MIAMI -

Needless to say, it's been a long few weeks for the University of Miami football program. The allegations from convicted felon Nevin Shapiro have led to a full scale NCAA investigation, and it's already cost 8 key Miami players a chance to play in tonight's season opener.

All that said, the Canes have a game to play tonight, and it's nice to focus on the actual match-up on the field.

Even before the NCAA talk and suspensions, this was not an easy early season test for the Hurricanes. Maryland has the ACC freshman of the year at quarterback, and they'll host Miami in front of a wild home crowd on national TV. The one question I've been asked more than any in the last 2 weeks is this: do I think the Canes can win? The simple answer is yes, but I have no clue what to expect tonight.

Normally, you can get a sense for how a team will play or deal with a tough challenge. Yet, these are such bizarre circumstances that I don't have a true feel of what will happen tonight. Forget the NCAA stuff for a moment, and let's remember it's also the debut of Al Golden as the Canes new head coach. He brings a new offensive and defensive coordinator into the game. Those add up to a lot of unknowns for an opening game of the season. I know the Terps also have a new staff, but they don't have the NCAA cloud looming over them.

I'll tell you what I've told numerous people in the last few days. It wouldn't surprise me if the Canes play a spirited game for their new coach and suspended teammates and go out and win. It also wouldn't surprise me if they fall flat on their faces and lose. Yes, it's a lame way of getting around an actual prediction, but it's all I can say about it. It's just a strange situation. I've talked to handful of former Canes players over the last few days and many have told me the same thing.

So, what should we expect? Well, for one, a football game. That in itself is enough to get me excited. It certainly beats talking about some low-life in prison and possible NCAA sanctions. Enjoy the game, everyone!