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Florida–Miami football rivalry

Florida–Miami football rivalry
Sport Football
First meeting October 15, 1938
Miami 19, Florida 7
Latest meeting September 7, 2013
Miami 21, Florida 16
Next meeting None scheduled
Trophy Florida Cup, and formerly
Seminole War Canoe
Meetings total 55
All-time series Miami leads, 29–26 (.527)
Largest victory Florida, 46–6 (1940)
Longest streak Florida, 7 (1971-1977)
Current streak Miami, 1

The Florida–Miami football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida and Miami Hurricanes football team of the University of Miami. The game was played annually from 1944 until 1987, and is now played intermittently. The winning team was formerly awarded the Seminole War Canoe Trophy. Today, the round robin winner of the three biggest schools in the state of Florida (either the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles or Miami Hurricanes) receives the Florida Cup for beating the other two schools in the same season. Miami leads the series 29–26, and has won seven of the past eight match-ups including a 21–16 victory in the most recent game played in 2013.


  • Series history 1
  • Game results 2
  • Notable games 3
    • 1971: The Gator Flop 3.1
    • 1980: Why the field goal? 3.2
    • 1983: Gators defeat eventual national champions 3.3
    • 1984: Game One of ESPN's 1st CFB Telecasts 3.4
    • 1985: Gators defeat Canes in Orange Bowl 3.5
    • 2003: Ex-Gator leads Canes to win 3.6
    • 2008: Again, why the field goal? 3.7
  • Future games 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7

Series history

The Gators and Hurricanes played on an annual "home-and-away" basis until the end of the 1987 season, when the requirements of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for member schools to play eight conference games induced the University of Florida to fill out the non-conference portion of its schedule with teams that do not require a home-and-home arrangement (except for Florida State). Since that time the Gators and Hurricanes have met on the gridiron just six times (Miami winning five and Florida winning oner) with no future games scheduled.[1]

Before the annual series was canceled, the rivalry used to be regarded by many as the biggest in the state of Florida. The rivalry began ten years before future Florida State University fielded its first football team. Given the explanation at the time of cancellation, many Canes fans remain skeptical, accusing the Gators of being afraid of losing, even though at the time, the two teams split the last six games and Miami's only loss in their 1983 national title season was to Florida. Current University of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has reiterated financial concerns as well as SEC expansion as reason for not renewing the series.

The Seminole War Canoe Trophy was hand carved by Seminole Indians from a 200-year-old cypress tree that was struck by lightning. Donated on the behalf of Hollywood, Florida in 1950, it has been an award given to the winner of football games between the schools. The canoe was intended to be a representation of the fighting spirit of the Seminoles. The trophy stopped being passed from school to school in the early 1970s; both schools had trouble displaying the large wooden trophy. After the final game in the "home and home" series in 1987, the Seminole War Canoe Trophy was put on permanent display at the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.[2] In 2011, the University of Florida Student Government approved a resolution, which was sent to UM student body president Christina Farmer, ESPN and the head football coaches at each school, requesting the War Canoe's return to UF since they had won the 2008 contest. In response, Brandon Mitchell, president of the University of Miami's Category 5 spirit club, replied: "The War Canoe was intended for the yearly rivalry and . . . Miami won the final game of that yearly rivalry." Miami kept the trophy and it remains at the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.[3] The teams share a 19–19 record during the 38-game stretch of the War Canoe Trophy from 1950 to 1987.

Florida won the yearly rivalry series from 1938 to 1987 with 25 wins to Miami's 24. Miami leads the series 29–26. Florida holds the longest win streak with seven consecutive wins. Miami holds a 12–9 advantage at Florida Field and Florida holds a 14–13 advantage at the former Orange Bowl. The teams share a 3–3 record on neutral fields at Jacksonville (2), Tampa (1), New Orleans (1), Atlanta (1) and Orlando (1). Miami won the last game between the two schools, 21–16 on September 7, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Of the 55 total meetings, 26 have been decided by a touchdown or less. Florida holds the largest margin of victory with a 46–6 victory on November 16, 1940. Florida and Miami have played each other three times during a combined eight national championship seasons. Florida gave Miami its only loss on the way to Miami's first national championship title on September 3, 1983. Miami beat Florida 31–4 on September 5, 1987 on the way to Miami's second national championship. Florida defeated Miami 26–3 on September 6, 2008 on Florida's way to its third national championship.

Game results

Florida victories Miami victories Tie games
# Date Location Winner Score
1 October 15, 1938 Gainesville, FL Miami 19–7
2 November 18, 1939 Miami, FL Florida 13–0
3 November 16, 1940 Miami, FL Florida 46–6
4 November 15, 1941 Miami, FL Florida 14–0
5 November 14, 1942 Miami, FL Miami 12–0
6 November 3, 1944 Miami, FL Florida 13–0
7 October 19, 1945 Miami, FL Miami 7–6
8 October 19, 1946 Gainesville, FL Miami 20–13
9 November 22, 1947 Miami, FL Florida 7–6
10 November 20, 1948 Gainesville, FL Florida 27–13
11 November 18, 1949 Miami, FL Miami 28–13
12 November 18, 1950 Gainesville, FL Miami 28–14
13 November 17, 1951 Miami, FL Miami 21–6
14 November 22, 1952 Gainesville, FL Florida 43–6
15 November 28, 1953 Miami, FL Miami 14–10
16 November 27, 1954 Gainesville, FL Miami 14–0
17 November 26, 1955 Miami, FL Miami 7–6
18 December 1, 1956 Gainesville, FL Miami 20–7
19 November 30, 1957 Miami, FL Florida 14–0
20 November 29, 1958 Jacksonville, FL Florida 12–9
21 November 28, 1959 Jacksonville, FL Florida 23–14
22 November 26, 1960 Miami, FL Florida 18–0
23 December 2, 1961 Gainesville, FL Miami 15–6
24 December 1, 1962 Miami, FL Miami 17–15
25 November 23, 1963 Miami, FL Florida 27–21
26 November 28, 1964 Gainesville, FL Florida 12–10
27 November 20, 1965 Miami, FL Miami 16–13
28 November 26, 1966 Gainesville, FL Miami 21–16
# Date Location Winner Score
29 December 9, 1967 Miami, FL Miami 20–13
30 November 30, 1968 Gainesville, FL Florida 14–10
31 November 29, 1969 Miami, FL Florida 35–16
32 November 28, 1970 Gainesville, FL Miami 14–13
33 November 27, 1971 Miami, FL Florida 45–16
34 December 2, 1972 Gainesville, FL Florida 17–6
35 November 24, 1973 Miami, FL Florida 14–7
36 November 30, 1974 Gainesville, FL Florida 31–7
37 November 29, 1975 Miami, FL Florida 15–11
38 November 27, 1976 Orlando, FL Florida 19–10
39 November 26, 1977 Miami, FL Florida 31–14
40 December 2, 1978 Gainesville, FL Miami 22–21
41 December 1, 1979 Miami, FL Miami 30–24
42 November 29, 1980 Gainesville, FL Miami 31–7
43 September 5, 1981 Miami, FL Miami 21–20
44 September 4, 1982 Gainesville, FL Florida 17–14
45 September 3, 1983 Gainesville, FL Florida 28–3
46 September 1, 1984 Tampa, FL Miami 32–20
47 September 7, 1985 Miami, FL Florida 35–23
48 September 6, 1986 Gainesville, FL Miami 23–15
49 September 5, 1987 Miami, FL Miami 31–4
50 January 2, 2001A New Orleans, LA Miami 37–20
51 September 7, 2002 Gainesville, FL Miami 41–16
52 September 6, 2003 Miami, FL Miami 38–33
53 December 31, 2004B Atlanta, GA Miami 27–10
54 September 6, 2008 Gainesville, FL Florida 26–3
55 September 7, 2013 Miami Gardens, FL Miami 21–16
Series: Miami leads 29–26

A 2001 Sugar Bowl
B 2004 Peach Bowl

Sources: 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide,[4],[5] and College Football Data Warehouse.[6]

Notable games

1971: The Gator Flop

The end of the 1971 game rankled Hurricanes fans for years to come in the series. Florida quarterback John Reaves entered the game looking to break Jim Plunkett's NCAA record for all-time passing yardage in his last regular season game. The Gators led the game throughout, and were up 45–8 when Reaves threw an interception to Miami's defense with little time left in the game and 14 yards separating Reaves from the record. After calling timeouts to prevent the Hurricanes from running out the clock, nearly the entire defense dropped down in unison and allowed Hurricanes back John Hornibrook to score. Dubbed the "Gator Flop", the play allowed the Gators to get the ball back so Reaves could break the record. On the next drive Reaves would find Carlos Alvarez for a 15-yard gain to break the record, and after the game the entire Gators team jumped into the fountain at Miami Orange Bowl that was formerly used for the Miami Dolphins' live mascot. Hurricanes coach Fran Curci refused to shake the hand of Gators coach Doug Dickey after the game for pulling "a bush league stunt", though Dickey denied knowledge the flop was coming.[7]

1980: Why the field goal?

Toward the end of the 1980 game, which had turned into a rout, Miami players began celebrating on the sideline. Florida fans responded by pelting them with oranges. Their behavior so incensed UM Coach Schnellenberger, then in his second year, that he called a time out to tack on a 25-yard field goal on the game's final play in a 31–7 victory. Said Schnellenberger, "I did that because I wanted the press to come and ask me why I kicked the field goal."

"How are you supposed to like somebody when they're sitting in the stands and you're on the field and they're chucking oranges at you," remarked Miami player Don Bailey. "The crowd was beyond anything that I had ever seen.[8]

1983: Gators defeat eventual national champions

Miami entered the 1983 game as a three-and-a-half-point underdog to Florida. The Gators routed Miami 28–3 in Gainesville, to give the Canes their only loss during their 1983 national championship season.[9]

1984: Game One of ESPN's 1st CFB Telecasts

The 1984 game at Tampa Stadium was televised live by ESPN on its first day broadcasting live college football games. (The first game televised by the network was a Pitt-BYU matchup earlier that day). Trailing 20–19 after a Florida score with 41 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Bernie Kosar led the Hurricanes downfield to a touchdown with six seconds left in the game. With the score 26–20, Miami kicked off to the Gators; having only a second on the clock, Florida's last pass was intercepted by Tolbert Bain and returned for another touchdown as time expired, giving Miami a 32–20 victory, and miraculously covering the spread of Canes -6.5 points.[9]

1985: Gators defeat Canes in Orange Bowl

Florida entered the game as a rare road favorite in the Orange Bowl, over a young Canes team. The Gators were giving 5.5 points in Las Vegas. The Gators played inspired football in a 35–23 win over Miami on September 7. The Canes did not lose at home again until September 24, 1994 (38–20 to Washington), an NCAA record winning streak of 58 games.[9]

2003: Ex-Gator leads Canes to win

Much of the main story line revolved around Hurricanes quarterback Brock Berlin. Berlin, who committed to play for Steve Spurrier as part of Florida's recruiting class in 2000, transferred to Miami in the spring of 2002 after Ron Zook took over as head coach. Berlin stumbled early on and threw two costly interceptions, and Florida capitalized to take a 33–10 lead by midway through the third quarter. Berlin was even booed by the Miami faithful after his poor play.[10] The Gators looked poised to win their first game against the Hurricanes since 1985. However, Berlin rebounded to complete 18 of his next 20 passes with two touchdown passes, setting up four Miami touchdowns in the final quarter and a half. Following the game, Berlin then performed a mocking version of the Gator Chomp to the fans, who vowed revenge.[11] The Hurricanes won 38–33.

2008: Again, why the field goal?

In the 2008 renewal of the rivalry, Florida entered the game as a 22-point favorite. But Florida wide receiver Louis Murphy created controversy by suggesting that the University of Florida was "the new U", sparking a firestorm from both teams and their fans. This handed the Canes some bulletin board material heading into the game.

With 25 seconds left on the game clock, and leading 23–3, Florida kicked a fourth-down field goal to make it 26–3 rather than taking a knee and turning the ball over on downs. Many Miami fans still accuse Meyer of kicking the field goal to allow the Gators to beat the 22-point spread. In the post-game handshake, Miami's Randy Shannon barely touched his hand to Florida coach Urban Meyer without looking at him.

Shannon did not directly talk about Meyer by name. He also hinted the Gators' trying to score would help Miami recruiting. Florida threw a deep pass late in the game to try to score. Jonathan Phillips kicked a 29-yard field goal with 25 seconds to play.

"I'll just say this one statement," Shannon said on Sunday. "Sometimes when you do things, and people see what type of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off. Now, whatever you want to get out of that, I won't say it again. But it helped us. It helped us more than you'll ever know."

Meyer did not take any shots back at the Hurricanes' coach.

"It was a great football game," Meyer said. "Why don't we talk about the players that played a great, hard-nosed football game and quit measuring up to worrying about Florida. I learned a long time ago just coach your team and take care of yourself. Special teams, offense and defense occupies all our time. So I'm good, we've got to move on." [12]

Future games

Though both schools have said they are open to the possibility of future match-ups, no further games have been scheduled.

See also


  1. ^ "Miami Hurricanes Football Future Schedules". Retrieved October 3, 2009. 
  2. ^, retrieved December 2, 2009 
  3. ^, retrieved April 1, 2011 
  4. ^ 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 116–125 (2011). Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  5. ^, Football, History & Records, All-Time Results. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  6. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, Florida vs Miami. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ UM-UF rivalry was once the biggest in the state," (September 5, 2006)."
  9. ^ a b c Ibid.
  10. ^ "Video". CNN. September 15, 2003. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ David Jones. "Florida's Tebow defends Meyer, tees off on Miami's Shannon" USA Today 8th September 2008


  • 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 116–125 (2011).
  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.
  • Proctor, Samuel, & Wright Langley, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing Company, Gainesville, Florida (1986). ISBN 0-938637-00-2.
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