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ProCanes vs ProNoles: Does Miami Still Run the NFL?

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What would happen if the current pros squared off in this classic rivalry?

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
Two of Miami’s very own
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Miami is obviously known as ‘NFL U’ and ‘The Pipeline to the Pros’. It seems every year Miami is re-knighted as the factory that spits out the most NFL talent, and not just NFL talent but NFL stars and all-pros. While that talent has been largely depleted recently due to retirements, the U is starting to refill the pool with a crop of young players entering the league.

Florida State has also been sending their fair share of players to the league given the recent success of the Noles football program. This begs the question: if you lined up current NFL players from both schools and let them go at it on the gridiron, who would win?

Let’s break this down position by position and have a closer look, shall we?

Quarterback

FSU: Jameis Winston

Miami: Brad Kaaya

Not a great start. Jameis is coming into his own and becoming a young star in the league. Miami on the other hand hasn’t had a legitimate NFL starting QB since Vinny Testaverde. Sorry Brad.

Point FSU

Running Back

FSU: Devonta Freeman

Miami: Frank Gore

If you had Freeman on your fantasy team last year, you probably did pretty damn well. But Frank Gore is Frank Gore. He is a future hall of famer and still has juice left in the tank get in the end zone. The debate here is whether to choose Lamar Miller over Gore, but due to experience and career success I went with Frank the Tank. I’ll trust him with the ball any day.

Point Miami

Wide Receivers

FSU: Kelvin Benjamin, Rashad Greene, Travis Rudolph

Miami: Allen Hurns, Travis Benjamin, Duke Johnson

Other than Benjamin, the Noles don’t have much to offer. Kelvin is a big end zone target, but he won’t be able to stretch the field. Miami’s Benjamin, on the other hand, is the definition of speed. Send him straight down the field every play and bomb it. Allen Hurns has proven his worth by earning a huge contract last year. I put Duke Johnson here because let’s face it, my guy is probably a better NFL receiver than RB. Use the quick game in the slot with Duke and watch him work his magic.

Point Miami

Tight End

FSU: Nick O’Leary

Miami: Jimmy Graham

I’m sure you all chuckled at this one. Rather than using words on Nick O’Leary let’s talk about the Canes. Jimmy Graham is Miami’s redzone trump card and a mismatch all over the field. Seattle probably isn’t the best fit for him, but New Orleans Jimmy is begging to be reawakened. I didn’t forget about Njoku, but he’s only a rookie and still mostly unproven. Kid is a monster though.

Point Miami, duh

Offensive Line:

FSU: Cameron Erving, Bobby Hart, Josue Matias, Kareem Are, Rodney Hudson

Miami: Ereck Flowers, Seantrel Henderson, Jon Feliciano, Danny Isidora, Brandon Linder

Honestly, it was tough to come up with an FSU starting five. Apart from Cameron Erving and Rodney Hudson there’s not much Noles O-Line talent in the league. Erving is decent, I’ll give him that. For the Canes, the line is anchored by one of the best centers in the league, Brandon Linder. Jaguars paid him handsomely for it too. Ereck Flowers was a first round pick, but is tough to watch on the Giants. Maybe that says more about the poor Giants than Flowers. The rest of the Miami linemen fill in well enough to get the job done.

Point Miami

Let’s get a halftime score recap: Miami 4 FSU 1…nice!

Defensive Line

FSU: Timmy Jernigan, Eddie Goldman, Tank Carradine, Mario Edwards

Miami: Calais Campbell, Olivier Vernon, Allen Bailey, Olsen Pierre

This is a tough one to score. Across the entire line, FSU is pretty stacked. They are all very solid pros and would definitely be tough for Miami’s offensive line to handle. Miami has two outstanding DEs in Campbell and Vernon, and maybe that would be enough in a game scenario. Allen Bailey is naturally an NFL DE but would have to slide inside for this one. There’s no one else left to fill the remaining tackle spot but Olsen Pierre. Case-in-point, Miami has struggled to produce top DT talent recently (but that will change soon, looking at you RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton). I know, I know Campbell and Vernon are fantastic, but I have to be fair.

Point FSU

Linebackers

(make sure you’re sitting down for this one)

FSU: Nigel Bradham, Christian Jones, Telvin Smith

Miami: Anthony Chickillo, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Raphael Kirby

So uh, I think the Noles have this one. Nigel Bradham is a beast. I still get night sweats from the hit he laid on Aldarius Johnson. Christian Jones ain’t no chump either. Chickillo has been playing well for the Steelers this year, but that’s not enough to carry the rest of the Miami linebackers. Denzel Perryman is unfortunately on IR, so can’t participate in this game. Get well soon my friend.

Point FSU

Defensive Backfield

(please remain seated for this one as well)

FSU: Xavier Rhodes, Jalen Ramsey, Lamarcus Joyner, Terrence Brooks

Miami: Artie Burns, LaDarius Gunter, Rayshawn Jenkins, Jamal Carter

What has happened to the days of DB U?! Again, tough to beat the Noles on this one even considering Ronald Darby is sidelined with injury. Rhodes, Ramsey, and Joyner is a pretty stacked secondary. Travis Benjamin better run his butt off. Miami will lock Artie Burns on Kelvin Benjamin and the rest is a hope and a prayer. But hey, at least the Jenkins-Carter bash bros are reunited!

Point FSU

Score at End of Regulation: FSU 4 Miami 4

Gross. Ties should not exist, but in the NFL they are unfortunately possible. As Mark Richt continues to sign top tier talent, I expect the Canes to firmly reassert themselves as the gold standard for NFL talent. Interesting takeaway here, pro talent is fairly equal between the two teams despite drastically different collegiate success. I think we can all agree that tide will soon change.

What do you guys think? Would you send out different starting lineups or did I miss someone? Let us know in the comments.

P.S. Go away Nate