Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
This has to pain Florida State and Miami fans: Knowing that UNC has sold out its first three home games and FSU can't sell out one of college football's most storied rivalry games. (UNC, by the way, has sold out games against the Citadel, East Carolina and Virginia. Not exactly your blockbuster lineup.)
So what's wrong with Doak?
Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel gave five good reasons as to why this isn't a sellout, and the last one, at least to me, overrides all the rest: Florida State isn't back -- not yet anyway. And I'll add to Carter's reason and say that neither is Miami, and that has a lot to do with it.
Both of those programs should take steps forward this fall, and the quarterback position will have a lot to do with that. But both Miami and Florida State are still at least a year away from jockeying for position on the national stage. That will make for quite a conference race, because Virginia Tech is in the same position. While many in and around Blacksburg are clamoring about the possibility of a national title, it's still a young team that even Frank Beamer said the best years are yet to come. And if Jonathan Dwyer sticks around for 2010? There's no reason Georgia Tech shouldn't have similar aspirations.
While this Labor Day game is obviously important for both programs and will reveal an idea of which one is ahead of the other, the burden is on Miami. The Canes will be on the road. They'll need a win to get their confidence going and get some momentum heading into a brutal three-game stretch. If Miami is going to start 2-2, one of the wins must come in Doak. It's their best shot, along with a home win against Georgia Tech, because Lane Stadium is one of the toughest places in the country to pick up a win, let alone the ACC. (Not saying it's impossible, just more difficult.)
The Florida State/Miami game in Doak might not be a sellout, but the same matchup would be if they were playing in Tampa in December. And that's the first step in returning to prominence.