A Second Chance

Sure, Sunday's news of a Florida State-Miami rematch in the Orange Bowl was a disappointing outcome to each team as well as the Orange Bowl Committee. But it's not all doom and gloom. There are positives to the rematch as well. Just ask FSU‘s <b>John Lilly,</b> who has been on the West Coast recruiting the past two days. <p>

For starters, bowl rematches are not new for FSU (10-2), which has played Florida in the Sugar Bowl after regular-season-ending games against the Gators in the 1994 and 1996 seasons. This also will be the first time FSU has met Miami in a bowl game.

"The first thing I kind of thought of is, from our standpoint, it gives us the second chance at the state championship," Lilly told TheTerritory Monday afternoon.

"We beat Florida, they beat Florida. They beat us the first time. But know you get a rematch. If we win this one…if you tell people your last two games of the year we are going to play Florida and Miami, and you beat the both of them, I think people are going to be ecstatic about that. It's another opportunity to win the state championship. You don't get many second chances at things like that."

The Seminoles had hoped to go west and face an unfamiliar opponent in either the Fiesta or Rose Bowls. But Kansas State's Big 12 title and Southern California's slide to No. 3 in the BCS rankings meant the Rose and Fiesta had to accommodate those teams.

The Fiesta then selected Ohio State to face Kansas State, leaving the Hurricanes and Seminoles to close out the 2003 season, not to mention to start the 2004 season with a Labor Day matchup in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

The question now is whether the Seminoles can find the motivation to square off against the Hurricanes. UM defeated FSU 22-14 on Oct. 11 in Tallahassee and the two will have played three times in less than a year by the time they collide in September. And, for what it's worth, FSU hasn't beaten UM since 1999 when the ‘Canes finished 9-4.

FSU was ranked ninth in Sunday's newest Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the final BCS rankings. Miami was 10th in the AP poll and ninth in the BCS.

"That's the great thing about it," Lilly said.

"You have two programs that aren't afraid to play anybody. It's going to be a great game because I think they would play us anywhere, anytime and we feel the same way about them."

It also goes without saying how the game can impact recruiting for each school.

"It's a chance for us to spend a week down in South Florida," Lilly said.

"Although it's the time of year (in recruiting) when we can't contact (players) they can come to practice and see us and we obviously will be in an area of great emphasis for us. It's kind of like a free week in that area. That can't be anything but a positive."

While surprised by the announcement, FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Sunday he expects his team will be prepared emotionally for the Hurricanes.

''It was never set in concrete that we would not play in our own state,'' Bowden said. ``There was a one-third chance you'd play in Florida. I think the fact that you're playing Miami will get their attention.''

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