Who needs Trick Daddy to get the crowd pumped when you have a historical photo collage?
But even before the two teams in the highly publicized matchup took to the field, the Canes got the waterworks flowing, thanks to a guy named Mike O'Leary.
No, O'Leary isn't a famous QB. Or beloved coach. He's the guy responsible for creating the three-minute intro that's shown at every home game before the team charges onto the field in a cloud of smoke.
While in past years said video has usually consisted of some sort of montage of awesome plays set to hip-hop (and there's nothing wrong with that), this year The U went for something different - the heartstrings.
"I don't like the traditional style entrance video," said O'Leary, who lives in Coral Gables and got his MBA from UM two years ago, "those videos have energy, but they don't inspire. Instead, I wanted to create a certain atmosphere. The goal was for a meaningful story that was engaging and has an effect that lasts for more than just that one moment."
Indeed, the next day, O'Leary said he went to work and people in his office were reciting lines.
"I was born of a great storm... I went from ruin to rebirth... It was football that carried me... The game gave me my voice... I was born of a great storm... And now I bring it upon you."
It's pretty powerful stuff (for a 'Canes fan, at least). It helps that "voiceover guy" is also the voice of big time TV ad campaigns and was provided by Dean Pinero, who happens to be an all-American UM diver and also happens to run one of the biggest voiceover agencies in Hollywood now. Score.
For the visual elements, O'Leary sifted through old pictures, brochures and newspaper clippings at UM's Sports Hall of Fame and the Sports Information archives.
"I wanted to talk about the history, the team as a brand, how it played a roll in building the school," he explained. "What I uncovered was this symbiotic relationship that was destroyed by a great storm. The season was put on hold, and so the first thing the school wanted to do was start football again, it was UM's identity. The sprit of Miami is everything that is football, and vice versa."
O'Leary said he wrote the script in first person to add to the mystery.
"Who is speaking is the spirit of UM, not a person, not a thing - it's everything that is Miami. I am the orange, the green... I am the tunnel and the smoke."
O'Leary saw the video, which he said was intensely complicated to make ("Every image had to be scanned, put into animation, then the script had to correspond to the hundreds of pieces, and all the pieces had to be in the shape of a giant U") for the first time in a packed stadium last week, when Miami played Oklahoma, and afterward, he and Pinero, who also attended, hugged.
We're getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.