- Associated Press - Sunday, November 28, 2010

Florida State is on the rise. Florida _ in the words of Urban Meyer _ is rebuilding. Miami is starting over.

If you want to see just how fast the hierarchy of college football can change these days, take a look at what’s going on in the Sunshine State.

In one season under coach Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles have made up much of the ground they had lost to the Gators during the final bumpy seasons of Bobby Bowden’s great career and zipped right on by a Miami program that never did blossom under Randy Shannon.

“I think it’s huge,” Fisher said Sunday. “Usually Florida has been at the top of the country. That’s where we want to be. You have to keep up with the guy who is your neighbor and your rival.”


As unsavory as it was for Florida State to push Bowden out the door after last season, it’s hard to argue with the results or the timing.

With a 31-7 victory against floundering Florida, the Seminoles beat the Gators and moved to 9-3 for the first time since 2003.

Meyer had owned the in-state rivalry since landing in Gainesville in 2005, the last three years hammering away at the foundation of Bowden’s program with Tim Tebow-led blowouts.

When Meyer arrived in Florida, the Seminoles had already begun to slip. The days of contending for a national title every year in Tallahassee were over. Meanwhile, down at Miami, the Hurricanes’ descent under Larry Coker was picking up speed.

Meyer won a national championship in his second season and another in year four. It’s no coincidence that Meyer was cleaning up on the recruiting trail in the most fertile football state in the country while his rivals flailed.

Which is why we might end up looking back at Saturday, Nov. 27, as a momentous day in Florida State history _ and earning a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game was only a small part of it.

Even before the ‘Noles began pummeling the Gators (7-5) at Doak Campbell Stadium, handing Meyer his first loss in the series, Miami’s regular season was coming to a dreary end with a 23-20 overtime loss to South Florida in front of a home crowd of 26,369 at Sun Life Stadium. Before the day was over, Shannon was fired.

Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt said Sunday the decision, “was not made on 60 minutes of football” and it’s easy to believe him.

Shannon went 28-22 in his four years, including 7-5 this season, without an ACC title or a bowl victory. And now Miami, which has five national titles to its credit, is in the market for a new coach.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to get back to the top of the college football world,” Hocutt said.

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