Oh, what once was: a glorious string of wide-rights, wide-lefts, dashed dreams, and muffs; an ibis smashed up against a fence by three of Tallahassee's fun-hating finest; and a national audience hanging on every play.
The drama’s still there, actually, but the audience? Well, they’ve been bored, if no less bloodthirsty, though that could change tonight on ESPN in front of a nation with no other football options. Both the unranked ‘Canes and the newly-ranked no. 18 ‘Noles are trying desperately to prove they’re back and ready to stay there, and they have the challenge of doing it against each other on opening night.
For Miami, it's just the first step in the most difficult opening month in recent college football history, and it's time to sink or swim. Are they nervous?
"I like going (on the road)," said sophomore QB Jacory Harris. "I like to break the spirit of the fans."
Well, alrighty, then; that answers the stage fright question. The Hurricanes, young and scrappy but a year or two behind the Seminoles in rebuilding, enjoy some pretty fly buswear and the element of surprise with two new coordinators. Mark Whipple directs an offense stocked with tall, speedy receivers that should give Florida State’s short secondary some trouble. On the other side of the ball, John Lovett has the pleasure of trying to stop the run that gouged the ‘Canes for 281 yards in last year’s 41-39 loss.
It's ultimately a battle of the ages: a sophomore
quarterback butterfly who’s only just inherited his team against a junior who’s been there before.
A first-time head coach in his crucial third year vs. a cryogenically frozen legend (oh, he isn't yet? It's coming).
A handful of Baby Canes up against an FSU offensive line that returns 5 starters.
Where the script flips: Miami’s magic-legged junior kicker Matt Bosher vs. a poor no-name true freshman Seminole.
We’re sure that poor kid isn't worried at all.
Janie Campbell hopes Chris Rix rips off his Christian Ponder mask and reveals himself at midfield with a cackle tonight. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.