Watching with Interest

FSU coach Bobby Bowden believes Saturday's showdown between Florida and Miami at Florida Field is a good thing, even if it's only a two-year reprieve of a long-lost tradition. In the last 10 meetings versus each school, FSU is 6-4 against the ‘Canes and 6-3-1 against the Gators. "I am glad to see them play. I think it's too great of a rivalry not to play. I think it's going to be a tremendous game," Bowden said Wednesday.

Florida-Miami had been the oldest major rivalry in the state. It began in 1938 and was played every season but one until 1987. The Hurricanes won that last meeting 31-4. Well, the pair finally hook back up Saturday at Florida Field.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden says that's a good thing, even if it's only a two-year reprieve of a long-lost tradition. The Gators travel to the Orange Bowl next year.

"I will be watching that one," Bowden said Wednesday during the Atlantic Coast Conference's teleconference with the media.

"I think everybody in the country probably will be watching that one. Who knows, it might be the two best teams in the country. They haven't played in so long. I've always resented the fact that dadgum, we have to play both of them. Nobody else will play the both of them. I think Tennessee is this year. I am glad to see them play. I think it's too great of a rivalry not to play. I think it's going to be a tremendous game."

Of course, Bowden's Seminoles are off Saturday following opening victories over Iowa State and Virginia. FSU travels to Maryland Sept. 14. The Seminoles are scheduled to practice today and Thursday before breaking for the weekend. And Bowden's weekend will include watching the UF-UM showdown.

"I will be watching it with interest, because we play the both of them," Bowden said.

"I also will be watching what they do and try to take notes of things that we have to be alerted for. I've always said the toughest conference in the world is the Florida Conference – Florida, Florida State and Miami. If you didn't have to play those two teams, you would have a chance every year. What happens is we knock each other off. But if you can get through that league, you've got a good chance to play (for national championship).'

Still, it appears unlikely the rivalry will be renewed annually, since UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley has said he's interested in games with more national interest, against foes such as Penn State, Ohio State or Michigan. As a reminder, it was then-Florida Athletic Director Bill Arnsparger who canceled the series -- Florida went 3-7 in the last 10 games.

The teams have met once since 1987, in the 2001 Sugar Bowl, which Miami won 37-20.

There's also the perception that recruiting battles also are decided by such games. In the last 10 meetings versus each school, FSU is 6-4 against the ‘Canes and 6-3-1 against the Gators. The ‘Noles lost to both last season.

"I think sometimes it is but I don't think it's as big a factor as people would think," Bowden said.

"It's not like if you win all of your games you'll get all the good recruits next year. Sometimes that works against you. They don't want to go there because they think it would be too hard to play. They can play over here. Ocassionally, there is a kid that will take a school because they are on top. We keep saying success breeds success and in many instances it does. But it's not black and white that if you win you are going to get the kids and if you lose you are not."


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