As a Miami Hurricanes fan, of course all games are important, and certain games you take a little more serious than others. For instance, if the Canes are playing the Florida Gators or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, those games will obviously mean more, simply because they’re rivals.
But there’s one school, one team, one rival, that trumps everyone else for Miami, and that’s the Florida State Seminoles.
Without a doubt, Miami-FSU is THE game and THE rivalry when it comes to the Canes, and rivalry week is simply the best week of the year. Gameday between UM and the Noles is unmatched by anything, Christmas, Easter, nothing. Give me these two teams playing over everything else.
ITS OFFICIALLY FSU WEEK!!!!!!!! LET THE HATE RUN THROUGH YOU. WE’RE COMING FOR THAT W SEMINOLES pic.twitter.com/xHEHCkiLpZ— Rivalry Week. Beat FSU (@hurricanesmarsh) October 26, 2019
This rivalry was once perhaps the most fierce in the entire country, and at several different times too. In the late 80’s, UM coaches Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson had to get through Bobby Bowden and his Seminoles if they wanted to get to the national championship. When Miami was trying to get back on top of the college football mountain in the late 90’s and 2000, it was FSU who was top dogs, and the Canes again had to defeat the Noles.
These two schools have historically pushed each other to be better, because many times, one of the two teams was winning the title that season. From 1987 to 1999, Miami and FSU combined for five national championships, and played for several more.
While they may not be playing for the right to go to the championship in 2019, the intensity and bitterness between the teams, the players, even the fans, hasn’t lost a step at all.
FSU's staff and the refs literally formed a wall to keep the Seminoles separated from Miami as the two teams made their way off the field. This is a RIVALRY.— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) October 6, 2018
Growing up in South Florida in the early to mid 2000’s, where the majority of both schools players hail from, and at a time where Miami and FSU were two of the top teams in America, this game meant absolutely everything.
If you lost that game, it was going to be 365 days of pain. If UM lost to the Seminoles, I would absolutely dread having to go to school the next day because I had classmates who were FSU fans. If you play or coach at Miami, you MUST, you HAVE TO, beat Florida State, there's no other way around it.
I mean, Miami cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph has said it best, “coming in as a Hurricane, you know your number one objective is to beat the Florida State Seminoles.”
Jaquan Johnson: "Like Coach says, you come to Miami to beat FSU." Says in his mind, Miami-FSU is the best rivalry in college football.— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) July 18, 2018
Rumph’s teammate while at UM, offensive lineman Joaquin Gonzalez has also added, “this is one of the reasons you come to Miami, to play big time games especially with a rival like Florida State.” Gonzalez went on, “You come to Miami, ever since you’re born, you’re born to hate the Florida State Seminoles, and that’s the way they are, they hate the University of Miami.”
I mean, that says it all.
The first ever Canes game my father took me to was Canes-Noles, 2002, in the Orange Bowl, kickoff was at noon was it was about 125 degrees. I remember the FSU band playing the Tomahawk Chop after every play, seeing their fans do the chop too, and I began to hate Florida State from that day forth. That was also the day I was intruded to the Miami fans version of the Tomahawk Chop.........
The double-barreled one-finger salute is Miami's version of the gator chomp or tomahawk chop. It's everywhere as FSU takes the field.— Ben Jones (@BW_Jones) November 16, 2014
Ever since that day 17 years ago, my distaste for the Seminoles has grown and outweighs any other rival of my teams, and frankly no other team comes close to FSU for me. Miami vs Florida State was the first rivalry I truly ever knew, and even though I absolutely hate the Noles, I love this matchup with all my heart.
This game is college football to me, two traditional powerhouses, state bragging rights, so much is on the line. And trust me, I haven’t held back my feelings about that school in Tallahassee.
Man y’all thought I’m on Twitter a lot to begin with? Y’all haven’t seen me during FSU week let’s unleash the hate— Rivalry Week. Beat FSU (@hurricanesmarsh) October 27, 2019
This game has brought me some of the happiest moments of my life, and I know that may sound juvenile that a football game would mean that much, but I have no shame in saying it.
In 2017, Miami came into the FSU game having lost seven straight to the Noles, and that year the game was in Tallahassee, and I wasn’t too confident that we could end the streak. Down 20-17 with less than 15 seconds left, quarterback Malik Rosier hit receiver Darrell Langham for an incredible touchdown to put Miami ahead. Game over. Streak over. Canes win 24-20. I remember walking about of a sports bar on Hollywood Beach following that, feeling so much joy I could start crying.
And then the next year in 2018, FSU was playing the Canes in Miami, and it was on my birthday, so I had to go. What I witnessed being at that game, having the Hurricanes comeback from being down 27-7 in the third quarter to beat the Seminoles? It was almost a religious experience being at Hard Rock Stadium that day. When N’Kosi Perry hit Brevin Jordan to put the Canes in front, I can’t explain the emotion I felt right there.
Then again, this rivalry has also brought me to the lowest of lows. Remember, I became a real fan probably in 2003, so for the first couple years, I didn't know what losing to FSU was. Then 2005 came, and the Hurricanes lost to the Seminoles, 10-7, because we couldn't hold on to a field goal snap. I was crying, I was a wreck, I didn't realize that my mighty Canes could actually lose to FSU.
As a 12-year old diehard Canes fan in 2006, I sat in the rain at the Orange Bowl and watched Miami lose to Florida State again, 13-10. More heartbreak came that night, and trust me, the Seminoles have brought me much more pain as the years have gone on. thanks Dalvin Cook.
This rivalry is made up of memorable moments, plays that you remember your entire life. You have Florida State blocking Miami’s game-tying PAT in the final seconds to break UM’s heart again in 2016.
In 2001, Hurricane legend and NFL Hall of Famer, safety Ed Reed delivered one the more memorable speeches in college football history during halftime in Tallahassee. That game, Reed and Miami snapped FSU’s 54-game unbeaten streak at home.
Michael Barrow’s hit on Tamarick Vanover in 1992, you also have Stanford Samuels almost ending Roscoe Parrish on a rain soaked field in 2003.
The late great Sean Taylor had several memorable moments against Florida State in his collegiate career in 2002 and 2003.
In my opinion , the 2nd best hit ever ( behind the Barrow hit on Vanover ) by Sean Taylor on PK Sam pic.twitter.com/3y6HF9T6eC— DESTROY FSU (@LloydCreech1) July 30, 2019
Sean Taylor vs FSU 2003 pic.twitter.com/STaec5eRcQ— Rivalry Week. Beat FSU (@hurricanesmarsh) July 3, 2019
You can’t talk about this rivalry without mentioning....field goals. 1991, FSU missed a kick Wide Right in the final seconds as Miami won 17-16 in Tallahassee.
The very next year, down in the Orange Bowl, Canes up 19-16 with seconds to play, another Seminoles kick sails Wide Right, UM once again winning.
Fast forward to the year 2000, the Canes are trying upset #1 Florida State, and with Miami up 27-24, FSU had another field goal sail Wide Right, for the third time.
Oh but we still have one more! Two years later, again in Miami, this time the Canes are #1 and the Seminoles have an upset on their mind. UM up 28-27, and FSU is attempting a 43-yard field goal to win. Wide Left. Hurricanes escape.
I could write a book on this rivalry, but you get the point. This rivalry means something, no matter year it is, no matter what each teams record is, no matter who’s starting at quarterback, all that matters is Miami and Florida State going to war. This is our rivalry, and man I can't wait till Saturday.