One of the cool things about being a sports photographer is that occasionally you get to photograph one of your favorite teams. I had that opportunity when I was photographing the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL where the Miami Hurricanes took on the West Virginia Mountaineers. Lucky for me that the second college bowl game I was assigned to ended up being the Miami Hurricanes game.
It’s hard to fathom that the end of the college football season arrived as quickly as it did. I was just getting use to my Saturdays being spent on the field photographing games. Lucky for me that my last game of the season I was able to photograph the Miami Hurricanes beat the Duke Blue Devils on Senior Day at Hard Rock Stadium.
After a heartbreaking loss to the Florida State Seminoles a week earlier, it was hard to predict how the game and the game photos from the Hurricanes and the Tar Heels would turn out. Turns out the Hurricanes played like the weather before the game, lousy. Back to back losses are never good for a Miami Hurricanes team and the fans let the team know about it.
There is only one game a season I look forward to, the Florida State game. The atmosphere is different. The crowds are bigger, louder and rowdier. It’s the perfect game to photograph and the only downside to this game was that the Miami Hurricanes lost a heartbreaker to the Florida State Seminoles.
The second game of the season for the Miami Hurricanes brought about a lot of change and the majority was not with the team itself. While the University of Miami was getting ready for the Florida Atlantic Owls on the field, the photographers were in the media room listening about all the new rule changes the University and the Hard Rock Stadium security wanted to implement. It seems the photographers had to suffer the consequences due to other’s not doing their job properly. While the football team battled FAU on the field, the photographers had to battle off the field.
There are ways to open a football season and then there is the way the Miami Hurricanes opened their 2016 season; with a bang. A beating was a nice way to say what the FAMU Rattlers experienced when they faced the Miami Hurricanes, but a 70-3 score sounds a lot worse than a beating. It was a great way to open the new Hard Rock Stadium as well as the new era under new head coach Mark Richt.
Photographing the Hurricanes vs. Virginia game was a bit of a weird one. It was the first home game since Clemson crushed Miami and the first home game since they fire their head coach, Al Golden. I was so used to driving to the stadium to see planes carrying banners calling for the Al Golden to be fired that at this game the skies were eerily quiet. I guess even with all the weirdness the only thing that really mattered was that Miami Beats Virginia.
Some games are easier to photograph than others and this Miami vs. Nebraska game was not one of them. Not only I had to contend with temperatures over 100 degrees on the field, there were tons of other photographers at the game, more so than usual, and not to mention fighting with ESPN for field position. Just another day at the office.
There isn’t much I really can say about the Miami vs. Florida State rivalry that hasn’t been stated before. It is the epitome of epic showdowns in college football. All of Florida and the nation for that matter turns in to watch Miami vs. Florida State. Hell, there is no better football than watching Miami vs. Florida State.