Week 14 is already here, signaling the end of the regular season. It seems like just yesterday; we had the week zero Florida vs. Miami game. A lot has changed in that time for all of the programs around the state. Last week, we saw some surprising results in both college and the NFL.
The Hurricanes lost embarrassingly against cross-town rival FIU. While the Buccaneers won impressively against the Falcons, USF took another loss to the chin in what was possibly Charlie Strong’s last home game. UCF took care of business on the road and Lane Kiffin and his FAU team also moved one step closer to becoming champions.
With all of that happening, last week, here is how our top 5 looks this week.
Florida Gators- The Gators keep the top spot again this week coming off of a bye week. They will now face rival Florida State, who is coming into the game with some confidence. The Noles have been a different team under Odell Haggins and are hungry for the upset.
The Gators, however, will be the second-best team FSU will face this season. The defense ranks 12th overall in the Nation and figures to give the shaky FSU O-line problems. Dan Mullen has had a week to prepare Kyle Trask and his receivers on how to exploit the FSU defense that ranks 114th in the nation against the pass.
At home, expect the Gators to take control of this game early to avoid any upset.
FAU Owls- The Owls kept doing their job for weeks, and that was winning football games. They could only control what they did, and it has paid off. With Marshall losing to Charlotte that pushed FAU in first place outright in the C-USA East. They were able to defeat UT-SA with comfort 40-26. They did so, with a balanced attack on offense three different players went over 50 yards rushing while scoring touchdowns. QB Chris Robinson tossed one touchdown and threw for 336 yards.
“Do it all” tight end Harrison Bryant led the team in receiving with 182 yards. Next, the Owls will face Southern Miss, a team also looking to make the conference title game. The Golden Eagles are in a three-way tie for the West lead. The Eagles have the 17th best run defense and the 18th best passing offense.
FAU likes to throw more than they like to run, and the defense has stopped the pass better than the run. This should be an interesting close game as both teams want to play for the conference title.
UCF Knights- UCF bounced back with a road win over Tulane Saturday. QB Dillon Gabriel played much like his early-season self with 317 yards passing and one touchdown. Backup Darriel Mack Jr. also contributed with a passing and rushing touchdown. UCF led this game 24-7 at one point before the Tulane offense could get going. Next, UCF will face “War on I-4” rival USF. The Bulls have not been good on offense this year while the defense does all it can.
A win will give UCF nine regular-season wins with a chance for double digits in a bowl game. It isn’t the New Years’ Six they wanted, but if they can land an in-state rival in a bowl game, the team and the fan base will surely take that.
Florida State- FSU has been playing inspired football under Odell Haggins. The inspired ball worked against Boston College and Alabama State, but can it work against Florida? We know about the offensive line struggles for FSU and the reliance on RB Cam Akers and WR Tamorrion Terry. To win this game, it will probably need to come down to the final few minutes forcing the Gators to make a big play late.
The offense will need other role players to step up and for Kendal Briles to get creative with his play calling.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs actually won a game in impressive fashion, as the defense played great, and the offense was on fire. The 35-22 win was one needed for the Bucs as well, having only won a single division game. Chris Godwin had a monster game with two touchdowns and 184 yards.
The defense forced two turnovers and racked up six sacks on the afternoon. Next, the Bucs will travel to face an in-state opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.