It’s too early to fly the “Mission Accomplished” flag, but at least we know that my “Save the Florida-Miami rivalry” piece reached the people it needed to.
(That, or said people had the brains to reach my sentiments on their own.)
In any case, I’ve seen numerous people report that Miami athletic director Blake James has been in discussions with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley about future games. However, the discussions were very general. There were no dates or cities thrown on the table as official proposals, though a neutral site game in Orlando (The Citrus Bowl, which seats 65K, is not my first choice but it’s better than nothing) appears to be the favorite in terms of a mutually agreeable way to see this game happen again.
From what I’ve put together, what happened was something like this. James expressed interest in playing Florida to Foley. Foley asked what James had in mind, and James said he’d like to have a home and home series. Foley must have done or said something that suggested less than total satisfaction with the idea of playing annually, and counter-offered a one time, neutral site game. James then said that he’d prefer a home and home, but a neutral site game would be something he’d support, too.
Here’s where it all gets tricky. It’s clear that Miami needs this rivalry more than Florida does. Don’t get me wrong, I want to play Miami as badly as any other Gator fan possibly could. But now that I see talks have been started, I have to backtrack a little bit and point out one thing: we Gators only want to play the Canes. We don’t need to. Miami needs to play Florida to help boost recruiting and name brand, both of which have been irreparably sunk for the near future with the Nevin Shapiro scandal. It would be GREAT to play the Hurricanes every year, because winning would mean rubbing their noses in it and walking away with a trophy (unless they decide to be immature little children again and not give Florida the trophy when Florida wins) and bragging rights. But it wouldn’t help our program as much as it would help Miami.
What that means is this: Miami AD Blake James will, especially in the event that talks stall, be the initiator here. He’s got to make the perfect proposal. Jeremy Foley isn’t going to be likely to compromise, so whatever James thinks is the most realistic option that Foley would accept is, he has to put on the table. James has to cater to Foley’s demands and do anything within reason that he suggests. If Foley wants to just play one time, then so be it; from Miami’s perspective, that’s better than not playing at all. Each game with Florida helps Miami x amount, and while Blake (and I) would love to play the UF-Miami rivalry every year, he’ll take any game with Florida he can get.
I’ve never rooted for Miami to win anything except against FSU, and even against FSU I find myself reluctant to do so. That’s what makes a good rivalry, and that’s why this game needs to be played again. And that’s why I find myself rooting for Miami’s AD here.