It has been a very long time since the state of Florida’s big 3 were dominant all together. The most recent run for at least out of the big 3 goes back 8 years with Florida State. The Noles won the national championship in 2013 lead by current Texas A&M head coach, Jimbo Fisher.
It has been even longer for the Florida Gators. Their last championship dates back to 2008 when they had head coach Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow. Also it didn’t hurt that they had the greatest roster in Florida Gator history assembled.
For the Miami Hurricanes it has been 2 decades since the Hurricanes were truly a force in college football. Only hanging on by a brand that matches up with any of the programs dominating college football today. Miami last reign over college football included a team that is known as the greatest team ever. That team lead to many first round picks, NFL legends, and future college football head coaches who were once assistance on that team.
The common denominators for the big 3 having dominance over college football were a ridiculous amount of talent stacked up on a team and great coaches that were able to develop said talent. In todays game, those two components are still huge factors needed to build a dominant program.
Many programs in college football have great facilities but lack talent; great talent but lack the coaches to develop them; great coaches but not enough talent to compete with the best of the best. The great thing about the big 3 is that Miami, Florida, and Florida State is that they are geographically positioned where the great talent is grown.
The missing piece for all three isn’t the talent but the coaches. For example, Mark Richt spent 3 years at Miami and won Miami their first bowl game in over 10 years, first ACC Coastal title, first Orange Bowl appearance in over 10 years, first 10 win season in over 10 years, and got Miami ranked as high as No. 2 in the College Football rankings. All he did was bring in a coaching staff that brought Miami a little closer to the modern era of college football.
This is where the next few weeks for the big 3 will become pivotal to them returning to the top of college football.
Florida State Seminoles
FSU lost their offensive coordinator to Oregon and are expected to make some assistant coaching changes as the college football season comes to an end and the offseason begins. Besides that, FSU has to get the locker room to completely buy in to the fact that they are not the 2013 National Championship team. This is a curse that lingers in most of college football elite brands outside of Alabama and Ohio State. The notion that we are as good as last years team spreads like wild fire in a locker room and is hard to extinguish if it is not recognized immediately.
What’s next for FSU and Mike Norvell? The Seminoles need to continue to be a player in the transfer portal for quality veteran talent. FSU picked up a commitment from Tatum Bethune from the UCF Knights. He comes as the second transfer from UCF and the seventh overall this transfer cycle. Having quality vets that have played many games can cut the time it will take for Mike Norvell to turn Florida State around.
FSU’s game against Notre Dame to start the 2021 season was a great recruiting pitch to recruits about what could be. A sold out crowd against some of the best competition in college football is maybe a year or two away if things goes as planned.
The Gators are in total reset mode compared to the other two programs. Billy Napier comes in highly regarded for what he did at Louisiana Rajin’ Cajuns; turning a bottom level FBS program into something that can compete for the Sun Belt Championship. Napier will have to rebuild a culture that loss a lot of the discipline that got them to the SEC Championship game in 2020. Napier will lose leading almost every statistical leader from last season to the transfer portal or the NFL Draft.
Napier will need to continue to fill out his staff and salvage what is left of the recruits who have committed to Florida. Like FSU, Florida will be big players in the transfer portal. There is speculation that Napier will be bringing in some transfers from the Rajun’ Cajun. A smart move if you are trying to create a culture. The Gators will be a quick rebuild if Napier is the guy they hope he will become. Napier is a skilled recruiter and shown to be a good coach as well. It will be interesting to see how Napier’s first season will go.
The next step for Miami and Mario Cristobal will be to hire a coaching staff that can develop the talent Miami currently has. Cristobal comes into a situation where the Canes have a solid offensive roster and good defensive pieces. If Cristobal can get his coaching staff together the Canes can become very difficult to beat. The last big hire Miami had was when they brought in Mark Richt.
Cristobal falls into the category of being a qualified coach with a good track record. Miami with the right coach is the most dangerous team in college football. The talent that every other college football program search for is right around the corner for Miami. If Cristobal can put the talent in the right position to highlight what they do best, then the Canes could be ready to make a run in 2023. Cristobal will have the best quarterback out of the big 3 on his roster returning. He will also have a stacked running back and wide receiver room to go along with his quarterback.
Miami will be exciting to watch come 2022.