said she is happier that Miami won 10 games this year than she is that the team is appearing in a New Year’s Six bowl game for the first time in more than 10 years.

“I love my ’Canes, win or lose,” she said.

Between bites of grilled chicken wings, Rod, at 29 the youngest of the Bailey group, said he just wanted the game to start so that he could watch his favorite player: Miami inside linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.

“His football IQ is incredible,” Rod said of the sophomore linebacker. “He’s a born leader.”

Rod’s game prediction: Miami over Wisconsin in a nail-biter.

December 29, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

Dispatch No. 6: Orange Bowl Committee Archives

Orange Bowl 1988

The University of Miami Libraries’ Orange Bowl Committee Archives digital collection captures historical moments of the famous South Florida college football bowl game and affiliated events that have attracted thousands of people since 1936. The digital collection currently includes sketches of colorful and thematic float designs for the annual New Year’s Day parade once held in Miami.

Additional materials from the Orange Bowl Committee Archives are available for research upon request in the University of Miami Libraries Special Collections, including audio-visual materials, memorabilia correspondence, and minutes to related events and sports tournaments. The collection also includes photographs of Orange Bowl parades and queens, costume sketches, scrapbooks, and half-time musical pieces that document this annual tradition.

December 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Dispatch No. 5: Hurricanes in the Hometown

From mentoring youngsters at local elementary schools and parks to giving away turkeys and canned goods to needy families in Miami’s underserved communities, University of Miami football players are known for their community service.

In fact, in a recent ranking from the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition, Miami placed first in the nation among all Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

On the day after Christmas, the team’s reputation of helping out the hometown continued, when UM football players took a break from their preparations for the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl to spend time with children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward at Dave and Buster’s in Hollywood, playing arcade-style games, eating dinner, and signing autographs.

December 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Dispatch No. 4: A Practice Home Away from Home

Normally, the Miami Hurricanes practice at Greentree Practice Fields on UM’s Coral Gables campus, but in preparation for their Orange Bowl matchup against Wisconsin, the squad is hitting the blocking sleds and running other drills at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.


December 27, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

Dispatch No. 3: Hollywood Arrival

In advance of Miami’s Christmas Day arrival at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, where the team is staying as it prepares for its game against Wisconsin, Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt talks about the opportunity to play in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl and gives an assessment of the Wisconsin Badgers football team.

December 27, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Orange Bowl 1988
Hurricanes wide receiver Michael Irvin catches a TD pass during Miami's 20-14 victory over Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange, a victory that earned UM's second national championship in five years.

Dispatch No. 2: Orange Bowl Fun Facts

A few Orange Bowl fun facts in advance of Saturday’s big game:

  • Miami is playing in the Orange Bowl for the 10th time in program history; the Hurricanes are 6-3 all-time in the game, including a 16-14 win over the Florida State Seminoles in their last trip to the Orange Bowl in 2004
  • Miami’s matchup with Wisconsin represents the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools and second in a bowl game. The series is tied 2-2; the Badgers won the last head-to-head matchup 20-14 in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.

  • The Hurricanes will wear their Miami Nights uniforms for their Orange Bowl matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers on December 30. Miami previously wore the all-black uniforms in their 28-10 win over Virginia Tech on November 4.

  • Miami won three of its five national championships in the Orange Bowl game: the 1983 national title, which UM captured in the January 2, 1984 Orange Bowl with a 31-30 victory over a heavily favored Nebraska squad; the ’87 national championship, which came via Miami’s 20-14 win over Oklahoma in the January 1, 1988 Orange Bowl; and the 1991 title, captured in the January 1, 1992 Orange Bowl with a convincing 22-0 win over Nebraska.

  • Former University of Miami president Donna E. Shalala served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1988 to 1993.

  • This won’t be the first time Miami head coach Mark Richt has coached in the Orange Bowl game. Richt served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for FSU from 1990 to 2000, helping the Seminoles win their first national championship with an 18-16 win over Nebraska in the 1994 Orange Bowl.

  • The Miami Hurricanes played in the very first Orange Bowl, a January 1, 1935 matchup against the Bucknell Bison that took place at Miami Field on the same site as the iconic Orange Bowl stadium.


December 27, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

Dispatch No. 1: Orange Bowl Bound

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt calls it “one of the classic bowl games in America.”

Linebacker Zach McCloud describes it as “hope for next year. We’ve seen a bigger stage now,” says the 6-2, 230-pound defender from Lantana, Florida, “and we know where we can a7im and where we can go if we do the right things.”

While the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl means something different for each member of Miami’s coaching staff and players, one thing is certain: a victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in the December 30, 8 p.m. matchup will put a definitive exclamation point on a stellar season that saw the 10-2 Hurricanes rise as high as No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, win the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division, and play for the ACC Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I think it would be great for us to finish with 11 wins,” says Thomas Brown, Miami’s offensive coordinator. “It would give us momentum going into the offseason because that’s going to be huge for the future.”

The 10th-ranked Hurricanes go into their Orange Bowl matchup against the Badgers as underdogs, but Miami will be playing in familiar confines—Hard Rock Stadium, where UM went 7-0 this season, with wins over ranked opponents Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in back-to-back weekends.

“I hope it’s home field advantage,” says Richt. “I think our fans will come out in big numbers and it will feel like home because it is home for us.”

With the traditional National Signing Day still ahead for the nation’s Football Bowl Subdivision teams on February 7, a Miami victory over Wisconsin could also have a positive impact on recruiting.

“Bowl-games-to-be are the end of a year and the beginning of a new year, and they really can count for both,” says Richt. “I really think people take account for how you finish and it’s part of your record, obviously; it determines where you’re ranked at the end of the season, so that’s a big deal. And also it’s a way to send your seniors off in the best possible way. On the other hand, when you work yourself into the offseason, how you play this game matters and based on how people perceive your team. Hopefully we’ll get the best of both worlds.”

Thanks to a strong early signing period—the NCAA’s first ever—Miami’s 2018 class is already one of the nation’s best, rated in the top five by many recruiting services. Among the early signees: five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard of Orange City University; four-star receiver Mark Pope of Miami Southridge; four-star quarterback Jarren Williams of Lawrenceville, Georgia; two top-10 tight ends in Brevin Jordan of Las Vegas and Will Mallory of Jacksonville, and St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Al Blades Jr., son of the former Hurricane great, the late Al Blades.

Check back often to read my blog for a behind-the-scenes look at the Orange Bowl—from the official University of Miami Capital One Orange Bowl pregame celebration at Hard Rock Stadium, to the Capital One Orange Bowl Fan Fest, to short features on the Hurricane faithful who’ll be attending the game.

Go ’Canes!