If you're in the market for a succinct way to sum up the state of affairs at Florida, Florida State and Miami, you might want to get out your notebook: All three have first or second-year head coaches, all three are in flux at quarterback and all three have lost at least two of their last three games. Or you can just look at the latest rankings, where Saturday's 0-3 run against LSU, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, respectively, left the Gators, Seminoles and Hurricanes on the outside of both mainstream polls at the same time for the first time in nearly 30 years.
The last time that happened in the Associated Press poll was on Dec. 6, 1982, years before current head coaches Will Muschamp, Jimbo Fisher and Al Golden ever suited up as college players themselves — and about a decade before most of their current players were even born. Since then, the "Big Three" have been constants: At one point, Miami spent nine consecutive seasons in the AP poll from 1986 through 1994; Florida State went an entire decade, from 1991 to 2001, without falling out of the top ten. In the same span, Florida spent exactly one month (October of 1992) ranked outside of the top twenty.
Over the last decade, Miami (four straight BCS bowls from 2000-04) and Florida (56 weeks in the top ten from 2006-09) have traded off runs at the top. All three have multiple national championships to show for it.
At the moment, though, they have a nice view from the basement: At 0-2 in conference play, Florida State and Miami are sharing last place in the ACC, and Florida is reeling from back-to-back blowouts at the hands of Alabama and LSU, with a trip to Auburn and the annual Cocktail Party showdown with Georgia on deck. In fact, if there's any Florida team on the verge of returning to the polls before Halloween, it may be South Florida, which had its 4-0 start ruined by Pittsburgh a couple weeks back but has a good chance of sliding back into the rankings with wins over UConn and Cincinnati. Considering the Bulls have already beaten both Florida State and Miami over the last two years, the symbolism might be appropriate.