With the recent report that Miami and Alabama are negotiating a potential season-opening game in the Chick-fil-A classic for the 2021 season, that got me to thinking: what other teams would I like to see the Canes play in the future?
After a bit of thought here’s my top 5 most wanted future non-conference opponents list. (A quick note: I’m not listing games that are on the future schedule already — Florida, LSU, Michigan State — or that are already being discussed — Alabama.)
#5: Washington Huskies
This may not be a team you’ve followed, what with them being all the way up in Seattle and whatnot, but Washington is a traditional program with a long history of excellence. UW went to the College Football Playoff last year, so yeah, they’re pretty decent.
Miami and Washington have played 3 times in the past. UW won the first 2 games, including being the team to end Miami’s record 58 game home winning streak with a 38-20 win at the Orange Bowl (RIP) in 1994, and being only team to beat the 2000 Canes, 34-29. Miami got a measure of revenge in the last game between these teams, demolishing the Huskies 65-7 in 2001 on their way to a National Championship.
With both Miami and Washington now rebounding from some lean years — Washington is admittedly further along this path at current — it would be nice to see these 2 former powerhouses revive their series now that both teams are playing at a high level.
#4: Texas Longhorns
Another rebuilding National CFB brand — arguably the BIGGEST CFB Brand because it’s TEXAS — the Longhorns are my 4th most wanted future opponent.
Just like Miami, Texas has fallen on some lean times in recent years. But, they have a new coach, offensive guru Tom Herman, and look to get back to being the dominant team that they were in the past.
As far as history between Miami and Texas, these teams have played 4 times, with each team winning twice. But, you don’t care about those games from the 70s. You care about the 1991 Cotton Bowl, when Miami DESTROYED Texas 46-3, and it could have been worse than that; Miami famously had 16 penalties for 202 yards which kept the score from really getting out of hand.
The Cotton Bowl Beatdown in 1991 was the last time Miami and Texas faced off on the gridiron. 2 of CFB’s most well-known brands haven’t shared a field in over 25 years. Just imagine a good Miami team and a good Texas team in a major bowl game or marquee season-opening game. ESPN/ABC would get some of the highest ratings in their history. Ticket prices would be through the roof...AND SELL OUT. Scalpers would make money. T-shirt companies and “independent entrepreneurs” would make money hand over fist. There’s literally no downside to this game happening.
Plus, you don’t think Texas fans and alums don’t want payback for 46-3? You think that the current Canes don’t want to uphold the legacy and lay another beatdown on UT? There’s motivation all over the place. This would be SOOOO good.
Come on back, Randall!
#3: Georgia Bulldogs
While Miami has played both Washington and Texas in the last 30 years, the same can not be said for team #3 on my list: Georgia.
The last time these teams faced off was 50 (!!) years ago in the 1966 season. Miami won that game 7-6 at the Orange Bowl. That was the 12th game all-time between these schools, with Georgia holding a 4-7-1 edge. For you youngsters, there used to be ties in college football, so that last number in the W/L record means there was a game in which Miami and Georgia ended with the same number of points. Crazy, I know.
The connection to want to see this game is clear: Miami head coach Mark Richt worked at Georgia for 15 years until he was fired. Georgia has recruited several players from South Florida in recent years, including Sony Michel, Isaiah McKenzie, and Cavin “Riley” Ridley.
There is a quiet respect between Miami and Georgia fans at current, based largely on their respect for Mark Richt. But, friends can become foes for a day, and this would be a great game.
Just think about all the storylines available: Mark Richt once coached at Georgia; Both teams are coached by alums (Kirby Smart and Mark Richt); Both teams are trying to get back to championship level performance; South Florida recruiting connection for UGA; Georgia recruiting connection for Miami; and the list goes on and on.
We almost got this matchup during bowl season following the 2016 CFB season, but almost isn’t good enough. I want this game and I want it now.
#2: USC Trojans
Now we’re talkin’. #2 on my most wanted future opponent list is none other than the USC Trojans.
Like Miami, USC is a small private school with a long tradition of football excellence, with many National Championships and Heisman Trophy winners to their credit. USC has classic uniforms for the team and cheerleaders (look ‘em up), a GREAT fightsong, and elite talent across the roster at every position.
Miami and USC have played only twice before. Miami won the 1966 game between unranked teams 10-7 in the Orange Bowl. #2 USC beat unranked Miami 28-3 at the LA Coliseum in the 1968 game. And there ends the list of games Miami and USC have ever played.
Now, if you, like me, follow recruiting, you know that Miami and USC have gone head to head for several players recently, with all but one of them (freshman DE DJ Johnson) picking the Trojans. So, there have been non-game battles between these teams, but USC has a heavy, HEAVY advantage therein.
While I have this game #2 for personal reasons (you’ll see what I mean in a minute), this could easily be the #1 game, and probably is for many people. If you thought Miami-Texas was gonna be a marquee national game, Miami-USC would surely break viewership records. East Coast vs West Coast. Private school vs Private school. 2 legacy programs. People would debate 2001 Miami vs 2003 USC (there’s no debate bc 2001 Miami is the best CFB team ever assembled, but at least they’d talk about it). And much, much more.
I mean, Miami-USC in the 2024 season opener at Jerry World in Arlington, TX sounds good to me. Make it happen.
#1: Michigan Wolverines
If you know me, and you kinda do since you’ve been reading my words and watching my videos for going on 4 full seasons now, you know that I’m a Detroit native who grew up rooting for Michigan before I came to The U for college. So, there’s no greater game that I want to see than Miami-Michigan.
Like most of the teams on this list, there have been precious few games between these 2 programs in years gone by. #14 Michigan beat #1 Miami 22-14 at the Big House in Ann Arbor in 1984. That was Jimmy Johnson’s first season in Coral Gables. #1 Miami returned to Ann Arbor to play #15 Michigan for the 2nd game of the 1988 season, winning a 31-30 thriller with a huge comeback, scoring 17 points in the final 5 minutes 23 seconds to stun Michigan and earn a huge win.
Miami and Michigan played when I was 3 and 7 years old, respectively. Needless to say, that was a long time ago.
Since they last played, both teams have won National Championships (1996 for Michigan, 1989, 1991, and 2001 for Miami). Both teams have had multiple 1st round picks (Miami more than anyone). Both teams have rebounded from down years behind alumni coaches who once played QB at their alma maters (Jim Harbaugh at Michigan and Mark Richt at Miami). And, just like every other team I’ve listed, this would be a matchup of marquee programs that would surely make for a huge spectacle and gigantic ratings.
For me, personally, I couldn’t ask for a better game. The team of my youth (Michigan) vs the team of my choosing (Miami). I have several friends and family members who went to Michigan, and I personally went to Miami. I was at Michigan Stadium for Kordell Stewart’s hail mary to Brian Westbrook, and I was in the Orange Bowl for Wide Right 3 and Wide Left.
If there were 2 schools that were the foundation of my college football fandom, they would be Michigan and Miami in some order.
This is the game I would work to have happen every year in the NCAA football video game. This is the game that, from the day that I chose Miami as my college home, I’ve wanted to see happen.
I need this like I need my next breath. Please, PLEASE, let this game happen. For me.
Those are my top 5 most wanted non-conference games. What are yours? Leave a comment and let me know.