Saturday night under the lights of Hard Rock Stadium, the No. 12 ranked Miami Hurricanes will take the field against the Florida State Seminoles in one of college football's best rivalries of all time: one that has decided state champs, national champs and bragging rights for a whole year.
“As a Hurricane, when you come here, this is one of the biggest, if not the most important game of the season,” UM defensive back Al Blades Jr. told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “When you leave here, everybody’s always going to ask you, 'What was your record against Florida State?”
The 65th edition of the 'Canes and the 'Noles, the earliest date the teams have played since opening the 2009 season, starts a new decade in the rivalry and a chance for Miami to continue something else this series is know for: their winning streak.
Miami won the first meeting between the teams in the 1951 season and the first five games in the series before the Seminoles won seven straight in the 1960s. The teams have played yearly since the 1969 season, but the 1970s would be more known for both teams being among the worst in college football for the early and middle parts of the decade.
In the 1980s, the 'Canes ended a two game losing streak to FSU with a 10-9 win in the old Orange Bowl stadium. The decade (which included a four game winning streak by UM) would be marked by Miami winning three national titles under Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson.
Two of those titles would come after one point wins over the 'Noles in 1983 and 1987 with another after a 24-10 loss to FSU in the 1989 season.
The 1990s saw Miami add another national title after yet another one point victory over the Seminoles in the 1991 season. A three game winning streak by UM under Erickson was halted by a 1993 FSU win ahead of the Seminoles' first national title.
After Miami got a win in 1994, the 'Noles won five straight while the 'Canes rebuilt over that span under head coach Butch Davis and watched FSU win the 1999 national title.
In 2000, Miami won the annual battle with FSU 27-24 thanks to yet another 'wide right' kick from a Seminoles kicker that has defined the series.
Miami would win six straight in the series under head coach Larry Coker, including a blowout in 2001 on the way to their fifth national title and the first bowl game meeting between the teams, before FSU won two straight and three of the final five games for legendary head coach Bobby Bowden in the decade.
When 2010 rolled around, FSU had a new coach in Jimbo Fisher and bulldozed the Hurricanes for much of the decade in winning the first seven straight in the series to tie the longest win streak for either team - highlighted by a blocked extra point in the 2016 meeting that sealed the win for the Seminoles in a game that renewed their season after two early losses.
“After he (teammate Freddie Stevenson) texted me, I got to go out with a bang,” FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker told the Orlando Sentinel after the game. “There was nothing sweeter.”
The 2017 season saw Miami fans get their wish to finally beat the Seminoles again with a late touchdown in Tallahassee. The following season, it was a second half comeback that led to a win ahead of a 27-10 victory in 2019 that saw FSU fire their head coach, Willie Taggart, after the game.
Miami's three game win streak right now is the 10th time either team has had a streak of at least that many wins in the history of the series. Their chance at four in a row could come Saturday against a FSU team that was upset in their opener by Georgia Tech.
Still, Miami head coach and FSU graduate Manny Diaz knows all that matters is one thing: the rivalry will bring out the best in both teams.
"It’s Miami vs. Florida State, it doesn’t matter what the record are, everybody knows that’s a huge weekend and our players understand what’s on the line when Florida State comes to town," Diaz said.