When: Saturday, November 15th - Sun Life Stadium - Time TBA
The 'Canes still lead the All Time Series 31-27, but have lost 4 in a row and 7 of 9.
At its' peak, this game had annual National Championship implications, but of late it has been more of a one-sided affair. UM has not held serve at home in the series since 2004.
Nonetheless this is a contest that fans of both programs look forward to all year. This season should be as hotly anticipated as any, with FSU coming in as defending National Champions and Jameis Winston the defending Heisman Trophy winner. As Miami tries to work its' way back up the ladder toward College Football's elite, there is no better measuring stick than their biggest rivals.
The recruiting implications of this contest also can not be overstated.
Let's take a closer look at last year's game and what to expect this season.
Last Meeting: Miami hangs tough for a half but gets plastered in the second.
Devonta Freeman had a career night with 2 rushing TDs and a long catch and run for a third score, to propel FSU to a 41-14 victory. The Miami Central product helped the 'Noles outgain UM 165-40 in the decisive third quarter.
In the first half, the 'Canes played Florida State as well as anyone did all season outside of maybe Auburn or BC. Two laser precise strikes from Stephen Morris to Allen Hurns and a timely INT by Deon Bush had UM down just 21-14 after 30 minutes.
But it was clear that outside of forcing turnovers, the 'Canes defense could not slow down Winston and FSU's O. And when Morris threw a couple of second half picks of his own, this one was all but academic.
In the 3rd quarter Duke Johnson, who ran very well all night, broke his ankle fighting to covert a 4th and 2. That play not only sealed the fate of this game, but likely was the key driving force for Miami's downward spiral the remainder of the season.
For UM, they will of course be breaking in a new QB (Ryan Williams if healthy should start, If not it will be transfer Jake Heaps, Kevin Olsen, or true freshman Brad Kaaya). And the underrated Hurns is now vying for a spot in the NFL with Jacksonville. A top 10 class will surely impact the roster with guys like DE/OLB Chad Thomas, RB Joseph Yearby, and OT KC McDermott possibly seeing a lot of early playing time. Beyond that, most of the key players should look the same for the 'Canes.
The 'Noles lost 7 players to the NFL, including ridiculously talented WR Kelvin Benjamin and DB Lemarcus Joyner, the heart and soul of last year's D. But they return Winston of course, and some very deep recruiting classes by Jimbo Fisher and his staff the past few years ensure that FSU will not have much of a drop off despite sending some very good players to the NFL. Miami will not miss seeing Freeman, who feasted on the 'Canes. But new feature TB Karlos Williams could end up being just as big a play maker.
What is to be Expected:
Unfortunately, Miami fans leave open the possibility of Sun Life being half full of FSU supporters. South Floridians will tell you they are like some crazy hybrid of snowbirds and traveling Nascar fans on steroids, that invade "The 305" for a week.
On top of that they will infest this site. To their credit many will be classy, but a good amount will troll the hell out of the place as well. In their defense many are starved for a day when the conflict on the field left less to be desired than that of the message boards.
And a certain writer on our rival's site will make the ludicrous insinuation that Miami won't play to win but only to keep the game close to impress recruits. Hogwash!!
But you know what?
Until Miami actually comes through and wins one of these games, we all have to sit back and take it.
Al Golden and staff have gained some ground in recruiting, but FSU clearly has it going on right now. No matter how you feel about his off the field indiscretions, Winston is an elite talent and a leader on the field.
The 'Canes HAVE to be improved this year on defense. The future and legacy of the Golden Era are dependent upon it. How that unit plays in this game could very well define the season.
But even if they are considerably better on that side of the ball, slowing down FSU and scoring enough on what should be a top 10 Florida State defense with a new starter at QB, are tall orders.
In a rivalry game though, you never know. Let's hope that Miami's players crave this win as bad as their fan base, and play their best game of the season. If an improved D can force 3 or 4 turnovers and a dynamic running game led by Johnson, Gus Edwards, and freshman Joe Yearby can keep Miami out of too many third and longs, they have a shot.