By: Dan Hauser
Wide Right….Wide Left….The Miami Muff. When someone hears these names chances are only one thing comes to mind. The University of Miami Hurricanes vs The Florida State Seminoles. Over the last 35+ years Miami and Florida State have played in some of the biggest games in college football, couple that with the fact that these two teams play in the same state and battle it out for recruits every year and its no wonder that their games have produced some of the highest television ratings in college football history. However since Miami joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004 the game has grown kind of stale. While the rivalry was still there, the stakes were not nearly as great. The days of the winner going to on to play for national championships and wide rights and lefts had been replaced with lackluster performances and mediocre teams. The dominance of the 1980s, 90’s and early 2000s were replaced with the inconsistency of the late 2000s. In fact one could argue that since both team have played in the same conference that the game has been nothing more than just another ACC game from a national perspective.
However all of that is about to change when the two teams meet in Miami on Saturday night at 8 PM. Both teams come into the game at 3-1 in the ACC and both are firmly in control of their own destiny when it comes to winning their respective divisions. The winner of this game will likely be a lock to play in the ACC championship game and it is likely that the two will face each other again on December 1st in Charlotte at the ACC title game. Florida State comes into the game ranked 14th in the country and posting both a top 15 offense and defense in the country. Led by EJ Manuel at quarterback and a wide receiving core that is 6 foot 1 and taller their offense averages 46 points a game through seven games.
Then you have Miami. Miami enters the game in the bottom half of the country in both offensive and defensive numbers and it has been a tale of two seasons for the young Hurricanes team. There is the lackluster Miami team that suffered blowout losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame and just couldn’t get into a rhythm last week in the loss to North Carolina. Then there is the Miami team that battled adversity to win games against Boston College, Georgia Teach, and NC State while putting up big numbers on the offensive side of the ball and locking down on defense when it counted in the fourth quarter.
On paper Florida State should have no problem winning this game. However, in rivalry games you throw out all the numbers because to these kids and coaching staffs this is the most important game of their season. For the players the winner gets bragging rights. For the coaching staffs they get the leg up in recruiting for the upcoming season. And for the fans, the game finally means something again.