Four hundred eighty-seven miles separate the campuses of The University of Miami and Florida State University. The two football programs have combined for 8 national titles and competed for state bragging rights sixty-three times including bowl games, dating back to their first clash in Miami on October 5, 1951. In a series which Miami claimed victories in the first five meetings and holds the series lead by a slim three game margin, this rivalry has seen it all. Everything from dominating blowouts, heart stopping nail biters, legendary coaches, dominating win streaks, epic story lines, heartbreaking missed field goals, devastating hits, breathtaking moments, huge comebacks, countless all time players, monumental contests in which national championship implications were evident, and everything in between, this rivalry captivated the nation for decades.
Even when Miami and Florida State are in the middle of down seasons as they are in 2019, the annual face-off between these rivals still finds a way to produce heart pumping thrillers such as the one we witnessed last year in Miami Gardens when the Hurricanes, led by a brilliant effort from N’Kosi Perry came back from 20 points down to beat the Seminoles. Another example was in 2007 when Miami scored two touchdowns in eleven seconds when Kirby Freeman entered the game in relief of the injured Kyle Wright and lobbed a pass to the back pylon that was caught by Dedrick Epps putting Miami up 30-29. That play was followed up by a Colin McCarthy fumble return for a touchdown. Again, this series has seen it all, at least we think.
With all of the players that have contributed so many memorable plays, majestic story lines, and have managed to etch their names in the hearts and minds of Canes and Noles fans everywhere, only one individual can stake claim to be called he greatest player in this rivalry. This iconic player was key in accounting for five Miami victories during his playing days and as a redshirt freshman, he was responsible for 6 turnovers when Miami flat out embarrassed the Seminoles in front of a then, record crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium ending the Noles 54 game home unbeaten streak. In 2003 when Miami and FSU faced off twice in a matter of two and half months, the greatest player in the history of this contest had his name written all over three turnovers for Miami.
The 6’4’’ 210 lb. product out of Santa Margarita California was a can’t miss prospect in which he was a top ten player at his position, promising certain success to any school that landed his services. As a high school prospect, he even lead California in a victory over Florida in the annual Cali-Florida Bowl. Impressive when you figure the state of Florida has always been known to produce the best football talent in the nation. In the end, the always appreciated Chris Rix signed on the dotted line for the Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles as part of the 2000 recruiting class.
In his career, Rix amassed 40 interceptions, 9 of which came at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes defense over a span of 5 games. The stat that resonates with me the most when thinking about the GOAT and how great a player Chris Rix was for Miami, I remember the following. I will never forget reading the graphic during the 2004 Orange Bowl when sideline reporter and NFL great Lynn Swann blessed Canes fans with this stat...
Entering the 2004 Orange Bowl Miami had scored 99 points as a team versus FSU in their last 3 meetings...THIRTY-NINE of the 99 points came off of Rix turnovers. This is when I fell in love with the GOAT. This is when I knew that he was a true Cane, born to slay everything garnett & gold. Even even tried to decapitate himself as evidenced in the image below.
Rix built such a rapport with his favorite target Sean Taylor, that Taylor could have made his college hi-lite reel off of Chris Rix turnovers alone. It’s important that Miami Hurricanes football fans always remember the legend that is Chris Rix. He always came trough in the clutch whenever Miami needed a big play. Always good for timely bonehead plays, he was the sole reason behind 5 Miami victories throughout his tenure at Florida State. Always putting the team before himself, he showed the heart of a true Cane. Going undefeated against a long time, instate rival goes a long way, and for all the reasons mentioned in this article (and dozens that were left out), Chris Rix will always be the best player in this rivalry for Miami bar none. People point to Brock Berlin as being that dude, I vehemently disagree. Not only did Rix play a large part in certain Miami Hurricane players being drafted, but he even has own own catch phrase “Rix Happens”. Brock could never. So tomorrow, when your Miami Hurricanes line up to face off the hated Seminoles in Tallahassee, send Chris a quick tweet and attach the link to this article in your tweet as a reminder of his greatness. Thank you to Chris Rix the GOAT; hated seeing you go.