Preview: Miami at Florida State
By Douglas Kroll
The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles may hold the utmost respect for one another, but once out on the football field, they flat out despise each other. The Canes and Seminoles are set to kick off the latest chapter of their fierce rivalry on Monday night, in the biggest game of an action packed opening college football weekend.
It will be the 50th all time meeting between the two football powerhouses, and dont expect anything less than what weve seen from the teams in the past. The Hurricanes hold a 29-20 edge in the all-time series, including the last six games played. Miamis last loss came in 1999, when FSU won 31-21 in Tallahassee. Since then, the Hurricanes have been able to squeak out some of the greatest and most exciting games in school history.
The last four meetings have been decided by a total of 17 points; the closest being a 28-27 win on a last second field goal miss that sailed wide-left, and the largest was the last time Miami traveled to Bobby Bowden field at Doak Cambell Stadium and won 22-14 in a monsoon 2 years ago.
This years version of the rivalry is an interesting one in many aspects.
Match-up-wise it has been said that this is Miamis year, not only in the annual fight between the two, but in the national scene as well. But with each team starting a new quarterback, anything is possible.
The Hurricanes will start a very talented Kyle Wright, who has thrown a total of nine passes in his college career. Head Coach Larry Coker feels real good about his pick for the job.
I think hes a tough player, and hes very athletic. Hes got extremely quick feet, Coker said. He gives us another dimension we didnt have, and as I mentioned before, he can run.
The Seminoles have had a fierce fight for the starting quarterback job all spring and fall long. Redshirt freshman Drew Weatherford was named starting quarterback earlier this week. Weatherford beat out fellow redshirt freshman Xavier Lee.
Whoever is under center for the Seminoles will be going up against what can be argued as the best defense in the country. The Hurricanes returned nearly every starter on defense this season, and after last years battle with the injury bug, so many young players got a chance to play, which will pay off huge dividends this time around. Nearly every defensive position has interchangeable parts, which is a direct result of the depth this squad will have. Cornerback Kelly Jennings, who gets to replace Antrel Rolle, agrees that this defense is packed with talent.
We really have a lot of guys we can stick in now that can step up and play, Jennings said. We dont have to replace guys; we reload.
The offense will also return many names. The wide receivers are a year older, and will be a huge key to Wrights success as a quarterback. Ryan Moore will look to rebound from a very disappointing season a year ago, while Lance Leggett will try and build upon an extremely impressive freshman campaign.
The FSU defense is no laughing matter, meaning it is not the ideal situation for a new starting Miami quarterback to get his first start. Two linebackers strike fear into any offense, Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson. Especially in hostile territory in front of 85,000 people, and who knows how many more on prime-time Monday Night Football on ABC. Although this game on paper looks like it may extremely sloppy, this rivalry has proven time and time again, the paper means absolutely nothing.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.