The Miami Hurricanes come to Norman this September, and the Sooners return the favor in 2009. I wish the dates were reversed. When OU goes to Miami, the 'Canes might no longer play in the fabled Orange Bowl. Miami trustees meet Monday and are expected to discuss moving away from the stadium built in 1937 and home to so many epic football games. The option lies 16 miles north, to Dolphin Stadium, which hosts the Orange Bowl Classic. The Orange Bowl stadium is decaying, and it's in a seedy part of town, and an estimated $200 million is needed to renovate the coliseum. It's doubtful Miami U. will vote to remain in the Orange Bowl, which means the Sooners would play in the antiseptic Dolphin Stadium, where they've played Florida State and USC in national-title games this decade. Dolphin Stadium is football's Comiskey Park. Built in 1987, it resembles the cookie cutters of the 1970s (Riverfront, Three Rivers, Veterans) more than the cool coliseums of recent vintage. Here is Dolphin Stadium's one distinguishable attribute: in September, you can play part of the game on dirt, since the Dolphins share the stadium with baseball's Marlins. A game against Miami at the grand old Orange Bowl stadium would be much better. Yes, the old lady has seen better days, but the history and the memories and the setting make for a great spectacle, like when the Sooners play in the Rose Bowl or the Cotton Bowl. With those palm trees rising beyond the end zone, the Orange Bowl has been home to many a Sooner game, mostly on New Year's Night in battles against Tennessee and Penn State and Michigan and Florida State and Maryland. Here's hoping that somehow, some way, the Sooners get one last show in the stately stadium.
The Orange Bowl in Miami (shown here in 1975) hosted the Orange Bowl Classic through 1996. An OU-Miami game in 2009 would be much better at the Orange Bowl than in Dolphin Stadium. MIAMI DEPT. OF PUBLICITY AND TOUrism