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A Historical Breakdown of the “Rivalry” Between Miami and Louisville

For such a supposedly strong college football rivalry, this didn’t take me long. Ugh.

Miami v Louisville
Miami and Louisville begin their annual matchup in 2023. I’m not calling it a rivalry because it isn’t.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Question to all my fellow Cane fans: what’s the most important game between the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals? Besides the 2004 showdown when Devin Hester was a one-man wrecking crew on punt returns, and both teams were ranked in the top 20, the correct answer is none. There has not been one other game between Miami and Louisville with any significance. However, since these two teams will be playing each other every year starting in 2023 for some reason, let’s look at the short and unimportant history of this matchup.

The Early Years

Miami and Louisville played three times between 1933 and 1978. Miami won two games: 33-7 in 1933 and 26-0 in 1945. The game in 1950 ended in a 13-13 tie. I can hardly contain my excitement. These games were played so long ago, the only thing I have to say is a fun fact regarding Miami’s football coach in 1933, Thomas E. “Tom” McCann. He also coached the Miami basketball team in the 1928-29 and 1931-32 seasons. See how pathetic this is already?!


The Hurricanes and Cardinals played every year but one from 1979 to 1985. Miami won all six contests. The closest margin of victory was 12 points in 1979. The largest margin of victory was 38 points when a Jimmy Johnson-led Miami squad beat former coach Howard Schnellenberger in his first year with Louisville. The fact that Coach Schnellenberger was coaching against Miami less than two years after leading them to a National Championship was by far the most interesting aspect of the matchup during this seven-year stretch. Yikes.

University of West Virginia Mountaineers vs University of Louisville Cardinals
Coach Schnellenberger didn’t stand a chance against Miami in 1985.
Photo by Allsport/Getty Images


After the thrilling Miami victory in 2004, Louisville took control of this intense and budding rivalry (ha-ha). First, they helped end the Larry Coker era with a 31-7 beatdown in 2006. I do remember this game. It was worse than the final score showed and proved that Coker couldn’t keep up with the new and improved college football offensive systems. Next, Teddy Bridgewater torched Al Golden’s and Mark D’Onofrio’s awful defensive scheme for 447 passing yards in a 36-9 win in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. I was living in Orlando when this game was played there. Needless to say, I didn’t have any interest in attending. Finally, notorious scumbag Bobby Petrino returned to coach Louisville in 2014, when they beat Miami easily, 31-13. Another double-digit loss for Al Golden. (Deep sigh).

Miami Hurricanes v Louisville Cardinals
Is Louisville’s stadium still sponsored by Papa John’s? I don’t know and I don’t care.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images


Thankfully, Miami rebounded with two convincing victories: 52-27 in 2019 and 47-34 in 2020. And under Coach Manny Diaz no less! There were some exciting spots in these games. In 2019, Jarren Williams broke the Hurricane record for touchdown passes in a single game with six. In 2020, Miami scored on back-to-back offensive plays with 75-yard touchdowns by running backs Cam Harris and Jaylon Knighton. Miami and Louisville play again in 2023.

Miami v Louisville
Let’s hope Miami can keep the current win streak over Louisville going.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

And that’s it. That’s the entirety of the history of the football “rivalry” between the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals. I covered it in about 500 words. Lame.

Final Thoughts

If you couldn’t tell by my tone in this article, I am annoyed by the ACC’s decision to make Louisville one of Miami’s three main rivals in the new 3-5-5 schedule, joining Florida State and Boston College. First of all, I wouldn’t rank BC as Miami’s second-biggest rival. It’s Virginia Tech. And it’s not close. UM vs VT has happened 39 times. Off the top of my head, I can think of four meaningful matchups from the 2000s alone: ‘01 and ‘02 games, where Miami wins and they’re playing for the natty, ‘03 when VT stomps us 31-7, ending Miami’s 39-game regular season winning streak, and ‘05 when Miami rolls into Lane Stadium and dominates Marcus Vick and company, 27-7. Miami and VT have played four times when both teams were ranked in the top ten, and 11 times when both teams were ranked in the top 25. Those are RIVALRY numbers. But hey, any time you can schedule two teams who have played a total of 15 times in 90 years as yearly “rivals”, you have to do it, right?