It’s one of the greatest, most intense rivalries in college football and the heat has been turned up to its highest level since the late 1980s. Miami and Florida State renew their instate battle Saturday night in Tallahassee.
The speed and talent displayed on the football field when the two teams meet is incomparable. The ultimate in smack talk between the most gifted players in the country is to be expected.
Maybe Auburn-Alabama compares on a national level with this civil war that dates back to 1951, but only those two schools understand what’s at stake every year they meet. Since 1983 Miami and Florida State have combined for eight national championships. This game has played a role each time in some form or fashion.
The Canes, although leading the all-time series 31-28, need some sort of spark as a program to spring it back to prominence once again. Games like these provide such opportunity. FSU has certainly benefitted in recent times, winning five straight and eight of the last 10 meetings between the two schools while marching to one national championship and making college football’s inaugural playoffs last season.
But this game transcends mere statistics. It’s high school teammates versus high school teammates. It’s prep rivals against prep rivals. It’s neighbor versus neighbor. One thing is for sure, when they step on the football field, whatever friendship that may have developed growing up, is set to the sideline for those 60 minutes.
It’s more than a football game. It’s about bragging rights. It’s personal.
Joe Yearby, the Canes’ leading rusher with 424 yards and FSU’s Dalvin Cook, who leads the ACC in rushing with 570 yards excelled as teammates on the same high school team. The two led Miami Central High School to back-to-back state championships in 2013 and 2014.
As a running back tandem Yearby and Cook became one of the most prolific in South Florida High School football history. Combined the two rushed for nearly 10,000 yards and more than 130 touchdowns as leaders in a Rockets football program that won three consecutive state titles (2012-14).
Yearby had initially made a verbal commitment to Florida State before ultimately deciding on The U, illustrating just how intertwined and deeply rooted this rivalry goes.
“Wide right” is perhaps the most synonymous phrase associated with it, but so many more memorable moments highlight this match up. It’s one that represents the highs and the lows of many college football careers. Memorable moments that last a lifetime and some that can’t be forgotten.
Current Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher made a home for himself in Tallahassee first by owning Miami and secondly but winning a national championship. That’s the order of importance in this rivalry, one he has never lost in.
Pundits pontificate on the options left in saving the job of Canes coach Al Golden. The enormity of this game, this rivalry, is such that a victory on Saturday just might be the answer. In desperate need of a signature win since arriving at Coral Gables, Golden has never won the annual grudge match with Florida State. He is surely dying to learn just how meaningful the taste of victory truly is in this heated series.
Miami and Florida State, Saturday night in primetime, just the way it should be.