Miami football turned around FSU rivalry with Jimbo Fisher departure

Oct 7, 2017; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2017; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 season was a special one for the Miami football team. The Hurricanes ended a seven-year losing streak to Florida State, finished 7-1 in the ACC, 10-1 in the regular season, played in their first ACC Championship Game, won 10 games for the first time since 2003 and earned their first major bowl berth since ’04.

Florida State was coming off of a 10-3, 2016 season and Orange Bowl berth. The Seminoles played in major bowl games in four of the previous five seasons. Florida State needed a blocked extra point after Miami scored a touchdown with 1:38 to go to defeat the Hurricanes 20-19 in 2016.

Jimbo Fisher had Florida State among the best programs in college football during his first seven seasons in Tallahassee. The Seminoles were 78-17 in Fisher’s first seven seasons. In those same seven seasons, Miami went 52-37 in the final year under Randy Shannon, 4.5 seasons of Al Golden and the first year for Mark Richt.

Interim head coaches Jeff Statland went 0-1 succeeding Shannon and Larry Scott 4-2 in 2015 following the firing of Golden who was included in the 52-37 record. Following reported disagreements with the Florida State administration, Fisher was reportedly checked out. Mike Farrell of Rivals.Com commented:

"“Farrell’s take: Only seven players remain from that 21-player top 10 class after the recent departure of Chaz Neal. And that was the transition class from Jimbo Fisher to Willie Taggart, if you remember.And Taggart, who was hired in December of 2017, had to scramble to put that class together with the majority of those commitments coming after he was hired. Why? Jimbo stopped recruiting because he knew he was on his way out.The recruiting efforts for the 2018 class under Fisher were bad, to say the least, and the mad scramble at the end helped lead to a disastrous class. Taggart was over his head at FSU in many ways, but this is a class that has killed the Noles on the field, and this one is on Fisher.”"

The Miami football program was able to take advantage of the 2018 Florida State signing class being ranked 14th. After a 10-3 season, Miami signed the nation’s 10th ranked class. Miami’s 24-20 exhilarating victory in Tallahassee ended the Seminoles’ seven-year winning streak and flipped the rival more than on the field.

Miami rallied from a 27-7 deficit in the 2018 game at Hard Rock Stadium to defeat Florida State 28-27. In the last two seasons, Miami has dominated Florida State. The Hurricanes won 27-10 in 2019 in Tallahassee and dominated the Seminoles 52-10 in the most lopsided victory in the 63 game rivalry.

Both recruiting classes plummeted in 2019. Miami signed the 30th ranked class, Florida State 26th. The first full class under Manny Diaz in 2020 ranked 18th while Florida State was 25th. Miami signed the 12th ranked class in 2021 while Florida State fell to 29th in the first full class for Mike Norvell.

Norvell has a lot of rebuilding to do after Fisher checked out and the 21 game Willie Taggart experiment failed. Diaz has shown the willingness to make changes on the Miami football roster and in his coaching staff when upgrades were needed for the Hurricanes during his first two seasons.

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Miami should continue to build their winning streak over Florida State for at least the next year or two. Florida State is off to a better start in 2022 with nine commitments who have the Seminoles ranked ninth. Miami is 65th with two commits. June will be a critical month for the 2022 class throughout college football.