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Miami-Florida State. It’s Just Different

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As a Canes fan, no other game matters. This is Miami and FSU

Florida State v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It was October 26th, 2019, our Miami Hurricanes had just pulled off a dramatic 16-12 win over Pittsburgh on the road, and later that evening, it finally hit me. IT WAS OFFICIALLY FSU WEEK!

The greatest time of the year, the most magical week you can dream up as a sports fan, it’s the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles. Nothing else matters, this is THE GAME.

Wow, after typing all that I'm ready for kickoff. Then I realize it’s still 127 days until these two teams meet on November 7th.

I’m a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan, so I hate the Eagles. I’m a diehard Yankees fan, so I hate the Red Sox. Even so, still doesn’t come close for my feelings about FSU. That’s how much I love this rivalry. No matter the day, no matter the time, I am always ready to talk about the Canes and the Noles. This game, this rivalry, means absolutely everything to me as a Miami Hurricanes fan.

I know there are many Miami fans who will claim the Gators as our biggest rival, or maybe even Notre Dame. But for me, it’s FSU at number-one, and frankly, the other teams aren’t in consideration as far as I'm concerned.

Growing up in the early 2000’s, Miami didn’t play Florida every year, they didn’t play Notre Dame every year, but I did know, that every season, that team from Tallahassee would be on the schedule. The first game my father ever took me to was the classic Wide Left matchup in 2002 against the Seminoles. From then on, I was hooked, not just on Canes football, but for despising Florida State.

The most vile sound in human existence, is the chop that the FSU band plays after EVERY SINGLE PLAY. Seeing 80,000 Seminoles fans join in on the chop, it’s nauseating.

This rivalry is what taught me hatred, and it’s stuck with me ever since. There’s just something about being the stands during Miami-FSU, when the fans would chant or yell, you could see their faces boiling, and when they said whatever they said, they meant it.

Same case with the players playing on the field. When it’s Florida State, there’s a different level of energy for the Hurricanes coaches and players. The emotion is there, the passion is on full-display, trash-talking is everywhere, there’s nothing quite like it.

The moments that this rivalry has produced, just in my time as a fan over the past 15-so years, are simply amazing. Jacory Harris shredding the Noles defense in Tallahassee in 2009. Sean Taylor winning the game, basically by himself, in 2003. Frank Gore scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime in 2004.

When Malik Rosier hit Darryl Langham for the game-winning score in 2017, snapping the seven-year streak of losing to FSU, that was one of the best moments of my life. I flew down for the 2018 game, and witnessed the Seminoles giving up a 27-7 lead. By far, the best game I've ever seen in person.

Sadly, this rivalry has also produced some of my saddest moments as a Hurricanes fan. Brian Monroe mishandling the field goal snap in 2005, Dalvin Cook terrorizing Miami in 2015 and 2016. That 2016 game, let me tell you, when the Noles blocked Michael Badgley’s potential game-tying PAT, I was debating giving up on football. That was probably the most heartbreaking loss I've ever been through as a sports fan.

I will say this, having lived in Tallahassee for two years, I came to respect their program and their fans. Between Miami and Florida State, there’s hatred and lots of it, but there’s mutual respect. Most of the players on both teams grew up playing against each-other, whether it was in little league or high school. And plus, FSU kept Miami on the schedule for all those years, which can’t be said for another school in the state of Florida.....

And no offense to the FSU-UF rivalry, but when both schools are good, there are few rivalries in the country that can compare to Miami-Florida State. There’s a reason why ESPN decided to re-run some of the greatest games between the Hurricanes and the Seminoles, and not the Gators vs the Seminoles.

Now, that doesn’t change the fact that I loathe the garnet and gold with every fiber of my being. When gameday actually arrives, actually just game week in general, and it’s Miami-FSU, I change. For six straight days, I feel like I'm Rocky Balboa walking to the boxing ring. I’m jittery, I'm continually watching old clips of Willis McGahee running down the sideline in 2002, or Jeremy Shockey catching the touchdown from Ken Dorsey in 2000. If Manny Diaz gave me a pair of shoulder pads, I'd lead UM out onto the field if I could.

Also, I don't care what the record of each team is when they play each other. It’s Miami-FSU, records are thrown out the window for this game, because anything can happen. Even when both teams entered the 2019 matchup with 4-4 records, I was as hyped as ever, and when Jarren Williams hit Dee Wiggins for the game-clinching touchdown, my cheers could’ve been heard from Tallahassee.

If you win, you’re buying peace, you have bragging rights for a year. But if you lose, it’s 365 days of pain. It’s Miami-Florida State, it’s just different.