This fact shouldn’t surprise anyone. I mean, you have two storied college football programs who have played for or won 12 national championships in last 30 years. Secondly, the two teams are in-state rivals. Many players on each team played against or even with each other in high school.
Third, the fan bases absolutely hate each other.
Many fans will claim that Florida State is Miami’s biggest rival, but Florida and Miami were playing football against each other 10 years before the Seminoles even fielded a football team. They played each other continuously from 1938 to 1987. During that time, the Gators game was the most anticipated matchup of any season for any Hurricanes player or fan.
Then, suddenly, the intense rivalry ended.
The Gators claimed that the SEC required member schools to play eight conference games which, in turn, required them to fill out the rest of its non-conference schedule with teams that didn’t require a home-and-home agreement.
Clearly, this is hogwash. Florida’s athletic department could have easily found a way to schedule Miami. The truth is that Steve Spurrier, then the Gators’ head coach, wanted to play cupcake teams instead of banging heads with powerhouse Miami year in and year out. For Miami’s part, they wanted to play Florida every year. The Gators wanted none of it.
It wasn’t until the Sugar Bowl in 2001 did the rivalry return to life. The Canes pounded Florida 37-20 in that game. The series was partially renewed after that, with Miami winning the next three straight. In 2008, the Gators beat Miami in Gainesville 26-3 in a game that saw then Miami head coach Randy Shannon accuse then Florida head coach Urban Meyer of running up the score.
Even now, there is palpable rancor between the two schools.
Unfortunately, after this season, the Gators again are backing out of renewing a yearly series. Florida AD Jeremy Foley claims that they need seven home games to properly fund their athletic program.
Again, this is hogwash. The University of Florida has one of the largest alumni bases in the country and one of the most active booster clubs in college football. With all of their recent success in football and basketball, Florida should be swimming in money.
The Florida-Miami game should be a yearly series again like it was from 1938 to 1987. It is good for both schools and for college football. Miami certainly wants to play Florida every year. It is up to Florida to step up. Unfortunately for everyone, it looks like Florida is flopping again.