October 7, 1999 - by
DisSEMinations: Where Have You Gone Michael Irvin?

Oct. 7, 1999

Jay Miller


Doak Campbell Stadium. October 6, 1987. No. 4 Florida State had rolled through the season and over its first four opponents, across the field stood No. 3 Miami.

Those Hurricanes didn’t just stand. They floated.

They were brash and arrogant from deserved dominance, they were to be the next National Champions, and they had Michael Irvin.

Irvin would be the No. 1 pick of America’s Team six months later, and that day in Tallahassee, he single-sprintingly upended the pretending ‘Noles.

Coach Bowden and the
‘Noles are set for
the ‘Canes.

FSU had opened up a 19-3 lead at half, and yet there were no downtrodden faces wearing green and orange. Especially after Irvin took a pass in the opening series of the second half and sprinted the length of the field to the end zone, seizing the air out of FSU. The same day the hint of crisp, fall air crept up on the north Florida town, the day the Seminole’s national championship aspirations died, a rivalry was born.

FSU lost that game in ’87, 26-25, then in ’88, and again in ’90, ’92 and ’94.

Year-by-year, FSU and UM built a series based on bitterness and hatred. 1987 was not the first time the two teams met, as a matter of fact since 1957 the two have clashed 42 times, but what the game did do was break the Seminoles’ hearts.

“I remember the old Miami teams, I’ve seen them coming off of the plane in fatigues and stuff with that swagger, and I don’t think they’ve had that swagger since I’ve played against them,” Jason Whitaker, senior offensive lineman and veteran of three Seminole victories, said. “I don’t see us losing to them,” Whitaker said. “We haven’t lost to them since I’ve been here. I believe we can get them every time.

What has happened to Miami?

Probation happened to Miami. Following the 1994 season, the Hurricanes were strapped with no postseason and a loss of invaluable scholarships as a result of then-head coach Dennis Erickson’s lack of institutional control. Butch Davis was brought in from the Dallas Cowboys and was left to piece together the puzzle, without all of the pieces.

This year was supposed to be the year that the ‘Canes revealed to the college football playing world their rebuilt authority. But instead of arriving in Tallahassee on the wings of a perfect 4-0 start, Miami found themselves devastated by Penn State and destiny’s child, East Carolina.

“They could easily be 4-0 and this would probably be a night game on ESPN, but instead they’re 2-2 and I think this makes (Miami) more dangerous. Now, they’re focusing on just beating us. They think their national title hopes are gone and the whole goal is just to get keep us from winning one. I think I’d rather play them at 4-0 than 2-2.”

When Miami stands on the Doak Campbell grass, on the same sideline as those who have disdainfully stood before, they will be in Florida State’s way. The Seminoles will be looking over the ones in orange and green – not looking past, just over – because rising behind, like the sun the day after so many Hurricane victories, is the New Orleans moon. The Seminoles will be floating.

“I think we kind of have a swagger about ourselves,” Whitaker said. “Nobody’s going to take it to us, and we can take it to anybody.

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