There could be a rivalry brewing in Coral Gables.
For years, the Miami Hurricanes have been the set destination for quality football in South Florida. Starting in 2006, Miami cruised by Florida International University (FIU), defeating them in all three meetings. Yet, an infamous brawl in their first game sparked a small hatred between both programs. While it has prospered some memorable moments, a match-up headlining the local schools was nothing less than another regular-season game.
That all changed in 2019 when Miami took a trip to Marlins Park, home to where the Orange Bowl was previously standing.
Coach Butch Davis and the Panthers took advantage of the Hurricanes’ weak offensive line and inexperienced quarterback – forcing redshirt freshmen Jarren Williams to three interceptions.
Using their pro-style quarterback, James Morgan, elusive running back, Anthony Jones, and their cannon for a leg kicker, Jose Borregales, FIU racked up 30 points to defeat the Hurricanes. What should’ve been an easy win in the Orange Bowl, turned out to be a fiasco for the Canes.
After the game, FIU’s players taunted Miami by throwing up upside down ‘U’s’ and calling UM the ‘University of Coral Gables.’ The battle between Manny Diaz and Butch Davis is beginning to initiate – and to keep it short – could ultimately start a cross-town rivalry for years to come.
I will be evaluating whether or not FIU is a rivalry based on the definition.
A rivalry should be comprised of consecutive match-ups for a long time, the relevancy of teams, and competitive gameplay between both teams.
Why FIU Is A Rivalry
Almost every team in college football has in-state rivals. However, in the case of UM and FIU, they are located in the same county. The fact that UM and FIU are only nine miles apart from each other, makes this match-up unique from the rest.
This game will determine the best team in Miami-Dade County. Therefore, there is a substantial amount of pressure on both teams. Whoever comes out victorious will earn their bragging rights for the remainder of the year.
This was shown when FIU linebacker, Sage Lewis, ridiculed the Miami Hurricanes after their triumph.
After the blasphemous comments from Lewis, the Miami Hurricanes should take this loss personally. Not only did the Canes suffer the worst loss in program history, but they also lost FIU’s respect. For this reason, UM vs. FIU can ultimately become a rivalry.
Why FIU Is Not A Rivalry
The University of Miami football program was established in 1926 and has competed in 83 seasons. The Hurricane’s lengthy history as a football program has resulted in the accumulation of rivalries. These rivalries include Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and … FIU?
To say that FIU, a Conference USA team, is one of Miami’s rivalries is equivalent to saying the University of Louisianna-Monroe (ULM) is one of the University of Alabama’s rivalries. In 2007, Alabama was flustered by ULM (21-14). Just because both Miami and Alabama lost to a subpar team once, doesn’t make them rivals with those teams.
FIU has only played four games against Miami whereas UM’s biggest rivalry, FSU, has played 64 games. The record between UM and FSU is neck and neck with Miami winning the series 34 games to 30. However, the series record for UM and FIU is a bit lopsided as the Hurricanes are winning the series with three games to FIU’s one.
Let’s face it, FIU is not in the same caliber as Miami. Although Butch Davis has the Panthers on the right track, they will never be as decorated or respected as the University of Miami in college football. In order for this to be a rivalry, FIU must be at the same level as UM. All of Miami’s rivals have at least been in contention for a national title.
To answer the question, UM and FIU are not rivals. Miami’s previous loss was demoralizing and sparked tensions between both programs. However, one good game for the Panthers does not form a new rivalry.