September 4, 2009 5:15 PM

No Joke: Good Seats Left for Miami-FSU Game

There is a lot of chatter on sports-talk radio and Internet message boards in the Sunshine State about Monday night's primetime showdown between Miami and No. 18-ranked Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium.

In this rivalry's prime, no other matchup in the country generated as much media coverage or fan interest. These days? The Virginia Tech-Alabama game on Saturday is the one most of the pundits are excited about.

You want proof how much this rivalry needs a boost? As of late Thursday, FSU's ticket office reported that more than 5,000 tickets remain for the Labor Day evening game on ESPN.

The players and coaches still talk about Miami-FSU like it's 1989 or 1999. However, they are the only ones at this point as both programs try to climb back to the top of the polls.

While both programs have been down in recent years, I'm still somewhat shocked that so many tickets remain available. When I asked FSU coach Bobby Bowden about the lagging ticket sales earlier this week, he cited the economy as the No. 1 factor.

I agree the economy is more to blame than the fact the game is on a Monday night in Tallahassee, at least a three- to four-hour drive from the majority of the state's largest cities. The Orlando Sentinel listed these reasons as why the game won't be a sellout.

Still, when these two teams met four years ago to open the season on Labor Day night at Doak, they drew the largest crowd (84,347) in the history of FSU's home stadium. The second-largest crowd? The 2003 FSU-Miami game that drew 84,336 to a stadium that has a capacity listed at 82,300.

Even in 2007 when the Hurricanes last visited FSU -- with both programs clearly in rebuilding mode -- a sellout crowd of 82,738 showed up.

Bad economy and all, college football just isn't the same when a Miami-FSU can't pack the house.

A Member Of