Last April, I wrote on the GPP and in the Miami Herald game story after the first FIU/UM baseball game last season at University Park Stadium, that UM was going to cancel all the series in the revenue sports with FIU.
After the teams played in basketball last December in Coral Gables, I again mentioned in the MH game story that this was the last game between the schools, because UM was going to cancel all the series in the revenue sports with FIU.
Now, I'm no Nicholas Cage in: (you pick the movie, "Next" or "Knowing" both have similar plots where NC can see the future and both flicks also have a lovely co-star: Jessica Biel [near left] or Rose Byrne), but I guess I knew something about this happening 11 months ago.
In last Sunday's paper, Barry Jackson had in his column someone from UM finally talking about the state of the crosstown series......Thank you Barry, Kirby and the folks from Coral Gables for validating what I wrote 11 months ago and again 3 months ago.
In case you missed it , UM AD Kirby Hocutt told Jackson: "'There's history there,'' referring to the 2006 brawl in UM's 35-0 victory. (Miami won 23-9, without incident, in 2007.) ''This particular time, it's not in Miami's best interests'' to play FIU. 'Will it change in five years? Ten years? I don't want to speculate.''
The brawl is a poor excuse, because the teams played with no problems in 2007 in what ended up being a two-touchdown game. Hell, even the 2 head coaches (right) embraced at midfield after the game and players from both sides were exchanging hugs and handshakes afterward.
About the only way the 2 teams meet from now on will be each May in an NCAA baseball regional or possibly in a bowl game with the Hurricanes rebuilding and the Panthers building. They could meet in the St. Petersburg Bowl and draw a much better crowd than the 25,000 that showed last year to see Memphis and South Florida.
Let's set aside the "There's history there". Here's why UM will not play FIU anymore:
Because there's an actual athletic threat brewing at FIU.
I'm not saying the Panthers are ready to start beating the Hurricanes on a regular basis this year or next, but give FIU another couple of years of recruiting and developing. UM will be recruiting and developing too, but here's why the series would start to even out.
Within the past 3 years, FIU hired an AD (Pete Garcia) that knows what he's doing and has made winning a priority at FIU, where before PG, I'm not sure winning was No. 1 on the to-do list under rotating FIU ADs.
FIU hired a football coach (Mario Cristobal) that brought discipline, knows how to recruit and relate to high school and college players and in just his second season tied the program-high for wins and had the Panthers in bowl contention until late November.
FIU hired the nation's top college baseball recruiter (Turtle Thomas) as its baseball head coach and he has the Panthers off to their best start (17-5) since 2002 and brought in the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation.
Here's an anecdote to illustrate the previous point: When the FIU baseball coaching job was open in 2007, the last person UM coach Jim Morris wanted to see take the FIU job was Turtle Thomas.
Forget about the past when they worked together, Oliver Stone is not making a movie about that and unless you are TT or JM, you don't know squat about that situation. Only those 2 guys know.
Here's why JM did not want TT 9 miles away coaching Division I baseball: Thomas, before FIU, had produced 19 consecutive top 10 recruiting classes at his previous stops and at FIU -- a program that has not been to an NCAA regional since 2002, TT got the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation in his first full recruiting season in 2008.
So when the FIU job was open, JM quickly recommended to FIU AD Pete Garcia to hire 1 of his 2 assistants: J.D. Arteaga or Gino DiMare -- a combined 17 years of college baseball coaching experience. At that point, TT had 31 years of college baseball coaching experience.
So what you have is FIU getting better football and baseball players than they ever have before and from an area (South Florida) that is a hotbed for both football and baseball talent.
You also have MC and TT recruiting the heck out of the state of Florida and all around the nation -- FIU right-hander Tom Ebert -- he of the 1.80 ERA and 95 MPH heat -- is from Iowa by way of North Dakota. New FIU TE Dudley LaPorte, the No. 1-rated JUCO TE, is from Connecticut by way of California.
How did that quote from above go again? : "This particular time, it's not in Miami's best interests to play FIU."
UM's best interests, they have said, is to play more elite teams from around the nation and FIU is not in that category. Fair enough, after all FIU is in year 3 of Division I football and baseball had been mismanaged for some time before TT's arrival.
Yet, there is Charleston Southern and FAMU on the football schedule & St. Thomas and Barry on the baseball schedule. Not exactly top 25 competition and 3 of those 4 teams are in-state.
In the scenario of FIU beating UM, here in South Florida -- Bandwagon Capital USA -- it would not surprise to start seeing -- not the die-hard UM fans -- but the bandwagon UM fans start to take an interest in FIU and possibly even start rooting for them. It's only natural, everybody loves a winner.
Of course, there will be some who will click on the X in the right corner of their screen upon reading this post or send their greetings in the comments section saying this guy might have had a little too much while writing this.
But about 11 months ago you read here how UM was going to cancel all the series with FIU and some then also clicked on the X in the right corner of their screen.
The crosstown series matter has been put to rest on the GPP. Now you vote and decide.