Did anyone think the day would ever come that none of the three powers in the Sunshine State –Florida, Florida State, Miami– would be on the outside looking in at the AP Top 25?
That day came yesterday when all three schools were out at the same time for the first time since December 6, 1982. There was a time in the 1980s and 1990s when you had to beat at least one of the three to get a shot at the national title.
Florida State had a 14-year stretch of 10-plus win seasons and top-5 finishes, with national titles in 1993 and 1999. The Miami Hurricanes won five national championships between 1983 and 2001. The Gators won three championships, one under Steve Spurrier and two with Urban Meyer.
That’s 10 national titles from the state of Florida since 1983. No state has come close to that kind of collective success in college football. Not Texas, Michigan, Ohio or California.
The way things are looking we could have an extended stretch of no Florida schools in the top 25. Florida State has dropped three in a row, Miami is 2-3 and Florida has lost two straight and is at Auburn on Saturday. It’s almost a certainty that at least two of the three won’t make it back into the rankings and more than a 50-50 chance that all three won’t.
Although it is strange not seeing at least one of the three in the top 25, it was inevitable.
The explosion of the digital age where recruiters have access to blue chip preps all over the country, the multitude of broadcast platforms where most programs have their games broadcast on live TV and the money schools have decided to pour into their teams make it difficult for one state to hoard all of its top high school talent.
Another point to consider is that no recruit wants to wait a year or two to before they get playing time. Why go to Florida State, Miami or Florida and be the fourth wide receiver when you can go to South Florida and start? You can add to that the scandals that have plagued Miami and Florida State and Meyer stepping down as Gators coach as reasons the schools have hit hard times.
It's time to adjust and adapt, because things are not going to get any easier.