It’s one of the most anticipated games of the year. It’s orange and green versus garnet and gold. It’s Chief Osceola versus Sebastian the Ibis. It’s UM versus FSU.
Over the past 25 years, no other rivalry has had more NFL talent, more matchups between ranked teams, and more games come down to its final drive than Miami vs. Florida State. This series has had plenty of up’s and down’s, and wide left and wide right’s. On this day however, it’s more than just a game. It’s bragging rights and an opportunity to win over Florida’s hotbed of recruits.
Last year, the Miami Hurricanes were embarrassed at home losing 45-17. The Florida State Seminoles were looking for revenge and Miami was flat outplayed and outcoached, and that’s exactly what they got. Jimbo Fisher couldn’t have asked for a better start to this rivalry against the Hurricanes, it was his first win against them, and it surely won’t be the last.
A year later, now it’s Miami coach Al Golden’s turn to play the rookie role in this rivalry. There is no question he will have his team prepared, but can they execute come game time? This team has lacked consistency all season; they had an impressive win against Ohio State but then they went on to lose to a team like Virginia. What has kept them in games is their offense, led by Jacory Harris, who is having an exceptional senior season. The defense, however, has been nowhere close to exceptional; they can’t stop a nosebleed. It’s a problem when a unit can’t stop the run, or the pass.
For the Seminoles, after being ranked No. 5 in the preseason polls, expectations were through the roof. Many believed that the Seminoles were a contender for the National Championship, but that talk ended quickly when the Seminoles lost three straight and plummeted out of the rankings. They would recover, responding with four dominant wins, the most recent was a 38-7 road victory over Boston College. The Seminoles outscored their opponents 154-39 during that span under solid offensive and defensive play. Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel leads an offense that ranks 20th in scoring (36 ppg) and averages 419 yards of offense. However, what’s alarming is the amount of sacks the offensive line has allowed, 26.
This series might not be the same as it once was, as both teams head into this matchup unranked, however it provides pure entertainment value. The last winning streak was two in a row by FSU in 2005 and 2006. The last win by a home team was six years ago. Eleven years ago, Florida State quarterback and Heisman winner Chris Weinke passed for 496 yards and lost. It’s not going to be easy, and that’s what makes this rivalry so great. Saturday can’t come soon enough.
A college football enthusiast and Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami, Jared Levine has been writing about major college football for the past two years. You may contact Jared @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaredLevine4