UM football is just a day away from its biggest game of the regular season – its matchup against the Florida State Seminoles. The historically intense rivalry between the two ACC programs never fails to bring a highly anticipated contest and almost always an equally competitive game. However, the circumstances going into next Saturday are slightly different than in recent years. The Hurricanes will be the higher-ranked team.
The Canes are now ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll, while the Seminoles are ranked No. 23. This marks the first time Miami will go into this annual game as the proposed favorites since 2010, when Miami was ranked No. 13 and FSU was ranked No. 23. Few would have expected these standings at this point in the season.
FSU came into the season ranked No. 4 and have reached as high as No. 2 in the polls. However, after facing tough defeats by the Louisville Cardinals and North Carolina, Florida State finds itself as the legitimate underdog. The Canes, on the other hand, came into the season with no real high expectations given that the program had just renewed its staff under Head Coach Mark Richt. Most assumed that Miami would need at least a year to adjust to all the changes before it could even attempt to bring the U back to greatness.
It is funny how things can change in five weeks, as the game that once tested if UM could compete with the country’s best is now a matchup that the Hurricanes have a legitimate chance, and many would say even a slight edge, of winning. Considering Miami has lost nine of its last 11 matchups against Florida State, a victory would be huge for our program.
UM is 4-0 on the season and FSU is 3-2. Despite the early season struggles for the Seminoles, they are still widely regarded as one of the best teams in the country. If the Hurricanes win this game, they could be looking at breaking higher into the top 10 rankings for the first time since 2013 and getting their first win against a ranked opponent this season. This will not only increase national prominence but also respect from media and teams around the nation.
In seeking more recognition for our football program, we should be looking forward to all of the new possibilities ahead rather than falling back on the glorious past. This week, the football program has been rebranding itself to evoke the 80s and 90s glory days of Miami football. Both the Hurricanes Football Facebook and Twitter accounts have updated their profiles with vintage logos and lettering.
Even the new Adidas uniforms, which will debut tomorrow at Hard Rock, are rooted in the past. “The retro style uniforms were designed as a nod the legacy and domination of the teams from the 80s and 90s which saw the Hurricanes win four national championships,” says the Adidas webpage.
It’s curious that the team (and the UM community as a whole) year after year draws upon nostalgia and past success rather than encouraging the team to contribute something new to the Hurricanes legacy. As a school, UM has grown so much since we last won a ring. We are one of the top 50 schools in the nation, a hub for medical, marine and climate change research. While our dominance of college football in those two decades will never be forgotten, the mindset should be to break new records and thereby make the UM brand iconic in new ways, just as much athletically as academically, rather than to “return” to what we used to be.
For all that is riding on this game for fans, there is added pressure on the players. Before the season, many fans were bracing themselves for a loss against the then highly-ranked FSU team. Because of the Hurricanes’ great start to the season, and the Seminoles’ subpar start, many will now expect a victory.
Oftentimes, approaching the game as an underdog is easier, and Miami must approach this game the same way that they would have if they were ranked lower than FSU: hungry to dethrone the team that has dominated college football in the state of Florida for the past decade.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.
Featured graphic by Emily Dulohery // Staff Designer.