Feb. 27, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Imagine a college baseball season without a Florida State versus Miami series.
Can't picture such a harsh reality? Well, it almost happened.
When the Atlantic Coast Conference changed its scheduling rotation, the `Noles-`Canes series would have been put on hold for two seasons -- the 2014 and 2015 campaigns -- before resuming in 2016. Much like you, FSU coach Mike Martin wanted no part of temporarily halting one of the sport's greatest rivalries so he worked out an agreement with Miami coach Jim Morris for the two schools to an play out-of-conference series in each of the next two years.
A bit unorthodox, sure. But Martin wasn't going to let this year be first in his FSU tenure that didn't feature at least one game against UM.
"The first game that I ever coached as the Florida State coach came against the University of Miami and it's a special series," Martin said. "I can remember almost every single series that we've played against them. They've been memorable."
Morris agreed to bring his squad to Tallahassee for a three-game tilt starting Friday as long as the Seminoles returned the favor in 2015.
And while the `Noles will still head to Coral Gables next year, they no longer have to play as non-conference foes. Since Martin and Morris made their agreement, the ACC officially added Louisville, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.
The conference additions meant another change to the league scheduling procedures and the conference coaches elected to have permanent cross-division partners. Naturally, FSU and Miami were matched up ensuring that the this weekend's series at Dick Howser Stadium will be the last of the non-conference variety between the two in-state foes.
Because it is still an out-of-conference game, traditional scheduling calls for earlier start times to the games than many fans may be accustomed to when FSU and Miami typically do battle. Friday's game will start at 4 p.m. and is followed by a 2 p.m. Saturday matchup. Sunday's contest will begin at 1 p.m.
"I'm playing somebody in golf, I don't care where we're playing or what time of year; I'm gonna compete," Martin said. "And everybody on our baseball team and everybody on the Miami baseball team feels the same way."
The competitive nature of this series isn't just built on the FSU-Miami rivalry but on the history of those games as well.
Friday's matchup marks the 272nd meeting between the two schools with the Seminoles holding a 145-122-4 series advantage. In 11 of the last 19 games, the final score has been decided by two runs or less.
"There's definitely more of an emphasis when Miami comes to town," FSU redshirt senior Justin Gonzalez said. "It's a big series. It's a rivalry game that fans do a great job of creating a great atmosphere for us to play in. Being out there on the field and seeing the way it's unfolding in front of our eyes is pretty exciting.
"... Regardless of whether we play early on or later in the season, it's still an exciting series
Added Martin: "As a Seminole, that's the biggest weekend of the year. Let's face it. Even though it's a non-conference game, it means something to both teams."
And it certainly means something to the sell-out crowds expected at Dick Howser Stadium all weekend.