For a sold-out 65,000-plus seat complex during a supposed rivalry game, Raymond James Stadium was eerily quiet throughout much of Saturday's game between the Miami Hurricanes and the South Florida Bulls.
Your intrepid blogger braved sitting in the USF student section and was warned by a Bulls fan to keep his green hoodie, dark enough to pass as Bull's green, zipped up over his orange shirt. It wasn't necessary. USF fans were so out of steam by the time Miami turned a fumble into their second touchdown of the first quarter, it was almost kind of depressing.
It didn't seem certain what those fans were supposed to make of the USF-Miami "rivalry," which will be played at least four more times in late November. There were the requisite boos, a couple of "Muck Fiami" shirts, and another that claimed the Bulls were "hot," while the Canes and Noles were "not," illustrating USF's hope that they could at least hang tough with two former powerhouses and make inroads in state recruiting. Might have worked with FSU, but not with a 31-10 loss to Miami.
The idea of the rivalry makes sense, though. With Miami off Notre Dame and Florida's regular schedules since the '80s, and FSU now a conference rival, the Canes could use a solid out-of-conference rival. But rivalries (unless we're counting FIU/Miami) don't happen overnight, and the Canes dominated Florida State in their first five meetings. So, who knows, this could grow into something, but it's not there yet. Not anywhere close.
Meanwhile, Canes fans seemed elated. The Sebastian the Ibis-led post-TD C-A-N-E-S cheer was the loudest thing all game, and it seemed Hurricane Nation was celebrating a win over the Bulls as much as it was capping off a season when Miami might not be officially back but is on its way.
With FSU trapped in Bobbie Bowden drama, and UF losing Tebow and a bunch of other powerful seniors (as well as those persistent rumors that coach Urban Meyer might take his "dream job" at Notre Dame), it seems after the conclusion of this season, Miami might be the Sunshine State's team most likely to be on the upswing.