The Daily Nole

FSU-Miami in Orlando Might Be a Worthwhile Experiment

Jeff Romance/FSU athletics

Reports surfaced last week that the University of Miami could lose home games in 2016. That’s because the stadium it shares with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins might not be ready by the time football season rolls around.

It seems unlikely at this point, but reports are that it’s possible that Miami’s scheduled Oct. 8 contest against rival Florida State could be moved to Camping World Stadium in Orlando. While rival fans like to point out Miami’s recent attendance troubles at home games, the place is always packed when the Seminoles come to town.

Obviously, the Hurricanes would rather play their rivals in South Florida, but having FSU and Miami play in Orlando not just in 2016, but on an annual basis might not be the worst idea in the world and a worthwhile short-term experiment. Florida State wouldn’t exactly cheer the proposition of losing a home game in odd-numbered years, but it was previously reported that the Seminoles were looking to give up non-conference home games for neutral field locations.

Playing an ACC game at a neutral location wouldn’t have the payout that a non-conference event would because of the ACC’s revenue sharing model. From 2018 on however, the Seminoles could still annually schedule as many as seven true home games, even if FSU were open to experimenting with playing Miami in Orlando on an annual basis. With neutral field games against Ole Miss and Alabama, it’s worth noting that Florida State won’t play more than six home games in either of the next two seasons.

Playing a big-time rivalry conference game at a neutral location would be far from unprecedented. SEC East foes Florida and Georgia play the annual contest once referred (and should still be referred) to as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” in Jacksonville while Big XII rivals Oklahoma and Texas play the annual “Red River Rivalry” contest in Dallas.

In the past, other ACC schools have given up home games to play the Seminoles on a neutral field in the state of Florida. Duke gave up games at Wallace Wade Stadium to play FSU in Orlando to open 1995 and in Jacksonville in 1999. In 1996, both Wake Forest and Maryland gave up home contests to play the Seminoles in Orlando and Miami, respectively.

Miami isn’t willingly giving up a home game in this case, but if ever there were a neutral location ideal to host Florida State and Miami, it’s Orlando. Camping World Stadium, according to Google maps, is 240 miles from Miami’s Coral Gables campus. It’s 257 miles from FSU.

Miami could make the argument that an Orlando game would give the Seminoles the advantage on an annual basis since FSU has a larger, more spread out fan base that travels better. Looking over the last 10 years however, the Hurricanes have fared much better against Florida State in Tallahassee than in South Florida.

Miami has lost six straight to the Seminoles and eight of 10 overall, but the two Hurricane victories came at Doak Campbell Stadium. Miami’s average scoring margin against FSU in Tallahassee over the last 10 years is a negative 4.8 points per game. In South Florida, its a negative 10 points per game.

It’s doubtful that Florida State and Miami play in Orlando in 2016 or any year after, but the thought of playing at a neutral location certainly is intriguing and could add a nice twist to what used to be one of college football’s best rivalries. If somehow the Hurricanes are forced to play the Seminoles in Orlando this season and it has success, perhaps it could serve as the start of a new relationship between the City Beautiful and two schools that love to hate each other.

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