Oct. 17, 2012
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com (@ScottKotick)
Throughout the years, it's been a game that every fan circles on their calendars. It's determined national championships for the past 25 years, and bragging rights in the state of Florida are always on the line.
But this one holds a deeper meaning that just your average rivalry. It's former high school teammates and longtime friends squaring off against each other. And it's an opportunity for many of the Florida State players to go back home where their football careers began.
"There's a lot of tradition down there, a lot of legacy and households down there that breed you to be either a Florida State Seminole or a Miami Hurricane," safety Lamarcus Joyner said. "It gives you that edge because it's more than a football game. It's about love and passion playing out there for bragging rights and that always increases the enthusiasm that goes with the game."
"It's pretty special to be able to go back to Miami and play football," wide receiver Rodney Smith said. "Having all my family members make it to the game to see me, because not many people can come up here because of jobs and things like that."
"It's fun because it brings that competitiveness out of you," cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. "Growing up, we were always going at it and it brings up that old rivalry between the two. You just want to have that bragging right."
This game has defined them since childhood. Before they could even walk, it was Florida State and Miami. They've watched every historic game, seen every big play, and know just about everything there is to know about the rivalry. And now, they're a part of it.
"Hard hits, going to the fourth quarter and sticking it out, just that rivalry," Lonnie Pryor said. "They're going to your house, or you're going to their house, and it's not going to be easy no matter what the record is. We can both be 0-11 and that came is going to be physical and you have to bring your A game."
"I just remember there being big arguments around the neighborhood about Florida State and UM," Joyner said. "Just the love and support that they give the players from down that way, it's always been a big deal for everyone from where I'm from."
"All that day, that's all everybody talked about," Smith said. "Florida State and UM play tonight, and everyone was big on that. Growing up, this is one of the games you want to play in and you dream about playing in."
It's the best athletes in the country playing against each other, and it's always been like that. From Charlie Ward to Jim Kelly, Andre Johnson to Lawrence Dawsey, and on down the line for so many years, this game has been about the elite athletes in all of college football.
"The name of the university says it all, you're playing against Miami," Karlos Williams said. "These guys are known for having the Michael Irvins, the Andre Johnsons, those guys made the university what it was and they try to continue the swagger they had back then. They're going to bring their A game and represent the U."
"You want to play against the best, and they have great athletes," Rashad Greene said. "You want to compete every week and against someone you know has that great ability creates that competitiveness for you. You just want to go out and play hard every play."
"Miami always has good, fast receivers ever since I've been little watching them," Rhodes said. "That's nothing new so we always get prepared to face Miami and any Florida teams because they're built on speed."
But the great part about this rivalry is that it's not all about the past. These current Canes and Noles are writing their own history.
"That was then and this is now, we're building our legacy here at Florida State," Williams said. "They're trying to get that swagger back and those guys are really taking pride in what they're doing by winning football games and competing at a high level. We're just trying to do the same here."
This year's game is sure to bring out the best that college football has to offer. The times may change and the players may come and go, but Florida State and Miami will always stay the same.