Canes v. Noles… it’s that time again

It’s Miami and Florida State, yet I’m not jacked yet. Would 3-1 have given this match up more meaning than 2-2? Maybe, but not much. Not in a rivalry that proved to be the game of the year in 1987, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2002 and had a few more big time meetings in recent memory.

Last year was the same, with the Canes and Noles falling under the radar in an ABC regional game with a D-level announcing team. Once the ball was kicked off, the juices were flowing and it was UM and FSU… but it never felt ‘epic’. Not even when Miami rallied behind the arm of Kirby Freeman and stole one late. It just felt like another ACC game that both teams needed.

Come Saturday, both teams need this one again. Miami and Florida State each have a conference loss and if Tampa is a reality, neither the Canes or Noles can afford to dig themselves out of a whole.

A series that once defined the national championship is all about ACC pride this year, with neither rival poised or predicted to represent their division. How the mighty have fallen.

Both teams will return to prominence. New coaches. New players. A new attitude. Miami has a few steps on Florida State, having fired their lame-duck head coach two years ago.

The Noles have to ride out the Bobby Bowden era and let the legend step down on his own watch. The predecessor has been chosen, but is relegated to the role of offensive coordinator until the legendary leader calls it a career. Until then, chaos and underachieving will remain part of FSU’s repertoire.

At times, Miami has looked “almost back” this year. A hard fought game at Florida and a stellar defensive effort. An offensive onslaught at Texas A&M and some swarming D. Even in the loss to North Carolina, Miami had some bright spots; most notably the arm of Robert Marve and the legs of Graig Cooper.

Conservative coaching and defensive breakdowns did the Canes in last week, but both are fixable as early as this week, depending on which Miami shows up.

A huge black eye during the Larry Coker era was the Canes inability to bounce back after a troubling loss. In 2003 a 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech was followed by an equally as embarrassing home loss a week later to Tennessee, 10-6. The Canes were lifeless and lacked passion in route to the program’s first back-to-back losses since the 1999 season.

In 2004 No.3 Miami lost on a last second field goal against an unranked North Carolina team and choked a week later when Clemson headed to the Orange Bowl. Nursing a 17-3 lead midway through the third quarter, the Canes never scored again and fell to the Tigers, 24-17 in OT.

Miami closed out 2007 with four straight losses and had a four-game losing skid in 2006, almost making you wish for back-to-back losses, instead of back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Everyone knows what this game is all about. It’s Miami and Florida State. These kids grew up playing each other since they were knee-high. The hits in this battle rival those in NFL games. State pride. Bragging rites. An edge in the recruiting war. Blah, blah, blah.

I don’t care about stats and I don’t care that it’s the Noles on the other side of the ball.

I’m sick of the soundbites and this team talking about ‘finishing’ games. If some of these guys blocked and tackled as well as they interviewed, the Canes would be undefeated this season.

Talk is cheap. It’s time to start ‘doing’. This isn’t a must-win game, but there’s no better time for Miami to right the ship, practice what they preach and follow their coaches’ orders.

The Canes lost in Gainesville, but responded two weeks later with a solid outing in College Station. Miami looked renewed and focused when they took the field against Texas A&M. Can they do the same this week?

Did North Carolina rip out Miami’s heart, or does this team have the grit to bounce back and correct the mistakes that cost them an in-the-bag game last week?

For the first time in a long time, Miami has the distinct advantage at quarterback. Marve is the type of player who can step up and win this game, whereas Florida State could flip a coin regarding deciding who is the more mediocre gunslinger, Christian Ponder or D’Vontrey Richardson. Both looked awful against the only good defense they’ve seen all year; Wake Forest. 12 of 36 between the two, for 118 yards and 5 interceptions.

If playing up to par, Miami’s defensive front seven should get to whoever the Noles have behind center. Florida State sports a young, inexperienced line, which should make for turnovers and a short field if the defense of Bill Young can create pressure.

Then again, the Canes’ D was picked apart by a second-stringer at Texas A&M and a third-string from North Carolina. With that inconsistency, for all we know Ponder or Richardson could be in for a career day if Miami doesn’t tighten up.

I like the Canes in this one, behind Marve’s arm and a more concerted all around effort after last week’s loss. Score-wise, we could see ‘vintage’ Miami/Florida State, with a 24-20 or 21-17 type of ending. Defense should set the tone again, but that was the mindset last year before both teams combined for 66 points.

Kickoff it 3:30pm ET and it’ll take everything in this fan to get his juices flowing between now and then. Anyway you slice or dice it, it just doesn’t feel like Miami and Florida State is a day away, and no vintage photos, ESPN Classic games or Michael Irvin super-speeches are going to change that. Not this time.



12 thoughts on “Canes v. Noles… it’s that time again

  1. i just want to let you know that your coverage of the team this year from the preseason until now has convinced me enough to never read your blog again.

    You talk out both sides of your mouth and you hypocritical views are sub par at best. You used to be a better fan, writer, and analyzer but with all the negativeness you possess and reflect in your writing I am shocked you haven’t lost more fans.

    I will love this team until my time is up on this world and never will I listen to the likes of ANY opinion such as yours on Miami because your coverage of the canes is as negative as ESPN and the rest of the sports world.

    I don’t know who is worse, you or Dan Sileo…


  2. all canes,

    what is your take on yet another piece of garbage journalism from i gut at the miami herald…. when they fire this clown?…is any else tired of they either biased writing or the attempt at stirring up some controversy by this @$$clown?

    – U KNOW

  3. You talk out both sides of your mouth and you hypocritical views are sub par at best. You used to be a better fan, writer, and analyzer but with all the negativeness you possess and reflect in your writing I am shocked you haven’t lost more fans.

    I will love this team until my time is up on this world and never will I listen to the likes of ANY opinion such as yours on Miami because your coverage of the canes is as negative as ESPN and the rest of the sports world.

    My friend, I’m sorry you feel that way. A few things…

    – I don’t talk out of both sides of my mouth. Not on this blog and not in my day-to-day life. Enlighten me as to where I do so.

    – You seem to have a hard time telling the difference between “negativity” and “telling it like it is”. My outlook isn’t negative. I criticize when it’s deserved and I praise when it’s earned.

    This team is 2-2 right now and while there have been bright spots, there’s also been a lot of hot air coming from players who haven’t backed it up.

    – Miami and Florida State isn’t the rivalry it once was. Sorry. If you don’t believe me, then why is GameDay at freakin VANDERBILT today instead of Miami?

    The Canes haven’t “represented” well since joining the ACC. Sure, most of that is on Coker’s inability to recruit and develop talent, but in the 7-9 Shannon era A LOT of winnable games were left on the field.

    – My love for all things The U related is as strong as it gets. Too bad you can’t remove your orange and green shades and choose to stick your head in the sand regarding some glaring issues.

    – If think my writing is as negative and anti-Miami as what ESPN does, you need to get back on your meds.

    Go Canes.

  4. I will probably get flamed for this but Patrick Nix needs to have his ass fired.. Watching this game is nauseating. Miami is showing no heart or emotion whatsoever and they look very similar to last years team right now.. Please don’t take this as a anti U rant because that was not my intent. I just needed to vent a liitle.. I will be a Cane fan till the day I die and even when I go on to that big Orange Bowl in the sky ( Yeah I know that was cheesy.. Oh well lol ).. I love U football and there are a lot of positives to look forward to but there are some negatives that need to be addressed as well. Through the Good Bad and down right Ugly times.. GO CANES!!!!

  5. Ok I will kinda retract what I said earlier.. They found there heart in the 2nd half but just ran out of time.. Benjamin is an amazing talent and his future looks bright at UM… GO CANES!!!!

  6. This sucks. We “finished” I guess; problem is, we didn’t “start” until the 3rd quarter. After last week’s UNC loss, I found myself optimistic thinking this team was still on the rise. Putting together a last minute (potentially) game winning drive like last week would not have happened last year. Now, I just don’t know. Part of me still wants to think that this team has some good days ahead of them this year after rallying late and putting 36 points on the board in the second half. Problem is, a lot of those points came off of FSU screw ups, not good Miami play. Maybe I’m just looking through rose colored glasses. I hope this team gets their sh*t in one sock, this is really starting to suck.

    Fl Panhandle Cane

  7. you don’t seem like a guy who needs outside approval to keep happy (granted nothing’s more reliable than an internet persona, haha) but to balance out the opinions in here i think you do a great job of writing about miami – you get their backs when it’s called for and are honest in your assessment of both success and failure. i check your site almost every day for a relief from the anti-miami national (and local at times) media spin and the equally unbearable and fanatical e-despots who clog up the internet with their alternating cries of “we’re back and #1!!!” when things go well and “fire _____!!!!! worst coach/coordinator alive!!!” when things go poorly.

    as for this game though – wtf? 39 rung up at home and we never lead once?! 63 points in the last 2 weeks for a showing of 0-2 in that stretch?! fsu picking up 3rd and longs like their being controlled by ea on heisman with the sliders turned up?!

    does bill young know we had more games on our schedule than uf?! even if we admit we have a poo secondary, is there nothing that could have been done to keep 40 off the jumbotron?! fsu has a qb not named ward put 150 yds in the books and a rb score 4 tds?!

    i’m not saying fire the man but good lord. someone should at least poke him with a stick and see if he hasn’t had a stroke or something. totally gutting inability to play d in the crunch. bill young’s unit flinched from momentum like it was one of magic johnson’s used connies … wtf?

    why are people calling for shannon’s head? why are people calling for nix’s head? only one part of miami’s team seems to be on the steady decline in the shannon era and that’s the d. a d randy no longer controls unless i’m mistaken.

    i like this team’s fight. i can see the green shoots and buds of hope and future success beginning to break through the dead wood. i still believe in shannon, like what i see from an ever-improving nix, and have to assume even if it’s based on blind optimism alone that bill young will look up and realize there’s too much talent at his disposal to keep gakking up winnable games like this.

    so far though his performance as d coord has been if not inexcusably at least inexplicably disappointing.

    hit me with the truth and the light: what is salvageable? what is it going to take to turn the d around? continued recruiting? different schemes/formations/playcalls? smelling salts for billy the kidd?

    less relevant postscriptum: people seriously screaming for nix’s head after tonight should be forcibly sterilized beyond the forbidding virginity self-imposed by constantly bitching on the internet.

    cheers and go canes!

  8. Can we jump off the fire Nix bandwagon and jump on the “Fire Young” bandwagon, or do we need to give him more time to be exposed by mediocre offenses??? I think that defensive showing was worse than what was seen at the OU game, due to the fact that FSU had NO business scoring 41 points on UM at HOME! Im glad the guys had the never say die attitude but too bad that wasnt enough. Something has to be done because that defense is a flat out joke.

  9. This season and this team are an ABORTION! These coaches are so obviously lost and in over their heads, it’s criminal.

    This is obviously one of the very worst teams in Division 1 CFB today: A Bottom 10 cellar dweller of the first order and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future with the circus of idiocy that is this coaching staff.

    Was there any reason ANYONE was even on the field on defense today? These kids were like PLANTS, for God’s sake. They couldn’t stop **** all day!

    It is difficult for me to believe that as recently as 2001, this program was the BEST in the country! I seriously believe I could feel a team of eleven kids from a Special Olympics program and tell them to just HIT SOMEBODY and have them do better. They might not fully understand WHY I wanted them to hit people, but I think they would do it and not stand around with their thumbs up their butts!

    Someone needs to be FIRED…and I don’t think it’s just the coaches. I’m talking the administration of this university for even entertaining or tolerating the express elevator to HELL this program has become.

    Finally: Is Sam Shields the latest reincarnation of Lance Leggett? That’s a pice of work I really didn’t want to see around Coral Gables ever again…but here he is!

    Pissed? You are damned right I am pissed! And I don’t think I’m alone.

    Spend the damned money, get a decent coaching staff, or shutter the program. Anything’s better than watching this godawful rerun of a rerun over and over again for five ****ing years!

  10. 305:

    For me coming out the way we did in the first half last night was the last straw. Yes we rallied, but honestly you cannot chase a game like this with youngsters and expect anything.

    I’m tired of Shannon learning on the job. I saw another blog site say we are 1-8 in our last 9 ACC games. I guess that’s right, although I cannot believe it. If so, we are at an all time low post Lou Saban.

  11. Ponder running wild,are you kidding me?The defense unable to come up with 3rd down stops.The only way Miami was in this game was due to FSU miscues.There really needs to be a total reevaluation of where this program is.The optimism of a new year has quickly faded to bitter disappointment.It really is sad to see the Canes play so poorly.

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