FSU surging ahead of Miami

Updated: November 11, 2011, 11:41 AM ET
By Ryan McGee

On Fridays, Ryan McGee will preview a key weekend matchup by digging deep into the rivalry and determining which team is set up for a brighter future going forward. From fan bases to coaching stability to recruiting success, he'll cover the rivalries from every angle.

This week, he's looking at the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles.

1. Recent performance

Most of the year we have dedicated State of the Rivalry to games that factored into the BCS title chase or at least a conference championship showdown. But this week we're headed down to the ACC and the matchup that not so long ago dominated the college football landscape.

Miami and Florida State first met in 1951 and have kept the series alive nearly every season since. But it didn't become the game until the late 1980s, when both longtime dormant programs had finally emerged together as members of the nation's elite.

Since 1991 we've had Wide Right I-IV, Wide Left, the Miami Muff, and the thrill-a-minute 2009 shootout that stands as the second-highest-rated regular-season game in ESPN history.

Even as the programs have sagged in recent years -- FSU's last BCS bowl was in '06, Miami's in '04 -- the series has never been more competitive. During its most relevant years it was very streaky. Miami won 11 of 14 from 1980-94. FSU answered with five straight, followed by six straight by The U.

However, since 2004, when they met twice, in the Orange Bowl and during the '04 regular season, the series is tied at 4-4 and six of those games were decided by four points or less. The underdog has won the last six meetings and the home team has lost five straight.

But if you shrink the sample size to the last six years, it reveals an edge for FSU. Four of the last six have been won by the Seminoles, including last year's 45-17 beatdown, the most lopsided win in the series since 1997 and second-worst since 1976.

Advantage: FSU

2. Recruiting

A full two months before national signing day, these programs are already locked and loaded, particularly Florida State, which already has a commitment from the nation's No. 1 high school player, Texas defensive end Mario Edwards. (It's not 100 percent certain he'll remain committed to the Noles, but there aren't any sure things in recruiting.)

Meanwhile, the Canes have managed to tunnel around the concern of future NCAA sanctions, landing an early top-10 class of their own. It's not a surprise that the majority of the class hails from South Florida, but like the Noles, Miami has landed a big Texas prospect, quarterback Preston Dewey of Austin's St. Andrew's.