CORAL GABLES, Fla. The last time Florida State came to Miami, the Seminoles won 45-17. Could this one be another rout?
The oddsmakers, who have made the 12th-ranked Seminoles a 20-point favorite for Saturday nights game at Sun Life Stadium, think so. So do plenty of other folks.
People are going to talk about whatever they think, said Hurricanes sophomore wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who wasnt yet on campus for that 2010 drubbing by Florida State. Obviously, yeah, we have three losses and they have one. Theyre one of the top teams in the country. Theyre in the Top 25, so people are going to think that theyre going to blow us out. But its a rivalry game. Emotions are going to be flowing. So you never know whats going to happen.
Dorsett is hopeful of what might happen. It doesnt seem to involve a Miami loss.
We got a good game plan, and I think we should be able to take it to them, Dorsett said.
That hasnt happened very often lately in this rivalry. The Seminoles have won five of the past seven games, including three straight in Miami, where the Hurricanes havent won since 2004 at the since-demolished Orange Bowl.
The last time Florida State won that many in a row in Miami was a streak that began before Hurricanes coach Al Golden, 43, was born. The Seminoles won eight straight from 1963 through 1974.
At least the other four of Miamis last five overall losses to Florida State have been close. The Seminoles have won by two points, twice by three and last year 23-19 in Tallahassee in Goldens first game in the series.
But those are still losses. And with Florida State (6-1, 3-1 ACC Atlantic Division) now a strong BCS bowl contender and Miami (4-3, 3-1 ACC Coastal) nowhere to be found in the polls, Golden knows the Seminoles have a leg up on his program.
I look at it like we should be mad that theyre up there right now, Golden said. If you look at the way this rivalry has gone, its up to the other school to respond. Theyre ahead of us right now, I can recognize that. We all recognize that.
We have to respond. And, obviously, we have an opportunity to do that Saturday night. Theyre ahead of us right now, and so that means obviously player development. That means recruiting. That means whatever we need to do in terms of resources and everything to catch them.
Miami and Florida State both have had their share of struggles since midway through the past decade, when the series stopped featuring regular battles between two of the nations best teams. But the Seminoles, who have a veteran unit, have been rebuilding faster than the very young Hurricanes.
Its a rivalry game, so nobody is supposed to win three or five in a row, said Dorsett, who knows the series history from having grown up in South Florida. Its got to go back and forth Obviously, were going through a little tough time right now. Were in a rebuilding process. We got a lot of young guys on our team They went through their rebuilding process and now theyre one of the top teams in the country, so its going to be a challenge. But I think well be ready for it.
Whether starting quarterback Stephen Morris will be ready remains to be seen. Morris suffered a sprained left ankle in last Saturdays 18-14 loss to North Carolina, and could be a game-time decision. If Morris cant go, Ryan Williams will get the nod.
Whoever starts, it wont be easy against the Seminoles, still ornery from a 17-16 loss Oct. 6 at North Carolina State, which might have ended their national title hopes. Florida State last Saturday crushed Boston College 51-7, a team Miami beat 41-32 in the opener.
But at least the Hurricanes can try to draw some motivation from the 28-point shellacking the Seminoles handed them two years ago at Sun Life Stadium. Florida State took a 21-0 second-quarter lead and cruised to the win.
Yes, were feeding off that, Miami junior defensive end Shayon Green said about remembering the embarrassing loss.
Green said it kind of gnaws at everybody that the Seminoles have beaten the Hurricanes three straight times in Miami. When the Hurricanes beat Florida State in 2004 for that last home win, it had been their sixth straight overall victory, the longest streak Miami ever has had in the series.
But the series sure has turned since then. Although the Hurricanes still have a 31-25 overall advantage, Florida State leads 17-16 in games played in Miami. However, that number is skewed by the Seminoles dominating the Hurricanes when the games in the 1960s and early 70s all were played in Miami.
We definitely have to come to play, Hurricanes junior safety A.J. Highsmith said of Saturdays game, which will be televised by ABC. Theyve gotten the better of us the last couple of years. But were ready for them, and its going to be a big game.
Nevertheless, many believe what will be big is Florida States margin of victory.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson