Miami says goodbye to rivalry against Florida with 'flop' payback

The Hurricanes upset the No. 12 Gators, 21-16, in what could be the last regular-season matchup between the teams as college football heads toward a four-team playoff.

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And they call this progress?

The vagaries of modern football have already strip-mined us of great rivalries such as Texas vs. Texas A&M and Kansas vs. Missouri, with others on the way.

Conference realignment and financial concerns have made schools rethink whom they play and why.

Saturday we probably caught a last regular-season glimpse of Michigan vs. Notre Dame and Miami vs. Florida.

Notre Dame's decision to semi-join the Atlantic Coast Conference in football means the Irish must forgo marquee games against the Big Ten in order to keep USC and Stanford on the schedule.

The coming four-team playoff will also necessitate all teams eventually play nine-game league schedules, and that's why we probably won't see Florida against Miami. Florida already plays Florida State every year and will want the other two nonleague games to be cupcakes.

So Miami gave No. 12 Florida a bon voyage in South Florida on Saturday in the form of a 21-16 upset.

Any Miami win over Florida, of course, counts partially as payback for the 1971 "flop" game.

Fran Curci, Miami's coach at that time, has never forgiven the Gators.

(Full Spotlight disclosure: Curci is my mother's first cousin, so the "flop" is an onerous ornament on our family tree).

Miami was getting crushed in the 1971 game at the Orange Bowl. Florida quarterback John Reaves needed 10 yards to surpass Jim Plunkett's all-time passing yardage mark. Miami had the ball late inside Florida's 10-yard line. To get the ball back, so Reaves could break the record, Florida Coach Doug Dickey ordered Gator defenders to fall down so Miami could score.

Florida got the ball back and Reaves broke the record. Curci called it a bush league stunt and "the worst thing I have ever seen in college football."

Gee, you sort of hate to see a rivalry like this end.

Maybe Velcro gloves would help

Western Kentucky turned in a near-record performance against Tennessee, but it wasn't anything you'd want to shout to the hill tops.

The Hilltoppers committed five turnovers in a six-play span in the first quarter of Saturday's 52-20 loss in Knoxville.

It was only the third time in 10 seasons one team has had five turnovers in a quarter. Oklahoma State had six in the fourth quarter of the 2010 Cotton Bowl.

The Football Bowl Subdivision record for turnovers on consecutive possessions is seven, set by Florida State in 1972. The Seminoles had four fumbles and three interceptions on their first seven possessions against Florida.

Western Kentucky, coming off a big win over Kentucky last week, finished Saturday's game with seven turnovers.

Western Kentucky actually outgained Tennessee in total first-half yards, 236-84, but trailed, 31-17, because of six turnovers.

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