Will the Florida State Miami rivalry ever be great again?


For anyone under the age of 30, you may not know it, but Florida State\Miami was the college football’s game of the year. It was always a big game, but starting in the late 80s with the ascension of both Miami and Florida State programs, this became the country’s top rivalry for nearly 20 years. During that time there were other great rivalries Alabama\Auburn – yea right, Texas\Oklahoma – please, Nebraska\Oklahoma – seriously? Ohio State\Michigan not even close. With National Title implications every time they met, this game was it.

The rivalry was so huge, that when Miami joined the ACC, the conference split the two teams into opposite divisions and placed the first 4 ACC Championship games in Florida just in hopes having epic sold out FSU Miami games.

Really for the young folks out there trust me this was once the biggest game of the year. Now this weekend’s game has become a key early season ACC battle.

Even now an unranked 3-1 Miami team coming off an ugly loss to Cincinnati, and a coach on the hotseat playing a top 15 Florida State team still gets a primetime 8 PM ABC timeslot. Back in 2013 when Miami and FSU were both in the top 10, it was another primetime 8 PM ABC game. Gameday was there too. Television and the ACC are just itching for this rivalry to be great again. Will it ever be the game of the year again?

It doesn’t depend on Florida State. You could argue that the mid 2000s Noles decline along with Miami’s decline helped diminish the rivalry, but Florida State is back. They won a national title in 2013, and went to the college football playoff in 2014. They haven’t looked impressive in 2015, but they are undefeated and ranked in the top 15. FSU recruits well and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down

At the moment whether this rivalry ever approaches what it once was begins and ends with the Miami Hurricanes. I didn’t intend this to be an post strickly about Miami’s program, but it is.

Can Miami ever reach a point again where they are perennial top 15 team again? That’s the question of the day. I think it is possible. The Miami metro area is a hot-bed of recruiting. The Hurricanes have only one class that finished outside of the top 25 since 2012. Miami fan support hasn’t been the best, but they will come if the Hurricanes start showing signs that things are improving.

It all comes down to the head coach. It has always come down to the head coach. Al Golden, it appears, isn’t the man who can turn Miami around.

With the right head coach, and I said this last week  Miami may not be able to reach the levels of the late 80s and 90s, but they can be good again. Once that happens, this rivalry can again be one of the country’s top games.

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