I'm getting this feeling.
Given that Miami is No. 7 in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings with hopes of rising Saturday night in south Florida against No. 3 Notre Dame, and given that the Hurricanes have dropped four straight and five of their past six meetings with the Fighting Irish by an average score of 33-20, and given that this could be a play-in game to the CFP, and given that history often repeats, I'm thinking Miami coach Mark Richt will have his players do something crazy.
I don't know what. I don't know when. I do know this: If I'm among the Notre Dame coaches and players, I'm preparing for the outlandish, the wacky and the insane from Miami, and I'm expecting as much throughout the projected balmy evening after the opening kickoff.
What that'll entail … I don't know.
Whatever "it" is, I'm pleading with Richt: Don't do it. This series that comes and goes doesn't need a repeat of that four-year stretch through 1990, when Notre Dame and Miami were ranked among the nation's top 10 teams and hatred overtook sportsmanship each game. Most things said between the participants and their fans were X-rated. "They were a million times worse than any team we've faced in terms of their language," Tim Brown told me after Miami clobbered his Irish 24-0 at the Orange Bowl in 1987, when he was on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. "They were saying things that you can't print in a family newspaper."
There was even a brawl in the tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium before the Irish moved toward the 1988 national championship after they survived Miami 31-30 down the stretch. Local cops joined stadium security to separate players and coaches during that tunnel mess. Then again, the whole atmosphere was raw back then for the Hurricanes around Notre Dame's hometown of South Bend, Ind., where I was born and raised. All you need to know is that those throughout the city lost their reputation for graciousness toward visiting teams by wearing shirts proclaiming "Catholics versus Convicts."
I spent the week in South Bend writing about that 1988 game and its buildup, but I didn't buy one of those T-shirts. I got the OTHER one, though. Two years later, when Miami returned to northern Indiana after flattening the Irish 27-10 in the Orange Bowl in 1989, those into calm around Notre Dame were proactive this time. A student invented The Shirt, which was so successful, it has become an Irish tradition for 27 straight years. It began in 1990 as a tasteful way to commemorate Notre Dame's game that October against Miami, and the student also wished to raise money for campus activities. As sales soared for the attractive T-shirt, with Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz on the back, along with the Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus and the leprechaun, the project killed any attempts for "Catholics versus Convicts," Part II.
So the only drama for that 1990 game was on the field, with Notre Dame using a 29-20 victory to start its four-game winning streak over Miami. Blowouts followed in 2010 (33-17) and '12 (41-3), but during Richt's first year with his alma mater last season after he was fired following a productive run at Georgia, the Irish threatened another rout of Miami. They led 17-0 before they survived a spurt by the Hurricanes near the end for a 30-27 victory.
Richt wants his guys to finish the job this season. They have the longest winning streak in the country at 13, and they haven't lost since their trip last year to South Bend. They're now 8-0 with victories over Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, three of their four losses in 2016.
The fourth? Notre Dame.
"It's really been a payback season to everybody that we lost to last season, and we're just working down the line," Hurricanes linebacker Shaquille Quarterman told reporters in Miami this week. "We just can't wait to line it up Saturday. We're preparing right now, so on Saturday we can fly around all day."
Uh-oh. Something's up for Miami besides football. Remember that cliché about desperate men doing desperate things? Well, there's that, and there's what happened 10 years ago in Jacksonville, Fla., during the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. I was there. So was Richt's Georgia team, embarrassing itself for the sake of securing a 42-30 victory to end nearly two decades of humiliation against the Florida Gators. Georgia had lost 15 of 17 games during the rivalry, including eight of nine and two straight.
So much for the rivalry. That's why Richt decided to go bonkers for that 2007 Florida game. Even though he remained the world's most wholesome coach on the outside, he reached deep into his soul to trigger his "bad boy" self to instruct his usually well-mannered, extremely disciplined and strikingly classy Bulldogs to do all sorts of uncharacteristic things. You know, things that weren't classy. Take, for instance, the following: Georgia was penalized that evening five times for personal fouls or unsportsmanlike silliness.
In the first quarter.
Once, during the same kickoff, two Georgia players were signaled for face-mask infractions. That was before or after a teammate celebrated a touchdown for the Bulldogs by doing his version of the Gator Chomp on the field. It turned tens of thousands of Florida backers from blue and orange to simply red, and they already were fuming. Earlier, after Georgia scored the game's first points, Richt allowed his players to rush from the sideline into the end zone as if they'd never seen a TD before. With the refs setting an NCAA record for blowing whistles during a five-minute span, the Bulldogs jumped, laughed and partied amidst the sea of yellow flags. The already toxic mood for any Georgia-Florida game became worse, especially with that free-flowing libation inside of a packed stadium of 85,000 people, split evenly between the two teams.
The Florida players weren't amused. The Georgia players shrugged and kept their infractions coming, especially since they had orders from their suddenly ruthless leader.
"Oh, Coach Richt told us during the week that, after we scored that first touchdown, you can have an excessive celebration," Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard told me at the time, adding that Richt informed the team that he didn't care about the 15-yard penalty that always comes from such an action. "That's what everybody did (after the first touchdown). They just ran out there and formed a big, old dogpile."
See where I'm going? There isn't a dogpile for the Hurricanes, but during games, players receive a massive gold chain to wear around their neck after they force a turnover. That was an idea from Richt's coaching staff. I'm sure he'll add something else to motivate his crew for Notre Dame, and maybe something on top of that.
I'm just hoping it's not Jacksonville, Part II.