Published: Aug 31, 2010 6:24 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 01, 2010 4:31 AM EDT

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The pressure might be off Miami coach Randy Shannon. Or it might be ramped up like never before.

Shannon enters his fourth season at Miami with a new contract, four more years of security that ended months of back-and-forth talks between the coach and his alma mater. With that deal — worth around $1.5 million annually — comes naturally higher expectations, ones Shannon expects this year's Hurricanes to be able to deliver upon.

His closest friends and his players both insist, Shannon enters this season calmer than ever. Some suspect that's because the contract is done. Others believe it's moreso because the 44-year-old Miami native knows his 13th-ranked Hurricanes might be on the cusp of rejoining the nation's elite.