[Sticky] Ebbs and Flows of the Big 3- 1983 to the present and what it could mean for the future
1983 to 1992 - Miami's Decade of Dominance; FSU's rise; UF probation ridden
1983: Miami- 12-1 ; National Champions; Loses to UF but beats FSU
FSU - 8-4-; Beats UNC in the Peach Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
UF - 9-2-1; Beat Iowa in the Gator Bowl; Beats Miami and FSU
Miami - 8-5- Fiesta Bowl Loss to UCLA: Loses to FSU but beats UF
FSU- 7-3-2; Ties UGA in the Citrus Bowl; Loses to UF and FSU
UF- 9-1-1; No Bowl b/c of Probation; Loses to Miami but beats FSU
Miami - 10-2; Sugar Bowl Loss to Tenn; Loses to UF but beats FSU
FSU - 9-3; Beats Oklahoma St in the Gator Bowl; Loses to UF and Miami
UF - 9-1-1; No Bowl b/c of Probation; Beats Miami and FSU
Miami- 11-1; Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State; Wins over FSU and UF
FSU- 7-4-1; All-American Bowl win over Indiana; Losses to UF and FSU
UF- 6-5; Probation no bowl: Loses to Miami but beats FSU
Miami - 12-0; Wins the National Title: Wins over FSU and UF FSU - 11-1; Fiesta Bowl win against Nebraska; Loses to Miami but beats UF
UF- 6-6; Aloha Bowl to UCLA; Loses to Miami and FSU
1988 - Miami - 11-1; Beats Nebraska in the Orange; Beats FSU
FSU - 11-1; Beat Auburn in the Sugar Bowl; Loses to Miami but beats UF
UF - 7-5; Beats Illinois in the All-American Bowl; Loses to FSU
1989 - Miami - 11-1; Wins the National Title; Loses to FSU
FSU - 10-2; Beats Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl; Beats Miami and UF
UF - 7-5; Loses to Washington in the Freedom Bowl; Loses to FSU
1990 - Miami - 10-2; Beats Texas in the Cotton Bowl; Beats FSU
FSU - 10-2; Beats Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl; Loses to Miami but beats UF
UF - 9-2; Probation no bowl; Loses to FSU
1991 - Miami - 12-0; Splits National Title w/ Washington; Beats FSU
FSU - 11-2; Beats Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
UF - 10-2; Loses to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl; Beats FSU
1992 - Miami - 11-1; Loses to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl; Beats FSU
FSU - 11-1; Beats Nebraska in the Orange; Loses to Miami but beats UF
UF - 9-4; Beats NC State in the Gator Bowl; Loses to FSU
Assessment of 1983-1992
This is the period documented in the first 30 for 30 on Miami. It was all Miami with UF and FSU switching places as Miami's Biggest Challenger in the state. Early in this era, UF was a thorn in Miami's side but later in the decade--starting in 1987-- FSU emerged as national a power and a major threat to Miami. This was largely due to UF going on probation but FSU deserves a lot of credit for building a machine that ran flawlessly for the next 13 years and for using their status as an independent to build a national schedule that made blue bloods respect them. FSU played anyone anywhere and didn't flinch in doing so (are we paying attention UCF Fans!!) Another significant happening in this era was UF dropping the annual rivalry with Miami in 1987-- a move that still angers Canes fans and administrators to this day (More on this in a future post). What resulted from there was Miami-FSU turning into a marquee annual rivalry. From 1987 to 1992, Miami-FSU was one of the biggest games of the CFB season. As all eyes turned to college football in the Sunshine State, the rest of the country discovered that the State of Florida was a hotbed for High School Football Talent.
Due to to their success, Miami coaches in this era were highly desired so Miami went through multiple coaching changes-- from Schnellenberger to Johnson in 1984 and Johnson to Dennis Erickson in 1988. But, they won 4 national titles and didn't skip a beat between coaching changes--mostly because all three coaches were innovative schematically. Schnellenberger brought a Pro-Passing attack that college defenses had trouble defending. Johnson brought the famed 4-3 defense and Erickson brought the explosive one back offense that set the foundations for the spread offense we see today.
As the 80s ended and 90s began, UF hired Steve Spurrier and forever changed Gator football fortunes. FSU stayed near top. The period from 1990-1992 is one the few were the big three were all Elite at the same time. However, this golden era of the Big Three came to screeching halt on January 1, 1993 when Bama crushed Miami in the Sugar Bowl. That Sugar Bowl was the last game for Jimmy Johnson's final recruiting class- the 1988 class. Once Miami was all Dennis Erickson recruits and none of Jimmy Johnson's, Miami began to decline.
1993 to 1999 - FSU and UF rivalry goes National; Miami is probation ridden
1993 - FSU - 12-1; Wins National Title; Beats Miami and UF
UF - 11-2; Beats West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl; Loses to FSU
Miami- 9-3; Loses to Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl; Loses to FSU
1994 - FSU - 10-1-1; Beats UF in the Sugar Bowl; Ties UF(beats UF) and loses to Miami
UF - 10-2-1; Loses to FSU in the Sugar Bowl; Ties FSU (loses to FSU)
Miami- 10-2; Loses to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; Beats FSU
1995 - FSU - 10-2; Beats Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl; Loses to UF but beats Miami
UF - 12-1; Loses to Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl; Beats FSU
Miami - 8-3; Self-Imposed bowl ban; Loses to FSU
1996 - FSU - 11-1; Loses to UF in the Sugar Bowl; Beats UF (loses to UF) and Beats Miami
UF - 12-1; Wins the National Title; Loses to FSU (beats FSU)
Miami -9-3; Beats UVA in the Carquest Bowl; Loses to FSU
1997 - FSU - 11-1 ; Beats Ohio St. in the Sugar Bowl; Loses to UF but beats Miami
UF - 10-2; Beats Penn St in the Citrus Bowl; Beats FSU
Miami - 5-6; No Bowl; Loses to FSU
1998 - FSU - 11-2; Loses to Tenn in the Fiesta Bowl; Beats UF and Miami
UF - 10-2; Beats Syracuse in the Orange Bowl; loses to UF
Miami - 9-3; Beats NC State in the Micron PC Bowl; Loses to FSU
1999 - FSU - 12-0; Wins the National Title; Beats Miami and UF
UF - 9-4; Loses to Mich. St in the Citrus Bowl; Loses to FSU
Miami - 9-4; Beats Ga. Tech in the Gator Bowl; loses to FSU
Assessment of 1993-1999
This Era was all about FSU and UF. Once Miami's roster consisted only of Dennis Erickson’s recruits, the Canes began to lag behind FSU and UF. Don't get me wrong, Erickson recruited some great players but he didn't hit on nearly as many of his recruits as Johnson did. 1993 and 1994 were ok seasons for Miami but foundation built in the 80s was starting to crack. Then after the 1994 season, everything imploded when Miami lost Erickson to the NFL and simultaneously got caught up in a pay-for-play scandal that led to probation. As Miami declined, UF rose even further and the FSU machine kept churning.
UF-FSU turned into the most anticipated game of the season. Miami's decline also helped FSU and UF cement themselves in recruiting. A lot of the South Florida H.S. players that Jimmy Johnson-- and to a lesser extent Dennis Erickson -- would've gotten to go to Miami, started going to FSU. The Seminoles became the team for South Florida H.S talent and UF cemented itself in other parts of the state.
In 1995, Miami hired Butch Davis who would have trouble getting Miami out of its probation rut. This era closed with FSU getting two national titles (93, 99) and UF getting one national title in 1996. As FSU and UF peaked in the 90s, Butch Davis and Miami were getting creative by using track and academic scholarships to circumvent probation. They used these outside the box tactics to bring in talented South Florida H.S. players such as Najeh Davenport. Santana Moss, and Ethnic Sands.
2000 to 2004: Miami Dominates; UF and FSU Decline.
2000 - Miami - 11-1; Beats UF in the Sugar Bowl; Beats FSU and Miami
UF - 10-3; Loses to Miami in the Sugar Bowl; Loses to FSU and Miami
FSU - 11-2; Loses to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl; Loses to Miami but beats UF
2001 - Miami - 12-0; Wins National Title - Beats FSU
UF - 10-2; Beats Maryland in the Orange Bowl; Beats FSU
FSU - 8-4; Beats Va Tech in the Gator Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
2002 - Miami - 13-1 ; Loses to Ohio State in the Fiesta; Beats UF and FSU
UF - 8-5; Loses to Michigan in the Outback Bowl; Loses to Miami and FSU
FSU - 9-5; Loses to UGA in the Sugar Bowl; Loses to Miami but beats FSU
2003 - Miami - 11-2; Beats FSU in the Orange Bowl; Beats UF and FSU Twice
UF - 8-5; Loses to Iowa in the Outback Bowl; Loses to Miami and FSU
FSU - 10-3; Loses to Miami in the Orange Bowl; Beats UF but loses to Miami twice
2004 - Miami - 9-3; Beats UF in the Peach Bowl; Beats FSU and UF
UF - 7-5; Loses to Miami in the Peach Bowl; Beats FSU but loses to Miami
FSU - 9-3; Beats West Virg. in the Gator Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
Assessment of 2000 to 2004:
By the time the early 2000's started, it was evident that Miami was on its way back. The 2000 season was another one of those rare instances where FSU, Miami, and UF all fielded elite teams. However, this would change as soon as Bobby Bowden lost long time assistant and offensive coordinator Mark Richt at the end of the 2000 season and Spurrier's sudden resignation at the end of the 2001 season. FSU fell off the second Mark Richt left. At the same time, the UGA program Richt took over immediately got better. This made it obvious that Richt was the one running Fsu while Bowden had become a mere figurehead. Without Richt, Bowden would enter a lost decade that saw FSU not reach national prominence again Jimbo Fisher took over.
As for UF, Spurrier's sudden resignation on January 4, 2002 left UF and their AD Jeremy Foley scrambling. Foley's search for UF's next coach became a case study in how not conduct a coaching search. Over zealous UF fans tracked the UF plane to Norman Oklahoma to be turned down by Bob Stoops and Denver to be turned down by Mike Shannahan. This turned into a national embarrassment for UF. With the NFL entry deadline approaching and with UF doing everything it can to keep Rex Grossman, Earnest Graham and Taylor Jacobs from jumping to the NFL, Foley shortsightedly hired former Spurrier assistant Ron Zook.
While UF and FSU struggled with transitions, Miami turned into one of the greatest teams in college football history. From September 9, 2000 until January 3, 2003 Miami won 34 consecutive games. In the middle of this run, Butch Davis left for the NFL and Miami promoted Larry Coker in 2001 who performed admirably early on— even winning a national title— but the program declined gradually the longer Coker's was in charge at Miami.
At FSU, the Seminoles suffered a precipitous drop as soon as Mark Richt left in January of 2001. The 2001 season -- the first one without Richt-- saw FSU drop to the middle of the pack in the ACC. The Noles got blown out by UNC, Miami and UF. They also lost to NC State. The 2001 seminoles also become the first Seminole team to fail to win the ACC-- as Maryland represented the conference in the Orange Bowl. 2001 was a sign of things to come and not the abberation FSU had hoped it would be. The Noles won the ACC in 2002 and 2003 but were still far from being a national contender. In 2004, they dropped further as rumblings about Bowden stepping down permeated through the program.
At UF, Zook brought in great recruiting classes that laid the foundation for Urban Meyer's early success but his management of the program and on-field decision making were mediocre at best. This era of the Big 3 ended on October 25, 2004 when Jeremy Foley pulled the plug on the Ron Zook era. Having learned his lesson from the coaching search in 2002, Zook secretly courted and eventually landed Urban Meyer, —the most dyanamic young coach in the country who was in the midst of taking Utah to heights it had never before seen.
2005-2009: Urban Meyer makes UF Elite; Miami Declines as they enter the ACC while FSU is mired in mediocrity
2005 - UF - 9-3; Outback Bowl win over Iowa — Beats FSU
Miami- 9-3; Peach Bowl loss to LSU — Loses to FSU
FSU - 8-5; Orange Bowl loss to Penn State — Loses to UF but beats Miami
2006 - UF - 13-1; Wins National Title; Beats FSU
Miami -7-6; Beats Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl; Loses to FSU
FSU - 7-6; Beats UCLA in the Emerald Bowl; Loses to UF but beats Miami
2007 - UF - 9-4; Loses to Michigan in the Cap One Bowl; Beats FSU
Miami - 5-7; No Bowl; Beats FSU
FSU - 7-6; Loses to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
2008 - UF - 13-1; Wins National Title; Beats Miami and FSU
FSU - 9-4; Beats Wisconsin in the Champ Sports Bowl; Beats Miami but Loses to UF
Miami - 7-6; Loses to Cal in the Emerald Bowl; Loses to UF and FSU.
2009 - UF - 13-1; Beats Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl; Beats FSU
Miami - 9-4; Loses to Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl; Beats FSU
FSU - 7-6; Beats West Vir. in the Gator Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
Assessment of 2005 to 2009
As 2005 began, Miami was still considered the top dog in the state. They had a 6 game winning streak against FSU and had beaten UF 4 of the previous 5 season. The Canes had a decent 2005 season but a late season loss to Ga tech — that cost the Canes a spot in the ACC Championship Game— and an embarrassing Peach Bowl loss to FSU sent Miami into a panic. Coker was told to make changes and he immediately got rid of offensive line coach Art Kehoe who was an institution at Miami. Kehoe had been at Miami since the early 80. Coker’s changes following 2005 were seen as a band aide on bigger issues. Coker’s seat was hot going into 2006, but the Canes did nothing to cool his seat. Coker was fired the day after Miami’s bowl win over Nevada. In 2007, Miami handed the keys to the program to Randy Shannon- a native Miami-an who played linebacker under Jimmy Johnson and served as Miami’s defensive coordinator. Shannon used his connections to recruit elite players from South Florida but he was unable to make Miami dynamic. Under Shannon, the canes frequently looked flat, dull and predictable.
FSU had similar issues. Nepotism turned into a cancer as offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden become the whipping boy for FSU’s pedestrian offense. To make matters worse, Urban Meyer punished FSU like no coach previously had since FSU entered the elite in 1987. After Bobby Bowden fired his son Jeff, FSU lured longtime LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fischer with promises of being a “coach in waiting”. As an OC and the next in line for the thrown in Tallahassee ,Jimbo laid the groundwork for FSU success in the next decade. By the time Bowden stepped down after the 2009 season, Jimbo was ready to hit the ground running
Talk to UF fans about the Urban Meyer era and you’ll get conflicting responses. Urban brought great memories but his era was constantly mired in controversy. One thing is certain: despite the fact Urban Meyer had so much success in his six years at UF, Steve’s Spurrier era at UF is recalled more fondly. The gators won national titles in 2006 and 2008 with Chris Leak and the transcendent Tim Tebow. Then in 2009, UF’s shot at repeat was derailed by Nick Saban’s newly minted Death Star at Alabama. Several close to the program saw Urban begin to unravel in 2009. This led to his sudden resignation and then a change of heart in the days following the loss to Alabama. Urban returned to the Gators’ sideline in 2010 but things would never be the same between him and Gator nation. As soon as Urban stepped down, Jimbo was ready to deploy a hegemonic plan to control South Florida recruiting.
2010-2017: Jimbo Fisher humiliates the Big Three; UF Declines while Miami is stuck in the Mud.
2010- FSU - 10-4; Peach Bowl win over South Carolina; Beat Miami and UF
UF - 8-5; Outback Bowl win against Penn State; Loses to FSU
Miami- 7-6; Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame; Loses to FSU
2011 - FSU - 9-4; Beats Notre Dame in the Outback Bowl; Beats Miami and UF
UF - 7-6; Beats Ohio State in the Gator Bowl; Loses to FSU
Miami- 6-6; Self-Imposed Bowl Ban; Loses to FSU
2012 - FSU - 12-2; Beats Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl; Beats Miami but loses to UF
UF - 11-2; Loses to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl; Beats FSU
Miami - 7-5; Self Imposed Bowl Ban; Loses to FSU
2013 - FSU - 14-0; Wins National Title; Beats Miami and FSU
Miami - 9-4; Loses to Louisville in the Champ Sports Bowl; Beats UF but loses to FSU
UF - 4-8; No Bowl; Loses to Miami and FSU
2014 - FSU - 13-1; Loses to Oregon in the Rose Bowl; Beats Miami and FSU
UF - 7-5; Beats East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl; Loses to FSU
Miami - 6-7; Loses to South Carolina in the Independence bowl; Loses to FSU
2015 - FSU - 10-3; Loses to Houston in the Peach Bowl; Beats Miami and FSU
UF - 10-4; Loses to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl; Loses to FSU
Miami - 8-5; Loses to Wash. St. in the Sun Bowl; Loses to FSU
2016 - FSU - 10-3; Beats Michigan in the Orange Bowl; Beats Miami and FSU
UF - 9-4; Beats Iowa in the Outback Bowl; Loses to FSU
Miami - 9-4; Beats West Virg. in the Champ sports Bowl; Loses to FSU
2017 - FSU - 7-6; Beats So Miss in the Independence Bowl; Loses to Miami but beats UF
Miami - 11-3; Loses to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl; Beats FSU
UF - 4-7; No Bowl; Loses to FSU
Assessment of 2010-2017
On December 5, 2009 Alabama ended Urban’s reign of terror on the SEC and the Big Three. Then, the night before UF left for the Sugar Bowl— a consolation prize for losing to Bama in the SECCG —, Urban Meyer announces that he was stepping down. At that very moment, UF’s budding dynasty was over. Yeah, I know. Urban decided to come back a few days later and coached another 12 months, but it was over the second he stepped down in 2009. From there, Jimbo Fisher took control of the State of Florida.
Jumbo Fisher’s 1st year was a success. The Seminoles look much more explosive than they looked at any point in the post- Mark Richt era. They also got to the ACC Championship game. But more importantly, they crushed Miami and then UF which precipitated Urban Meyer stepping down a few weeks later. Following the win over UF, FSU went on a recruiting rampage. FSU 2011 class reeked of the FSU of old. It struck fear in Miami and UF. The 2011 Class would manifest itself in the 2013 when they anchored FSU to the National Title.
Miami had big expectation going into 2010. Jacory Harris was now an upper classman and expected to take Miami to the next level. The Canes had all their key pieces back on defense and at the offensive skill positions. However, early in the season it became evident that Miami was going to be massive disappointment, a blowout loss at Ohio State and an early October embarrassment agains FSU at home set off alarms. 2010 was the team Randy Shannon had always been building toward. But, it was the team that ended up costing Randy Shannon his job. After an overtime loss to South Florida in a near empty Pro Player stadium, Miami’s administration pulled the plug on their native son, Randy Shannon, who had a great deal of allies in the South Florida area. Miami replaced Shannon with Al Golden, a former Penn State TE who as a head coach took Temple’s program from the dumps and them respectable. Although he was an outsider, what he did with Temple was impressive enough to get Miami’s attention. Also, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson were both outsiders so Golden as an outsider was expected to do great things at the U. As Miami would find out over the next 8 years, Al Golden caused significant damage to Miami’s brand.
Near the end Golden's tenure, Luther Campbell spelled out to SBnation exactly how Golden ignored a lot of the local HS talent that went to do great things at other programs:
Miami’s rival to the North— UF— would have similar brand issues with Will Muschamp. And Again, Jimbo Fisher was there to capitalize every point of the way.
Following Urban Meyer’s second and final resignation in 2010, Florida AD Jeremy Foley made a terrible miscalculation. He saw how quickly Nick Saban had turned Alabama into a monster. So, naturally, he wanted to emulate Alabama. It made sense to all of us in Gator Nation. Alabama was pro-style, Alabama was line of scrimmage; Alabama was Defense First; Alabama was overpowering. We wanted the same thing, and to us, Urban Meyer’s brand of football was dying. Foley, however, miscalculated in not realizing how rapidly the Spread Offense infected to all levels of football— from youth to College and then the pros. He also didn’t realize that Alabama was more than a smashmouth defensive first mentality. Alabama was about process, Alabama was about psychology, Alabama was about manpower. Alabama was about Cold Calculated Ruthlessness. Unfortunately for UF, Will Muschamp had a smash mouth defensive mentality but nothing more. He lacked Process. He didn’t understand how psychology affected the game. He couldn’t assemble the man power (Some say Foley refuse to provide the manpower) And, he lacked ruthlessness. Muschamp was nothing like Saban and looked like a rookie coach in over his head from day one. His recruiting was unbalanced. His roster management was stubborn. His understanding of offensive philosophy was minimal; his game theory was an embarrassment. Uf which was at its best when it was cutting edge offensive offensively devolved into cave man football tactics. To make matters worse, Muschamp was known for defense ,and in the aggregate, his defense put up good number, but was situationally poor in that it seemed to get out schemed at key points in games. The Muschamp era mercifully ended in 2014. By the time he was done, major damage had been done to UF’s brand.
The next coach UF brought in was different than Muschamp but missed the point himself. Jim McElwain was a different kind of disaster. One thing that became evident as the Golden and Muschamp’s failed era came to an end was the extent to which FSU recreated a substantial talent Gap.
Jimbo Fischer’s 2013 national championship team was the culmination of the 2011 and 2012 recruiting class. When Jimbo pulled the veil off of Jameis Winston, FSU was primed for a championship run. The Notes had everything: Elite QB; Elite RBs; Elite WRs; Elite TE; Elite OL; Elite DL; Elite LBs, and Elite DBs. The Noles were a perfectly built team. They stroke you early on offense while the Defense strangled you. The Special Teams was also elite. The National Championship season came at the perfect time for FSU as UF suffered its worse season since 1979— a 4-8 campaign that was the manifestation of Muschamp’s early rookie mistakes in recruiting, coaching hires, and style. Like Ships passing in the night UF and FSU went in opposite directions. UF wouldn’t regain footing again, and only recently under Mullen have they begun to push back. Miami suffered a similar fate even as they thought the bad times were behind them following the hiring of Mark Richt— a coach who routinely won 9-10 games a year at UGA. As Miami would find out, they got a coach whose game theory and style had become stale. They got an outdated Mark Richt.
Mark Richt and Jim McElwain took over Miami and UF respectively a year apart from each other— McElwain in 2015 and Richt 2016. What’s more ironic, is that Georgia parted ways with Richt after McElwain's first Gator Team blew the doors off of UGA in the 2015 cocktail party. The victory was false hope for UF and an obvious sign to UGA that Richt was getting panced by an undynamic coach with no self-awareness in McElwain.
As UGA had hoped when they fired Richt, Kirby Smart -- in year 2 of his tenure -- boat raced past UF and immediately established UGA as superior program to UF. New AD Scott Striclin saw a future in the SEC that included UGA and Bama but not UF. He acted swiftly after the loss to UGA by firing McElwain. Like McElwain, Richt suffered a very difficult year three that was too difficult overcome. Like clockwork, Jimbo Fischer’s increasingly fractured marriage with FSU ended with Fischer bolting to Texas AM.
FSU Hired Willie Taggert and UF hired Mullen. To replace Richt, Miami promoted longtime defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to the head coaching position. Now, this new Era of the Big Three has just began. Early returns point to Dan Mullen being a success while Willie Taggart’s tenure looks like it’s headed for disaster. Manny Diaz is a big unknown. So, it’s still early to judge this new era of the Big 3.
What I picked up on about 1983-2017:
There are very few points in the last 35 years where Miami, FSU and UF all fielded elite teams simultaneously. All three were elite from 1990 to 1992 and in 2000. Outside of those years, it appears that at least one of the Big Three struggled and sometimes 2 of the Big 3 have struggled. I think this largely speaks to the difficultly in making good coaching hires. There are very few instances in the last 35 years when all members of the Big 3 had elite coaching staffs at the same time. Keep in mind, College Football is a massive bell curve and there are very few coaches who have the right mix of innovative scheme, charisma, and ruthlessness to consistently finish ahead of the rest. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that at least one of the Big Three will always struggle.
On the other hand, there are very few instances in the last 35 years when all three were bad or mediocre at the same time. I can only think of 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011 as seasons where there wasn't at least one Elite team in the Big Three. So, odds are that at least one of the Big Three will have the Elite Coaching to propel them into college football's elite. In fact, in every one of the Eras defined above, at least one member of the Big Three has won a national title.
Going into the future, it is likely that one or two members of the Big Three will enter the ranks of the elite while 1 or 2 will be mired in mediocrity.
2018 to ???????
2018 - UF - 10-3 - Beats Michigan in the Peach Bowl; Beats FSU
Miami - 7-6 — Loses to Wisconsin in the Pinstrip Bowl; Beats FSU
FSU - 5-7; No Bowl; Loses to Miami and UF
Right now, it looks like Dan Mullen will rise above the pack and will make UF a national contender. It is hard to predict whether one of Miami or FSU will rise out of their current ruts or whether both Miami and FSU will remain mired in mediocrity. If I had to make an educated guess, I think we're about to enter an era where UF will dominate the Big Three in recruiting while Miami and FSU remain behind and try to play catch up. The Willie Taggart era is going worse than imagined for FSU and Willie doesn't have the luxury of patience that he had at USF. Manny Diaz could turn out to be the next Jimmy Johnson or he could turn out to be the next Randy Shannon. My guess is the latter simply because of how behind in recruiting Miami appears to be and the fact that Miami is Manny Diaz's first head coaching gig. Also, out of state programs are almost as popular as the Big Three when it comes to big time recruits. So, right now, with programs like Bama, Clemson, Ohio State, and UGA getting the best players from Florida, it appears only one of the Big Three can be elite while the other two stay stuck in mediocrity. However, I am a UF fan so others fans of the Fan 3 probably see a different future for their teams.
Let's see Your Predictions:
What do all of you think? What does the past of the Big 3 tell us about the future? Predict the next era of the Big 3 and how it will play out.