I hate the Florida State Seminoles. I hate them not only because I’m supposed to as a Miami fan but because it feels good. In sports, and competition in general, rivalries are what drives a person or team to be better and improve. Whether it’s between you and your sibling or two nationally prominent football programs, a healthy rivalry is always a good thing. Hatred does not mean wishing ill on players or berating fans, a healthy hatred of your rival means hoping they lose each and every week. And especially so on weeks like this one.
Passionate disdain for your opponent is what makes the game so much more fun to watch. Defeating FSU gives such a euphoric feeling, especially for a younger fan such as myself, who had only seen Miami have success against the Noles in TV replays. While the long losing streak made last season’s win especially elating, having hatred for FSU is a big part of it. Feeling so invested in the failure of your rival makes the highs of winning higher and the lows of losing lower. When Miami fell to FSU in 2015, after a furious Noles comeback, I sat silent in a room and wondered what just happened. When Miami finally broke the streak last season, it was a feeling of relief and exultation that I had never felt as a Hurricanes’ fan.
Even while living away from the Miami-Dade area, the rivalry hasn’t been dulled for me. When Miami’s schedule is released, the first thing I, as I’m sure many others, do is look at when the FSU game is. It’s a game I watch with unflinching focus, like a favorite movie that somehow still surprises with twists and turns. Watching Miami play UNC or UVA just isn’t the same. The history and the hate between the teams isn’t the same. But watching the Canes play the Seminoles, you don’t want to leave your seat.
The 2018 version of this rivalry will be no different. No, this meeting won’t feature the highest stakes for these two teams. Miami is just 17th and FSU has been unranked since losing to Virginia Tech in week one. Both teams are on a winning streak but while Miami has had impressive outings against less than impressive teams, FSU has been squeaking by some truly subpar squads. Miami is on the upswing, poised to once again be rolling toward a Coastal Division title and maybe, being a legit threat to Clemson. FSU is mired in mediocrity, stuck with a coach who seems in over his head.
Still though, records, stats, rankings; all of it goes out the window when these two teams meet. The last four games have been decided by just five points or fewer. These included the 2015 Miami squad that got Al Golden fired and a 2014 team that finished 6-7. It’s hard to say FSU looks better or worse than those two teams at the moment but regardless, both teams are going to leave everything out on the field. Put on your fatigues because this game, like every year, is going to be a war for 60 minutes.
This game, this rivalry, is part of the mystique of Miami swagger. Having a hated in-state rival, a game that brings out the best in both teams even when one is having a down year, is something few other teams can claim. It doesn’t get any better than this. And while I love this rivalry, I hate Florida State. It’s like Silky Johnson said, I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and nobody else but you.