It really wasn’t all that long ago that a Miami-Florida State matchup had national implications. It always was one of the games college football fans looked forward to year after year. Many fans remember the “Wide Right” games, where the Seminoles suffered close, heartbreaking losses to the Hurricanes. Then again, it seems like a very long time ago when the matchup really had any sort of real buzz. Ever since the rise of the Florida Gators in the SEC, Miami and Florida State have been also-rans in terms of national perception. Even moving the game to Labor Day weekend to kickoff the season didn’t really do much for it, although last year’s game was a very entertaining game that went down to the final play.
Saturday, the two will meet again in South Florida in a game that is important only in terms of the conference race. Both teams are attempting to make the climb back up to their once former glories. One thing that hasn’t changed is that when these teams meet, they serve as a measuring stick as to where they both are at a given moment, and this game is no exception. Both teams have a great deal of talent, and both have suffered a loss to a top-10 team on the road. A win would bolster their standing in their respective ACC division, and put them a step closer to playing in the conference title game. The two come into the game off impressive conference game wins on the road last week. Florida State throroughly dominated Virginia 34-14, showing that their defense has improved a bit since the loss to Oklahoma. Miami did what it had to do, overcoming its own mistakes and turnovers to beat Clemson 30-21.
Elsewhere, North Carolina State fell down to earth a bit after being caught from behind by Virginia Tech and losing 41-30. Russell Wilson, who usually doesn’t throw many interceptions, had three in this game, all by Jayron Hosley. Still the Wolfpack played well enough, especially early on, to serve notice that they may be a factor in the conference race. Georgia Tech needed to rally late to beat Wake Forest and Boston College had an uphill battle losing to Notre Dame. Maryland is 4-1 and has a conference win by beating Duke, while North Carolina cruised past East Carolina.
Besides the Miami-Florida State game, other upcoming conference games find Boston College and it’s offensive issues traveling to Raleigh to face the Wolfpack, Virginia heading south to face Georgia Tech and Clemson hoping to bounce back after two straight losses against the still-shorthanded Tar Heels. Finally, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have home out of conference games against Central Michigan and Navy to round out Saturday’s schedule. Maryland and Duke have the week off.