Ease up on FSU/Miami Hype Already

Monday night Florida State and Miami played an exciting and thoroughly entertaining football game which the ‘Canes won 38-34 at least in part because inept clock management by the Noles in the final minute. The game was a reminder of how these teams used to play one of the most important games of the year each and every season.

However those days are long gone and neither FSU nor Miami has been a factor on the national scene for what seems like a decade (but it's not).

The game has just about everyone with a column, blog or microphone proclaiming the teams to be back in the national discussion. To those pundits I offer up two words.

Stop it.

Miami and FSU played an entertaining dramatic game last year with the Noles holding on for a 41-39 win. Did that game propel either/both into the national elite? Of course not. What's the difference this time? You had a prime time Monday night game with too many people watching with nothing else to write/talk about.

In both cases the teams had pretty much of a free reign offensively as evidence by the combined average of 38 points per team per game. In both cases there were mind numbing sideline decisions that affected the outcome. In both cases you had two teams that played hard, showcased some offensive skill but raised huge questions about their ability to defend top opponents.

Looking ahead ----

Whether or not these teams return to the top 20 or top 10 will be determined not by a media debate but by how they perform in the weeks ahead. Each team will have opportunities to prove they have improved from the mediocrity that has taken over both campuses in recent years.

Miami ---- The Hurricanes looked to have the toughest first month in college football, but right now it seems manageable. A home game with Georgia Tech is up next Saturday followed by a trip to face a Virginia Tech team that looked pretty vulnerable against Alabama. The Hokies were out gained by the Crimson Tide by 343 yards (498-155). Then there's Oklahoma in South Florida, but Oklahoma without Jermaine Gresham and probably without Sam Bradford. A week ago I would have predicted a 1-3 start, but now 3-1 looks very doable. After this month Clemson and North Carolina are the toughest teams left on the ‘Canes slate.

Florida State ---- The Seminoles have this weekend off before a scrimmage with Jacksonville State. Then on September 19th you could argue their season will be on the line when they travel to Provo to take on Brigham Young. BYU stunned the football world by knocking off Oklahoma and may have their best team since their undeserving National Champs of 1984. The post-September schedule includes many of the same teams facing Miami, plus of course the trip to The Swamp to face the top-ranked Gators. If FSU can win at BYU a top-20 or better season is within reach, but if they take a second loss this early 7-5 becomes much more likely.

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To be back in the "national discussion" Florida State and Miami have to do more than playing exciting games against each other. They have to win nine or ten games and they have to do it more than once. Until that happens the only team in the "national discussion" resides in Gainesville.


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