While Notre Dame's potential final visit to the Big House in Ann Arbor -- as well as the comments by coaches Brian Kelly and Brady Hoke -- has garnered all of the week two rivalry talk, there's another game in the southern part of the country that looks to be on its last legs.
That's the series between Florida and Miami, which will be played for the 55th time on Saturday. It's not scheduled for the future.
It's not the first time the rivalry's future has been on rocky ground. Scheduled games in the 1990s were canceled, and this is the first game since 2008. And according to former Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger, Florida was always trying to get out of the game.
“They were always trying to get out of the game,” Schnellenberger said. “But we didn’t give a damn. We just wanted to keep the game alive. We kept it alive as long as we could…”
Miami athletic director Blake James told the Florida Times Union that his school would play the Gators every year if they could. As the conference landscape shifts, Florida would prefer an extra home game every season (instead of the alternating home-and-home that a series with Miami is) to help the athletic budget.
“I think that’s pathetic that a great rivalry is being voluntarily given up when it’s the soul food for the fans and for the students and for everybody else,” Schnellenberger told Southern Pigskin. “To give up on this grand ole game, the traditional game of the state of Florida is almost sinful.”
Through the first 54 meetings, Miami leads 28-26. In that 2008 meeting, now-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who was coaching Florida then, called for a field goal with 25 seconds left and the Gators up 26-3. While Miami was unhappy about it, it was a case of turnabout being fair play; in 1980, Schnellenberger kicked a late field goal after calling a timeout while leading 28-7.
But heck, isn't a genuine feeling of dislike supposed to be what rivalries are about? Hopefully both the Gators and Hurricanes can figure something out, though if the SEC does eventually move to a nine-game schedule, it'll be even tougher.
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