Posted: 8:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
By Brandon Larrabee
They're historic rivals that haven't played every year, but this match-up could be the last time that UM plays its rival at home. At least for a long time. Between money and conference realignment, it's just becoming harder and harder to schedule these things.
No, that paragraph above has nothing to do with tonight's Notre Dame-Michigan game, which has drawn a lot of attention as THE LAST TIME (for the foreseeable future) NOTRE DAME WILL PLAY IN ANN ARBOR. Never mind that the game between Florida and Miami (FL) could be the last time for the foreseeable future that these two teams will play -- period. For whatever reason, likely because of the more frequent meetings in recent years and likely because of the greater relevance in a bygone era, the ESPN hype machine has gone full tilt on Irish-Wolverines and all but skipped over this game.
But it could be a good one. In its first outing of the season, Miami churned out 303 yards rushing, 503 yards of total offense and 34 points. The problem is that the game was against Florida Atlantic, which gave up less gaudy yardage totals but another 31 points at East Carolina on Thursday. Even scaled to the competition, 500 yards is a pretty nice haul, but we'll see if the Hurricanes can keep up that pace.
Florida, meanwhile, simply did what Florida does so well. The Gators limited their Week 1 opponent to 205 yards of total offense and an almost ridiculous 50 yards rushing. But that was against Toledo, and while the Rockets might be a very explosive MAC team, the fact remains that they are a MAC team. It helps that we expect those kinds of games from Florida, but it will take more than one week to prove that UF is that team.
Still, the track record matters here. Florida was an elite defense in 2012 with a first-rate defensive mind in Will Muschamp. Miami was a very good offensive team last season, but not quite elite. (They ranked 25th in rushing offense, 37th in total offense and 49th in scoring.) When the sample size is as small as it is, give the edge to the team that's excelled for a longer time.
Florida 23, Miami (FL) 17