To me, the biggest rivalry in sports is happening this week. This is the game that invented swag. Neither team is at the top like they used to be, but it’s still a fun game to watch with many potential NFL players on the field.
This rivalry has been streaky the last 20 years. Miami won six straight from 2000-04 (winning twice in 2003 season). FSU won 10 of the last 13 meetings since then, including seven in a row at one point, until last season.
Here are the reasons why I believe Miami will now have a streak going for them.
Mark Richt has had to establish his culture
Miami hasn’t been anything close to the Hurricanes I remember growing up watching. I will say, however, the last few years under Mark Richt they have gotten close.
The culture was toxic, honestly, similar to what I’ve seen at FSU this season except fewer wins. What Richt has been able to do for buy-in already in his third year is clearly better than what existed before. He has the players believing in him and that’s more important than any offensive or defensive scheme.
Freakishly, “nightmarishly” fast defense
The first game I ever played in at FSU was the 2002 “ESPN Classic” Miami vs. FSU game – yeah, a missed kick game FSU should’ve won had we kept running the damn ball. What I can remember vaguely, except the missed kick – I was on the field goal unit – is orange blurs moving fast as lightening. I just wanted to hit one.
This defense reminds me of some of the early 2000’s defenses at Miami. They go fast and with bad intentions – the way defense is supposed to be played.
They also really vibe off each other’s energy to the point that you can’t help, but almost celebrate with them.
They also have THAT DAMNED CHAIN.
I personally never liked showy or gaudy gimmicks, but I realize that’s me showing my age. Some people don’t understand why we would play for Tomahawks so I don’t judge. I only look at results. Those boys play like mad men for that chain. This years chain is kind of dope. Like real Miami. I mean Cocaine Cowboys 80’s flashy Miami. They like it and they ball for it.
Richt runs, basically, the exact offense that we ran at FSU when I played that he took to Georgia. It’s the same offense at Miami with some slight wrinkles. It’s effective and it works.
Some will say he has spread principles, but he keeps a fullback and runs ISO. The offense is looking to explode in the passing game and FSU’s secondary has been generous to QBs this season. FSU has adjusted well on defense during games, but has given up big plays early and if that happens Saturday this game could become ugly for the Noles.
If you would’ve asked me at the beginning of the season who has the best backfield in the ACC, I would’ve told you hands down FSU. I can’t say that now and it’s not close to what DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer have been able to do this season.
FSU will have to respect Miami’s running ability which will leave its corners on islands with Miami’s speedy receivers – that strategy hasn’t been effective this season.
Big game mindset
I’m still pro-Willie Taggart. Even with my expectations not being met I’m giving him the proper three years to right the ship. He did seem lost at times in clutch situations against Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
None of those atmospheres are going to come close to what he will experience with this rivalry. Folks may joke that UM can’t fill a high school stadium, but it’ll be packed this game. With FSU also having to sell back some of it’s allotment of tickets, it’s going to be loud and crazy.
Fans will lose their minds over every little thing.
Mark Richt has never won a game that mattered at Miami, in my opinion. He understands what this game means from both sides. He has played in it, coached on both sides of it, and coached in big rivalry games in the SEC. Taggart doesn’t have the experience in this area.
This game always has major implications in one of the biggest recruiting hot beds and should be fun to watch no matter what happens. Personal affiliations aside, Miami is a better football team at this point in the season than FSU. Miami should win, but this is also why they play the game and with rivalries, you never know what to expect.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/five-reasons-florida-state-wont-beat-miami-saturday