Blame the BCS, though the rivalry hasn't been annual since the Gators backed out in 1987 citing the desire to play a more national schedule (and replacing Miami with powerhouse Montana State). Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt has announced that Florida will honor the scheduled meeting between the Gators and Canes in 2013, but beyond that Gainesville is uninterested in seeing their biggest in-state rivals again.
We'd have to consult a baby's bottom and probably a tiny duckling, but that's about the softest thing in the history of ever.
For fans of good football -- and both programs -- this should be unacceptable. Few remember the wooden canoe passed back and forth to the winner each season between the 1950s and 1987, but everyone remembers the infamous 1971 Gator Flop, when Florida defenders lay down on the field so that the Hurricanes could score and Florida's quarterback John Reaves had enough time to break an NCAA passing record.
And then there were the peaches hurled onto the field in 1980, prompting an angry Howard Schnellenberger to instruct his Canes to add a field goal to injury, and the Bourbon Street brawl before the 2001 Sugar Bowl, and Devin Hester returning an opening kick af Florida Field, and Tim Tebow dismantling Miami in the second half in 2008.
"Miami-Florida is good for college football," Hocutt said. It's what makes the rivalry so intense, so heated, so sold out.
And ultimately, so enjoyable. What's exciting about watching either team blow out Charleston Southern? Or the Gators take Troy? Thanks to the BCS, Florida can make the argument that annual SEC matchups and home-and-aways with Florida State make their strength of schedule considerable enough that out of conference games against rivals aren't necessary. That's true (if you consider Florida State to be worthwhile these days), but it's also boring.
Who wouldn't want to see Florida-USC? or Florida-Texas? Or, of more immediate concern and consequence -- and at little travel cost and all sorts of fun -- Florida-Miami, as often as possible? Only Florida's AD Jeremy Foley, which is a shame.
Janie Campbell is a Miami sports fan whose favorite game of 2008 was a loss in Gainesville, on account of getting to use her hate bone so much. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.