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New Turkey Day Special: UM-USF

Sorry I haven't been around much this week, but like most of the people in the business I'm about to head off on three straight weeks of vacation -- its the only real time we can afford to be off -- and trying to get as many stories done before the summer break.

I just wanted to check in quickly for this news update just released from UM's sports information office. The Canes are going to be playing South Florida a lot over the next few seasons. Four times to be exact on Thanksgiving weekend from 2010 through 2013.

Miami was already scheduled to meet the Bulls in 2012 and 2013. But now they've added two more dates. The two new games added to the schedule are on Nov. 27, 2010 in Miami and Nov. 26, 2011 in Tampa. The dates of games already scheduled in September of 2012 and 2013 (which were announced a year ago) were changed to Nov. 24, 2012 in Miami and Nov. 30, 2013 in Tampa.

UM and USF will play on Sept. 26, 2009, which is the second game of a home-and-home series that began in 2005. The Hurricanes and Bulls played for the first time on Oct. 1, 2005 at the Orange Bowl with Miami winning 27-7.

"Coach Leavitt has done a tremendous starting the football program at USF," said Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon in a statement released by UM. "These games will be a great experience for college football fans throughout the entire state of Florida."

Not sure how I really feel about this, except there is no doubt USF is coming out a winner. I know UM wanted to develop another out-of-conference rivalry like it once had with Florida State before Miami joined the ACC. But is scheduling the Bulls really the best choice? Or is USF simply the best AVAILABLE choice? On paper at least it seems that way when you consider the Gators have never really wanted to develop an annual rivalry with the Canes. USF is in the Big East and is obviously better and further along than UCF, FIU and FAU. But the day USF finally beats Miami -- and it will happen at least once -- it will be a huge victory for the Bulls and will help them build enough of a case in which they can finally claim to be somewhat equal to Florida's elite three.

I know USF hasn't won a national title. And that's still a distinct difference between it and the big three. But when USF can say it not only plays UM on a regular basis, but can beat them too, it invites real competition in recruiting. Right now, I don't care what anybody says, USF still is second-rate to Miami, Florida State and Florida and will not beat those three in a head-to-head battle for a big-time recruit. But the day the Bulls start beating one of those three on the field, it levels the playing field.

Anyway, those are my two cents. How do you feel about Miami and South Florida inking an ongoing series from 2009-2013? Is it smart for the Canes? Or do you like the fact UM is establishing another rivalry with an in-state program?

Answer the poll and chime in with your thoughts below.

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