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    FSU-Miami Game Carries Weight Again

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    Courtesy Heather Dinich,

    There is never a lack of drama in this game, only a lack of relevance. 

    Not this year. 

    With two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, No. 23 Florida State and No. 13 Miami are once again the teams to beat in their respective divisions. 

    And that should have been the goal the whole time. 

    National relevance is important, yes, but before any team can be a national title contender -- or a conference champion for that matter -- it has to win its division first. Florida State and Miami both had opportunities to measure themselves against top-10 competition in September, and both came up short in road games. While a gap remains between both programs and the nation's elite, Florida State and Miami are now in a position to distance themselves from the rest of the ACC. 

    They have to get past each other, though, first. 

    Florida State has won three straight games, Miami back-to-back road games. With Florida falling to No. 14 in the AP poll, this week marks the first time Miami is the highest-ranked team in the state of Florida in the AP poll since Dec. 4, 2005. 

    Both teams can attribute much of their success to defensive improvement. Miami ranks No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss, No. 2 in sacks and No. 2 in pass efficiency defense. Florida State is No. 1 in the country in sacks, No. 2 in tackles for loss, and No. 4 in rushing defense. Both teams have veteran quarterbacks in Christian Ponder and Jacory Harris. Both have a deep stable of running backs. 

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