Familiar Foe

With just over a week left until kickoff, the hype surrounding the Labor Day meeting between <b>Florida State </b>and <b>Miami </b>is sure to intensify exponentially. That won't bother the FSU players, who say they already have all the self-made motivation they need. Click here for quotes from <b>Leon Washington, Clifton Dickson</b> and <b>David Castillo.</b>

The Florida State-Miami game a week from Monday in the Orange Bowl will mesh new storylines with traditional enmity - the new-look ACC debuts with its centerpiece game; Monday Night Football reaches the NCAA for the first time; recruiting implications are abound since the game will reach over 65 million nationwide.

The pure and simple (and seemingly lost) aspects of the match up have topics of talk around the Seminoles' practice fields.

"No matter what, when you play Miami you're going to be jacked up for the game," said tailback Leon Washington.

"Everyone will be ready. It's an opportunity for us to go in there and change things. They've had out number for the last few years."

The last five times, to be exact. Twice last season. Both truths that have the Seminoles motivated to send their seniors out with a win over the Hurricanes, something last year's graduating class left without.

"It's almost a necessity that we win this thing," said Washington, a junior. "We have to come out with a bang. We always talk about whose class is the best before practices and in the locker room. Right now that's the 2002 class. They are the last one's with a win against Miami."

Familiar, borderline friendly, and certainly respectful competition exists in the rivalry. Over three-quarters of the players that will take the Orange Bowl field are from the state of Florida. They've played against each other, played with each other, and keep track of one another.

"I read up on their stuff," said defensive tackle Clifton Dickson, a Miami native who will have over two-dozen family members in attendance. "I know a bunch of them from playing back home. On the field, it's just like high school but now everything else is at another level."

Center David Castillo, from Palm Beach Gardens, also shares the connection. Miami punter Brian Monroe was a high school teammate and he played with current Hurricanes Joel Rodriguez and Chris Myers and former defensive lineman Vince Wilfork in a high school all-star game.

Castillo, who favored Miami throughout his childhood and into the recruiting process, says the familiarity breeds his desire to win.

"Most of the guys are from Florida so you've played against them and with them," he said. "We've seen them all play and read about them in the local papers.

"After the game we go say ‘hi' and see how things are going. But before that we're going at each other for three hours."

Then there's the pride factor. National television and conference implications may come and go. The pride is always there.

"It's all about bragging rights," said Castillo. "You don't want to be third in the state. That's incentive enough right there."

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