Recently, I talked about how certain American sports rivalries have died out. The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminole rivalry is no exception. In the 1990's. This was the top rivalry in the nation- On and off the field. These two programs were constantly ranked in the top 10 and often battling for National Champions. Not only were the battles for bowl games, but for top recruits. These two programs have always been on the prowl for top recruits across the state of Florida- especially in South Florida. Whenever you found a recruiter from one program, you know the counterpart was there, as well.
This rivalry was also made famous by FSU place kickers over the years. Have you ever heard of "Wide Right?" FSU lost more than one game to Miami in the last seconds by missing field goals wide to the right. In fact, in 2002, FSU place kicker Xavier Beitia, missed a kick wide to the left. This was a change to the trend that happened in the 90's
So why did both programs drop in polls in the last decade? Well, as I discussed in a previous post, these two ACC schools went through tough situations- Especially, Miami. The U, as the University of Miami football team is recognized by many, was sanctioned by NCAA on a couple of occasions. In fact, just a week ago, they were placed on probation. These sanctions have come with reduced amount of scholarships, which hinder the recruiting process. Also, these two programs did not adjust to strengthening competition within the state of Florida. The University of Florida, who reemerged as a national powerhouse when Urban Meyer took over as head coach in 2005, sold recruits well. In fact, they constantly had top 5 recruiting classes in Meyer's reign. Another school, the University of South Florida, recruited well for a couple of years (2006-2008). In fact, they were ranked as high as #2 in the 2007 regular season. In other words, it wasn't a 2-horse race anymore.
So as FSU went through a coaching change a few years ago, their recruiting improved again. They've gone back to that flashy style of play. They can beat you with the long-ball or an 80-yard run for the touchdown. This year, they are led by Freshman quarterback, Jameis Winston. Some scouts say he is pro-ready. Winston is your modern-day quarterback, who likes to scramble and pick up some yards on the run, but he'll throw one deep if needed.
Miami is led by Senior quarterback, Stephen Morris. This was supposed to be a Heisman-like season for him. Injuries have hindered his performance. He is still applauded for not missing games and his teammates recognize him for his toughness. Duke Johnson has been Miami's most consistent player. The running back has rushed for 823 yards so far this season. He has averaged for 6.7 yards per carry. The U hasn't had a running back of this caliber since the days of Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, and Frank Gore.
Having these two programs back on top is great. As fans, we would like for them to stay on top and have this rivalry mean something constantly. I used to like the fact when I would like on a scoreboard and both schools had a ranking number next to them.