As the 2009 season approaches, I'd like to take the next few moments of your time, and reflect on perhaps the greatest series of the past quarter of a century, and quite possibly even one of the greatest series of all-time.
Many College Football fans out there can remember exactly where they were for the thrilling Triple-OT Miami loss to Ohio State, an instant classic dubbed—'The Call,' in 2002.
A good number of people may remember the 1999 National Championship when Michael Vick ran like a sugar plum fairy all through our heads, and hearts, to became a national sensation playing opposite Heisman Grandpa Chris Weinke.
Anyone who's followed Rocky Top the last 60 years will forever remember Tee Martin, (...and not Peyton Manning) winning Tennessee's first National Title in over 45 years, in 1998.
The nation went crazy for the see-saw ride that became "The Rematch" in 1996. The Gators and Seminoles, Spurrier vs. Bowden—Part Two: This time for a National Title.
Miami's 20+ point drubbing of Nebraska to claim it's fourth National Title in 1991 was hard to miss. (But in case you did miss it, they did it again for their 5th one in 2001.)
...and who could possibly ever forget Charlie Ward vs. Tommy Frazier in 1993? The pass to Trumaine Bell with 00:01 left, only to see Nebraska kicker Byron Bennet's 45 yard attempt miss the left upright?
If you haven't figured out yet what series I'm alluding to—maybe I should cut to the chase.
In the last 25 years, no other game has held a more significant role in placing at least one of the two National Championship contestants than Florida State vs. Miami.
Florida State and Miami have combined to place one of the two teams in the big game 13 times.
Yes, 13 of the last 25 regular season match ups between these two perennial rivals, has sent the winner to a National Championship 11 times, and in two cases, the loser.
Let's take a closer look at that.
(National Champs are indicated in parentheses)
2002 Miami W 28-27 (Ohio State)
2001 Miami W 49-27
2000 Florida State L 24-27* (Oklahoma)
1999 Florida State W 31-21
1998 Florida State W 26-14 (Tennessee)
1996 Florida State W 34-16 (Florida)
1993 Florida State W 28-10
1992 Miami W 19-16 (Alabama)
1991 Miami W 17-16
1989 Miami L 24-10*
1987 Miami W 26-25
1986 Miami W 41-23 (Penn State)
1983 Miami W 17-16
Now I couldn't just leave it at FSU-Miami, because I'm sure I have a lot of you thinking. "I could do this with any two schools who went to the big game a couple of times."
So, to be fair, I've compared some other match ups from the last 25 years that have come close, but not close enough. Let's look at the 2000's Dynasty-Florida. They've been to the big game two times in the last three years right? They play FSU every year—so that could be a record breaker right?
They've only combined for eight National Title visits (nine if you include 1996 twice.)
Florida-Florida State (nine times)
2000 Florida State (Oklahoma)
1999 Florida State
1998 Florida State (Tennessee)
1996 Florida State (Florida)
1995 Florida (Nebraska)
1993 Florida State
But what about Oklahoma and Nebraska? Oklahoma's been to the big game four times in the last nine years, and Nebraska was there a ton in the 80's and 90's right? Well, unfortunately, they're in different divisions, so they don't play every year. However, they were much closer at 11.
Sorry Big 12 fans.
Oklahoma-Nebraska (11 times)
2008 Oklahoma (Florida)
2004 Oklahoma (USC)
2003 Did not play each other.
2001 Nebraska (Miami)
1993 Nebraska (Florida State)
1987 Oklahoma (Miami)
1983 Nebraska (Miami)
So at this point you're racking your brain thinking, "Who else could have sent the winner of a single game to the National Championship so many times?
Ohio State vs. Michigan? Nope.
Florida-Alabama? Guess again.
Notre Dame-USC? Uh-uh.
So do yourself a solid this Labor Day. Pull up a chair, grab a cold refreshment, let the 12 lbs. of hamburgers and hot dogs in your stomach digest, and give in to the guilty pleasure that is Florida State-Miami.
In the very least, all of the flashbacks and 'Did you know?' trivia questions will help you to recall a sort of nostalgia that you had long since forgotten.
Bernie Kosar, Scott Bentley, Peter Warrick, Michael Irvin, Warrick Dunn, Warren Sapp and Bennie Blades are all hoping you tune in.
Who knows, maybe you'll catch another heart pounding, jaw dropping adventure. History would suggest that between these two programs, at least one of them is due.
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