UF-UM a mean-spirited rivalry


Tim Tebow is pressured by a Miami defender during a game in 2008, the last time the two teams met. Florida won, 26-3

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 3:59 p.m.

They have played in seven cities and eight stadiums. They have played twice as top-10 teams. They have played to start the season and to end it.

And on Saturday, they will play one more time.

Enjoy it. It could be historic.

Florida and Miami may never play a football game again in your lifetime after Saturday's sweatfest. Oh, they could be matched up in a bowl game as they have been twice. And eventually, I guess they could face off in the new College Football Playoff.

But during the regular season? Not going to happen.

I know Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said this week that the only way they would play Miami was at a neutral site.

Don't hold your breath.

I don't believe there is anybody in the Florida camp that wants to renew this series even if all the games were played in coach Will Muschamp's living room.

So Saturday, those of you who will be making the trip to Sun Life Stadium to watch the game will be seeing something you can tell your grandkids about. Of course, almost all of you who are Gator fans will barely be able to see the game because your seats are closer to clouds than football players.

The seating is so bad it prompted Florida to send a letter to boosters who bought tickets for the Miami game.

It read, in part:

“As you can imagine, interest and anticipation in our first visit to Miami in quite some time has helped us sell out our very generous allotment of 12,500 tickets.

“We are writing to alert you, however, that most of the tickets we received will be situated in the upper level 400 sections, and many are in the mid-to-upper rows of those sections. Only roughly seven percent of our allotment will be situated in the lower or club levels. This is not out of the norm, and is consistent with what the University of Miami provides all of its visiting ACC opponents.”

You know, like when the place is packed for Boston College.

These bad seats also cost $85 per ticket. For Miami's next home game you can buy those same seats for $22.30. You can also purchase them from StubHub for $3.

This gouging isn't unusual in college football, but why would Florida continue to help raise money for Miami when it could be playing a home game and making money ($1.4 million net per game, according to UF)? And before you start with the cupcake remarks, I'll bet you don't own a business that counts on seven home games a year and is taking a major blow because there are only six this season. The direct-dollar impact of a game against an opponent like a Toledo is about $4.5 million to the Gainesville area, according to Roland Loog, the director of Visit Gainesville.

In this conference, Florida's schedule is tough enough with FSU added at the end. You don't hear people complaining about who Alabama is facing this season (other than Virginia Tech, Colorado State, Georgia State and Chattanooga).

This isn't about the SEC possibly going to a nine-game schedule, because I am of the belief that it won't happen. I don't think the pro-niners have the votes.

This is about Florida simply not having any reason to play Miami.

And I, for one, won't miss it.

Because they are bitter rivals, but this one is mean-spirited.

Florida started it with The Flop in 1971. Since then, there always seems to be something that goes beyond the actual playing of the game whether it be tacked-on field goals or oranges being thrown or Jim Kelly wearing “Gators Eat Boogers” T-shirts to interviews.

It's never felt like a healthy rivalry. And Florida has enough of them that are.

Things may change well down the road. Maybe an athletic director in 2034 will wonder why the schools don't play and open up the dialogue. But I'm guessing one thing will not have changed.

Florida still won't need Miami as much as Miami needs Florida.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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