Growing up as a Miami Hurricanes fan, there was one game that you looked forward to each and every season. One game that you either caused you 365 days of joy, or 365 days of pure hell with the pain of defeat still stinging. A game that literally meant so much, not just to your team, but to you personally, that even the thought of losing sent you into depression.
That game was Florida State.
Whenever the Canes and the Noles lined up to face each other, it seemed that the battle of good versus evil was being played out, and that the fate of the world hung in the balance. Or at least, the fate of the state of Florida. In reality, the winner of this rivalry game would more often than not, go on to play for the national championship.
As a kid in the early 2000’s, the Miami-Florida State game was absolutely everything to me. The first ever Canes game my father took me to was Miami’s 28-27 win over FSU in 2002. I remember watching Brian Monroe bobble the snap in 2005, and UM losing 10-7, I truly thought my life was over. Still to this day, whenever I'm in a pissed off mood, I play the FSU Warchant, just to make me even more mad.
Unfortunately, this once great rivalry, has died off over the past decade, and with it, the level of hatred and feeling of importance.
From the 1980’s up until the mid 2000’s, both of these teams were two of the top programs in all of college football, and this was considered the best rivalry in America. During a span from 1986 to 2004, each time these two schools met, at least one of them was ranked in the top-10.
Since 2007, nine of the meetings between UM and FSU have included an unranked team. It’s just not the same anymore. Only one time since 2004, have both schools been ranked in the top-10 when they met with each other.
I attended the 2018 game down in Miami, and there were still empty seats as both teams took the field, and I was shocked. Back in even 2006, the Orange Bowl was jam-packed with 20 minutes to go until the coin-toss.
That’s when I see the Seminoles struggling, like they are now, it doesn’t make me happy, because that’s not good for the rivalry. When Miami plays Florida State, I want everything to be on the line, and I want the Canes to feel like they just beat one of the best teams in the country.
Mike Rumph, cornerbacks coach for Miami and former Hurricane player said in ESPN’s “30 For 30: The U Part 2” that, “coming in as a Hurricane, you knew your number one objective is to beat the Florida State Seminoles.” That’s the kind of mentality that UM players should have, that their number one goal that season is to beat that team up in Tallahassee. In that same documentary, legendary Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma, said that one of the reasons that he came to UM is to play Florida State.
So you have these kids growing up, and they just don’t know. They don’t know what it was like to be in the Orange Bowl, and to hear the Warchant going on at one side of the stadium, and the Miami chants going on at the other side with over 80,000 in attendance. They don’t know what it was like to see both schools playing each other and both ranked in the top-5, and if you lost, your season was literally over. All we have now is fans arguing on Twitter to who is a worse program, when both teams are coming off embarrassing 2018 seasons.
So, Manny Diaz and Willie Taggart, if you’re listening, please emphasize this game to your players, because it’s not just Miami and FSU fans that miss this rivalry, the entire country does too.