Miami Hurricanes’ Michael Pinckney: ‘Everybody is doubting us right now’

Michael Pinckney takes a drink of water during a community visit last summer. (Matt Porter/The Palm Beach Post)

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In the 1980s, Miami made a name for itself as the team most outside of South Florida loved to hate.

While it’s easy to argue the Hurricanes regaining relevance would be a good thing — it’d raise the ACC’s profile, and hey, maybe college football could use a villain — Michael Pinckney thinks the rest of the country doesn’t want to see “The U” be great.

Reviewing the Hurricanes’ undefeated start after his team beat Syracuse 27-19, Pinckney offered a window into his motivation. “All the games were tight” in UM’s 6-0 (4-0 ACC) start, he said, but the team “finished as a unit” and “kept our heads high.”

[Related: Pinckney earns national player of the week honor]

Michael Pinckney, shown after UM’s win over Syracuse. (Matt Porter/The Palm Beach Post)

Then he added this:

“We just try to come every week and prepare like it’s the biggest game of our life because everybody is doubting us right now and we just have a chip on our shoulder. We want to come out and prove we’re one of the best in America.”

The Hurricanes’ last three wins, over Florida State, Georgia Tech and Syracuse (aggregate record: 10-10) came by a combined 13 points. That may be one reason to wonder if Miami is good enough to be considered a College Football Playoff contender (and why poll voters ranked one-loss Clemson ahead of UM this week, despite the fact the Canes beat the Syracuse the week after Syracuse beat Clemson).

Pinckney was asked directly why people are doubting Miami.

“You want to keep something great down,” he said. “A school like this, they don’t want to see us back on top. That’d be bad for college football. I feel like we can take over. We just have to keep pushing and keep fighting. Can’t get complacent. Just got to do our job.”

Why would it be bad for college football?

“Have you seen our fans, man?” he said. “Our fans keep us in the game. I feel like in the Georgia Tech game, I felt the emotions in the stands … it was more emotions than the Florida State game to me. It felt good to come to the game as a fan, looking at the fans.”

After Miami beat FSU 24-20 in Tallahassee, a proud visiting corner of the stadium celebrated with players. Those who remained in their soaking-wet seats for a 25-24 win over Georgia Tech two weeks ago had lots to cheer. Last week, UM announced a crowd of 56,158 for Syracuse.

If UM beats North Carolina this week, as expected, its return home to Hard Rock Stadium could be a sellout. Or should be, with 13th-ranked Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1) in town. Ninth-ranked Notre Dame (6-1) visits the following week.

Those who buy tickets aren’t doubting. Pinckney wasn’t talking about them, anyway.

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