Our latest Power Rankings have a shakeup or two, but one thing is clear, you keep winning important games on the road like the Miami Hurricanes and the Jaguars have? You deserve our praise…(and others, too.)
So, we will go, again, in descending order combining both prominent college and NFL teams we cover:
Florida State Seminoles- Sorry Nole fans. We know this is like “kick’em while their down” type stuff, but another gut wrenching loss (their third) keeps you in the back of the bus. Yes, James Blackman has shown promise the last two weeks. And, as Jamil King wrote for us, Auden Tate is developing into a top WR. But, the Noles defense, which couldn’t stop Miami when they had to last Saturday, is still suspect. And there are still several tough opponents (Clemson, Louisville, Florida) waiting, too.
Miami Dolphins- It was debatable about putting the Fins last despite a 2-2 record. The offense is one of the worst, except for maybe Cleveland or San Francisco, in the NFL. They have three offensive TDs all season. Now, the Miami defense was solid last week, but that came against backup Matt Cassel vs. the younger explosive Marcus Mariota.
The Dolphins have obviously had bizarre controversial off the field incidents, including their former O-line coach, Chris Foerster snorting drugs on camera, and then resigning Monday. But distractions aside, with names like Landry, Stills, Ajayi, Suh, Wake, Alonso, they have a chance to be better. Right now? They’re seventh to us.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- They also have two wins and a 2-2 record, but when you look at their victories over the Bears and the Giants, that doesn’t look like much either. When last we saw Jameis Winston and the Bucs on Thursday Night Football, they had trouble getting anything done for much of the first three quarters.
Of course kicker Nick Folk butchering two makable field goals in the second half hurt in a close game, as well. Their pass rush improved with three sacks of Tom Brady and two forced turnovers. But they only had one sack coming into the game. A tough challenge awaits the Bucs as they play at Arizona this week and it starts a stretch of six road games in eight weeks. This includes the rescheduled Miami game in November.
Florida Gators- Yes, we have dropped them big time from our top ranking two weeks ago, but losing to a suspect LSU team at home like they did last week, should cost you in our eyes. Also, Florida’s three wins over East division foes Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are looking less and less meaningful as they continue to struggle/lose.
So, the tally is 3-2 and in the other loss to Michigan, the offense looked like a bad high school game. And QB Feleipe Franks has developed at a slow pace these past few weeks. That means, we have to put the Gators in the middle of the pack for now.
USF Bulls- Ok. Bulls fans are going immediately whine “We’re 5-0. Weee’rrreeee 5-0.” Yes, they are. And you want to win all your games, no matter the quality of opponent. But, their D-1 opponents, San Jose State, Illinois, Temple and ECU have a 7-17 record. Yikes.
QB Quinton Flowers was better in their last game with East Carolina and the Bulls defense is leading the country in interceptions.
So, there are positives. And, USF will likely roll Saturday night, when they host Cincinnati and get to 6-0 for the first time ever. But, the Bulls have to stay behind the upcoming other three, for now.
UCF Knights- Also undefeated at 4-0, UCF comes into our third slot because of a solid blow out road win (at Maryland) and a home blow out of conference rival Memphis. The Tigers are looking like one of the best teams in the West division of the American Conference and they are significantly better than any opponent the Bulls have beaten. And, UCF blew them away.
Then QB McKenzie Milton fired 5 TD passes in just three quarters in the easy win last Saturday. UCF will likely smoke East Carolina to be 5-0 after this week. Therefore, we have them in our third slot.
Jacksonville Jaguars- There is not a more impressive turnaround than the Jags, right now. It may not hold up, but three blowout wins at Houston, in London over the Ravens and last Sunday in Pittsburgh move the Jaguars up to the “first class” section of our rankings. The Defense is nasty with a team record setting five pick game against the Steelers last week.
This goes along with the team record 10 sack game against the Texans week one. And, we have documented already what Leonard Fournette is bringing to the running game/offense so far. Now, can they sustain it starting at home with the 3-2 Rams this week? Time will tell.
For now? They are the second best team in the state.
And that of course leaves,
The Miami Hurricanes- Also unbeaten at 4-0, Miami got two solid ACC wins on the road over Duke and FSU these last two weeks. QB Malik Rosier’s heroics with the game wining TD drive in the final minute at Tallahassee last week was legendary stuff, as Miami snapped a seven game losing streak to the Seminoles with a game/finish that will be remembered for a awhile.
The good news is the Canes defense is fast and talented, too. The bad news is star running back, Mark Walton is now lost for the year with ankle surgery after re-injuring it during the FSU game. There is adversity for Mark Richt’s second season, but he is a veteran coach and we’ll see if they respond. Remember, the Hurricanes were 4-0 this time a year ago in Richt’s debut, and promptly lost 4 straight. Will it be different this year?
For now, the Canes deserve this ranking.