Crosstown rivals FIU and the University of Miami go at it on the gridiron in November, and already the questions are swirling: How many families will be torn apart? How many friendships will go down the drain? How many neighborhoods will feel the scourge of a community frayed at the edges?
Exaggerations aside, with so many diehard FIU and UM fans throughout South Florida— many in the same household—the good- natured squabbling ahead of game day is only natural.
UM has won the two previous clashes. Will the Hurricanes emerge victorious again? Or will the rising Panthers pull off the upset?
Julian Kasdin ’07 and Dana Brodie will be watching the matchup as a house divided. The couple—he an FIU grad, she an alumna of UM—may even trade their of their upcoming wedding for trash talk come game day, but the hope is it won’t rise to that.
“Look, I think that FIU has an awesome head coach. There’s no doubt about that,” says Brodie, throwing her fiancé a bone. (FIU head coach Butch Davis was UM’s head coach from 1995-2000.) “Their talent level has definitely increased.”
Adds Kasdin, a member of the FIU Alumni Association Board and a season ticketholder: “We might win. It’s a real possibility. The talent gap is narrower than it has ever been.”
As the two hash it out, one thing is for certain: For Panther fans like Kasdin, the stakes couldn’t be higher. FIU football is only 18 years old, a fraction of UM’s near-100years of play. Plus, the Panthers recently appeared in back-to-back bowl games and are making noise on the national stage. A win would be huge.
And for UM fans, the Nov. 23 meeting will be emotional as the team returns to sacred ground: Marlins Park, the battlefield for the game, is located on the former site of the historic Orange Bowl stadium, where the Hurricanes competed for seven decades. Home to Miami’s professional baseball team, Marlins Park is outfitted with some amenities that everyone can appreciate, including a retractable roof and AC, which should make for a comfortable evening of football viewing.
The battle for Miami will pit friends and family against one other in a citywide spectacle that only football can provide. Meanwhile, Brodie has a strong message for fans on both sides.
“Support where you went,” she says. “Support the school that put you into a position to be employed and have a life.”