One of the games I’ve been anxiously waiting to see this season finally happens on Saturday – Miami at Florida State.
In college football history, it’s a relatively new rivalry, but there are few that can match the intensity of the clashes between the Seminoles and Hurricanes.
I’ve been fortunate in my career to get a front row seat to the rivalry spanning part of three decades.
The first of those was from 1978 to 1984 when I was in St. Petersburg. It was a time when Bobby Bowden was just starting to build his Seminole dynasty. He had a 4-3 edge against the Hurricanes. Two of FSU’s losses during that span were by a single point, 10-9 in 1980 and 17-16 in 1983. He also lost 26-25, in 1987 and 17-6 in 1991. I was around for the first two of those games before returning to work in South Carolina for 14 years.
That frustration against UM once prompted Bowden to crack about what his tombstone should read.
“As good as we were, we didn’t win a National Championship until 1993, mainly because we kept losing to Miami on missed kicks,” Bowden said. “I used to get mad because nobody else would play Miami. Notre Dame would play them, then drop them. Florida dropped them. Penn State dropped them.
“We would play Miami and lose by one point on a missed field goal, and it would knock us out of the National Championship. I didn’t want to play them, either, but I had to play them. That’s why I said, When I die, They’ll say, ‘At least he played Miami.”
My second stint covering the rivalry came when I was named the sports editor in Tallahassee and got to know Bowden a little more over the next eight years. Miami had a 6-3 edge during that stretch but five of the games were decided by three of fewer points.
So, overall I’ve seen the Hurricanes when nine times and FSU prevail seven times. I’m predicting Miami will prevail Saturday, ending the Seminoles streak of seven wins in the series.
NOTE: All times Central. The picks are first made available each week in my weekly blogs on the ACC, Big Ten and SEC. Projected winners in bold caps.
N.C. STATE 39, Louisville 25
Wake Forest at CLEMSON, Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ESPN2
Duke at VIRGINIA, Saturday 11:20 p.m., ACC Network
Pittsburgh at SYRACUSE, Saturday 11:30 p.m., ACC Network
MIAMI at Florida State, Saturday 2:30 p.m., ESPN
NOTRE DAME at North Carolina, Saturday 2:30 p.m., ABC
VIRGINIA TECH at Boston College, Saturday 6:15 p.m., ESPN2
Last Week: 8-0 Overall: 35-7
GEORGIA at Vanderbilt, Saturday 11 a.m., ESPN
Mississippi at AUBURN, Saturday 11 a.m., SEC Network
LSU at FLORIDA, Saturday 2:30 p.m., CBS
Arkansas at SOUTH CAROLINA, Saturday 3 p.m., SEC Network
ALABAMA at Texas A&M, Saturday 6:15 p.m., ESPN
Missouri at KENTUCKY, Saturday 6:30 p.m., SEC Network
LAST WEEK: 8-0 OVERALL: 35-9
Illinois at IOWA, 11 a.m., BTN
PENN STATE at Northwestern, 11 a.m., ABC
Minnesota at PURDUE, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Charleston Southern at INDIANA, 2:30 p.m., BTN
Maryland at OHIO STATE, 3 p.m., FOX
Michigan State at MICHIGAN, 6;30 p.m., ABC
Wisconsin at NEBRASKA, 7 p.m., BTN
Last Week: 6-1 Overall: 35-10