Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rivalry still more rearview than relevant


By MIKE DAROZA
CFRT Editor

1,002 all-time wins.
Seven national championships.
13 national championship game appearances between 1983 and 2001.
Four Heisman Trophy winners.
68 Consensus All-Americans.
476 current and past players in the NFL, five of which who made it to Canton, and were inducted into the league's Hall of Fame.

Former Miami coach Jimmy Johnson guided the Hurricanes to their second national championship in 1987.
These numbers tell a story.
Unfortunately for the Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes, this story is more of a history lesson than a current event.
Because for nearly a decade now, rarely has either team finished among the Top-10, much less come anywhere close to winning a national championship.

In its heyday, this game was not for the faint of heart.
This game used to be an annual audition for the NFL.
It was about one coaching legend (Bobby Bowden) against five shooting stars (Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, Butch Johnson and Larry Coker).
It was about Kelly, Kosar, Testaverde, Walsh and Dorsey going against the likes of Brooks, Jones, Sanders and Buckley.
It was about Winslows, Weinkes, Wide Lefts and Wide Rights.

In 1992, FSU kicker Dan Mowrey's last-second field goal attempt sailed wide right, making it two consecutive years that the Seminoles lost to Miami in this manner.
It was all about the "U", the smoke, the war chant and the Tomahawk Chop.
For all intents and purposes, it was the quintessential rivalry that once had the undivided attention of the college football universe, and for the winner a national title usually hung in the balance.
Currently, however, both teams have played in the Emerald Bowl more recently than a BCS Bowl.
On Saturday, the No.23 'Noles and the No.13 'Canes will kickoff the 55th edition of this in-state rivalry, and it will mark the highest both teams have been ranked coming into the match up since 2001.
But even the winner will still have a lot of work to do to win a championship - an ACC championship, that is.

Former Hurricanes player and current head coach Randy Shannon is hoping to bring Miami back to national prominence.
The two coaches, Miami's Randy Shannon and FSU's Jimbo Fisher are still searching for their signature win, while the loser takes yet another step back in a year their fan bases truly believed was the year they would finally be "back."

Bobby Bowden's shadow could get a little lighter if first-year FSU coach Jimbo Fisher could beat Miami on Saturday.
One is trying to wake up a legend, while the other is trying to replace one.
The sad part is, this game no longer receives top billing, and not just around the rest of the country.
The numbers nowadays tell a different story about this rivalry.
Like, the number 1.
Florida State has played in only one ACC Championship game since it was instituted in 2005.
Or, the number 0.
The Hurricanes have yet to play in that game.
And, there is a strong likelihood that both sides will struggle to sell this game out, failing to put enough "numbers" in the stands.
Let's face it, one of college football's best annual games is now just a game.
The question now is whether the number of years before we see this game back in the spotlight outgrows the number of years since it was in the spotlight.

CFRT's Pick 6

(Thursday)
No.7 Nebraska at Kansas State
Both are coming off a bye week and both are undefeated, but the Cornhuskers have actually played the weaker schedule of the two. Nebraska has swept Western Kentucky, Idaho, Washington and South Dakota State (combined overall record of 5-12) , while KSU has gone unblemished against UCLA, Missouri State, Iowa State and UCF (combined overall record of 11-8). The most important stat in the game though is that Nebraska leads the Big XII in rushing and Kansas State is dead last in rushing defense. 'Huskers, 35-21.

(Saturday)
No.1 Alabama at No.19 South Carolina
This will be the first of six SEC opponents for Alabama opponents that are coming off bye weeks before facing the Tide. Does it really make a huge difference? Apparently not. Not counting 'Bama (since they haven't lost a regular season game since 2007), over the past five seasons, the other 11 SEC schools have a combined record of 29-29 coming off bye weeks. Crimson Tide, 28-21.

No.17 Michigan State at No.18 Michigan
This will be the first time this season Sparty will be leaving its own house for their visit to The Big House. Michigan and Heisman Trophy front-runner Denard Robinson will wow you on offense and will be able to score some points on Michigan State, but the Wolverines' run defense will have trouble stopping the Spartans on the ground. Sparty, 45-35.

No.12 LSU at No.14 Florida
Both teams suffered through humiliating games last Saturday. The only difference is, LSU won their embarrassing game against Tennessee with the worst clock mismanagement job since Rip Van Winkle forgot to set his alarm clock. The Tigers' defense is formidable, but the Gators will benefit by two offensive game plans on Saturday - theirs and LSU's. UF, 21-10.

No.23 Florida State at No.13 Miami
If you take away FSU's one loss against Oklahoma out of the equation, the Seminoles have played well enough to be undefeated. Then again, if you take the OU game out of the equation, Florida State hasn't played anyone with a winning record either. The Hurricanes are finally playing at home for the first time since FAMU in the opener. The "U", 41-38.

USC at No.16 Stanford
Both clubs lost last weekend in grudge matches. However, Lane Kiffin's Trojans lost to mediocre Washington, while Stanford lost a slug fest - on the road - to a team (Oregon) some think is second only to Alabama. Sounds like karma is coming home to roost for Mr. Kiffin. The Cardinal, 38-20.

Last Week: 3-3
Season: 23-7


Your Saturday "Couch Schedule"

"Early Game"
Indiana at No.2 Ohio State at 12 p.m. on ESPN

"Afternoon Game"
No.1 Alabama at No.19 South Carolina at 3:30 p.m. on CBS

"Remote Control Roulette Night Games"
No.12 LSU at No.14 Florida at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
No.23 Florida State at No.13 Miami at 8 p.m. on ABC

5 comments:

  1. I disagree wit u on th Alabama game: Bama 42-10

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  2. LSU didnt lose their game on saturday, it came down to a ref. review and they were able to put it in the endzone to win the game. but i still dont think they have enough to hang with the gators even though they are coming off a pretty embarasing defeat to the hands of bama.

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  3. Larry Coker, rising star?? Interesting. Seriously though, I think Jacory Harris may have a little trouble with the FSU D, it may be a little closer than your score. I think your pick on LSU/UF may be more like it than that Sean Doyle's.

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  4. OK Lizard Jr., you have a point. I was sort of streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetching it a bit adding Larry Coker to the "rising star" dubbing, but you have to give him some credit.
    Coker had immediate success, guiding the Hurricanes to a 12–0 record and the national championship in his first season after dominating a Nebraska Cornhuskers team in the Rose Bowl.
    For his efforts, Coker was given numerous honors, including the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award and the AFCA Coach of the Year.
    Of course, despite a winning record, he was shown the door.

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