While this year's Florida State-Miami game has no bearing on the College Football Playoff picture or even the race in the ACC, this annual matchup between the Seminoles and Hurricanes is always a big deal. The games have historically had a bearing on the national title and more often than not, boil down to final minutes.
The series is almost dead even, with Miami holding a 35-31 lead. Florida State won last year in a wild game where the Seminoles converted on fourth down and 14 in the final minute to win 31-28. That game was great, but these were better. Here are the five best Florida State/Miami games of all time.
5. Miami 17, Florida State 16
Nov. 12, 1983 – Tallahassee, Fla.
Miami’s first national championship season had many dramatic endings, including this one. Florida State led 16-7 in the third quarter and had wreaked havoc on Miami’s offense, but the Hurricanes would score the final 10 points. Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar hit Eddie Brown for a 37-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 16-14. Kosar then drove the Canes into field goal position in the game’s final seconds. Jeff Davis hit a 19-yard field goal as time expired.
4. Florida State 20, Miami 19
Oct. 8, 2016 – Miami
The 10th-ranked Canes jumped out to a 13-0 lead, but No. 23 Florida State responded with 20 unanswered points to take a 20-13 lead in the fourth quarter. Then Miami’s Braxton Berrios returned a punt 43 yards to the FSU 16-yard line. Four plays later, Brad Kaaya hit Stacey Coley with an 11-yard touchdown pass to close the lead 20-19 with 1:38 to go. However, Seminole DeMarcus Walker managed to get a piece of Michael Badgley’s extra point attempt and knock it away and FSU escaped South Florida with a one-point victory.
3. Miami 17, Florida State 16
Nov. 16, 1991 – Tallahassee, Fla.
In this No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, FSU led 16-7 early in the fourth quarter. However, that lead evaporated thanks to two drives engineered by Hurricanes quarterback Gino Torretta. The first culminated in a 45-yard field goal by Carlos Huerta. The second, which included a clutch fourth-down completion to Horace Copeland, ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Larry Jones that put Miami up 17-16 with three minutes to go. FSU quarterback Casey Weldon drove his team down the field and kicker Gerry Thomas lined up for a 34-yard field goal. His kick went wide right by inches, which was ironic because the NCAA had narrowed the width of the goalpost uprights by 4 feet 10 inches before the 1991 season. The game became known as “Wide Right I.” “Wide Right II” came the next season when FSU kicker Dan Mowrey missed a game-tying field goal against the Canes.
2. Miami 27, Florida State 24
Oct. 7, 2000 – Miami
And “Wide Right III” happened in 2000. FSU came into the game sporting a 17-game winning streak and five straight wins over Miami. The Hurricanes came in prepared to end both, jumping out to a 17-0 halftime lead. With Miami leading 20-10 with less than five minutes to play, FSU quarterback Chris Weinke threw two touchdowns in a two-minute span to put his team up 24-20 with 1:37 left. Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey hit tight end Jeremy Shockey with a 13-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds left to give the Canes a 27-24 lead. Weinke then completed four straight passes to set up a 49-yard field goal attempt by Matt Munyon. His kick missed to the right, hence the name.
1. Miami 26, Florida State 25
Oct. 3, 1987 – Tallahassee, Fla.
A total of 60 future NFL players took part in this classic showdown. FSU dominated for three quarters and led 19-3 towards the end of the third quarter, thanks in part to Sammie Smith’s 189 rushing yards. Miami then took to the air for its epic comeback. First, Hurricanes quarterback Steve Walsh hit fullback Melvin Bratton with a 49-yard touchdown pass and then converted the two-point play with a toss to Brian Blades. Walsh then hit Michael Irvin for a 26-yard touchdown pass and the Canes made the two-point conversion to tie the game at 19-19. The Seminoles responded by driving down to Miami’s 16-yard line, but Bennie Blades recovered a fumble on a botched snap. Walsh turned Miami’s luck into points with a pass to Irvin that ended with him sprinting 73-yards down the sideline into the end zone. FSU quarterback Danny McManus brought his team back with a touchdown pass to Ronald Lewis with 42 seconds left in the game. After a plea from McManus, head coach Bobby Bowden opted to go for two, but his quarterback underthrew his target. Miami went on to win its second national title.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.