Week 7 of the college football season will feature two heavyweight battles for two Florida schools. Both Florida and Florida State will be heading to Death Valley, but in two separate locations.
The Noles travel to Clemson for an afternoon showdown with the defending National Champions. The Gators pack their bags for Baton Rouge for a date with the top five ranked LSU Tigers. Elsewhere in the state, USF will look for back to back wins for the first time all year.
Florida Atlantic will look to stay hot and make an early move up the standings in the conference.
Florida proved a lot of people wrong last week after they were able to defeat the Auburn Tigers. The Gators were able to quiet a lot of naysayers saying they were a fluke through the first six weeks of the season. The Gators will have their toughest task yet, though playing at LSU.
The Tigers offense is roaring right now with Joe Burrow leading the way. He already has 22 touchdown passes and over 1800 passing yards.
The Gators were able to get by against Freshman Bo Nix, but Burrow will present a much tougher test for the defense. On offense, the Gators will have to score to keep up in this game. Kyle Trask is banged up, but he will need to play his best game for Florida to be able to keep the undefeated season going.
Florida State played its best game of the season last time out against NC State. Now, the Noles will face arguably their toughest task of the season traveling to Clemson. The Tigers themselves are coming off their worst performance in a narrow one point win at North Carolina, making some wonder if FSU can make this a game? The Noles will have to play a full 60 minutes of football to have a chance.
Whoever is at QB for Florida State will have to put up points early and often. The Tigers offense led by Trevor Lawrence coming out of a bye week are going to be a lot to handle for the Noles defense.
USF has struggled for most of the season up to this point. A week after getting embarrassed by SMU, the Bulls were able to get a win in Connecticut. Now the Bulls will face a BYU team at home using their back up quarterback. USF still has a QB dilemma with Jordan McCloud and Blake Barnett.
Whoever gets the nod, will need to show some consistency, which has alluded the Bulls all season long. Charlie Strong may be coaching for his USF Future the rest of the season and needs a big homecoming win over the Cougars.
With tough games later in the year against Cincinnati. Memphis and UCF, the Bulls, may be running out of chances to become bowl eligible.
Florida Atlantic comes into the week on a three-game win streak. Since playing and losing badly to ranked teams Ohio State and UCF, the Owls have been clicking. They will host a 2-3 Middle Tennessee team that could be a trap game for FAU. The Owls have a big game against Marshall next week, a game that will be at home in primetime.
Its important Lane Kiffin keeps the team focused on the task at hand. QB Chris Robinson has been on fire with 11 touchdown passes during the three-game winning streak.
Gators “New Year’s Six” bowl chances hurt by end schedule
The Gators are making a case to be an important bowl game, but their end of the year schedule isn’t going to help them. Off the Tuesday night ranking reveal by the College Football Playoff selection committee, Florida is at #11.
And, the worse news is, off not playing this week, beating FSU is only going to help you a little.
Sure, they lost to No.1 LSU and No. 4 Georgia, but the Gators don’t/won’t have an important win down the stretch. They took out their one-touchdown loss to Georgia on the Commodores, beating Vanderbilt 56-0. Then they went right after Mizzou and smashed a tough Tigers team 23-6, showcasing a formidable SEC defense.
So, now the only test left for the Florida Gators is their instate rivals, the Seminoles at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium.
So, while Minnesota finishes with teams like Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and maybe Ohio State in the Big Ten Title game strengthening their “New Year’s Six” bowl argument, Florida’s end of season competition (post Georgia) is hurting them.
Back to the FSU matchup, we’ll have to wait a little bit to see how the betting sites handicap this one, but both teams will come into this latest edition of their rivalry well-rested. The Noles just faced the Alabama State Hornets, and and rolled to an easy 40-12 victory that ensured FSU a bowl game.
James Blackman put up 246 passing yards and three touchdowns against one interception. Jordan Travis even stepped in and put up 71 yards on just 3 completions on 7 attempts. Touches on the ground were also shared well. Khalen Lanorn got the bulk of the carries, and he netted himself two touchdowns and 55 rushing yards. But, Travis had a couple of more explosive runs too, as the QB put up 69 yards on the ground in just 4 rushes.
Blackman also got into the running game with 53 yards on 4 attempts … Deonte Sheffield rounded it out with another 31 yards gained. All in all, just over 200 yards were gained on the ground, albeit against an FCS team at home.
Missouri was an entirely different type of opponent for Florida. They are a legitimate SEC team, but still, the Gators put up 330 yards through the air on them with Kyle Trask dropping two in for touchdowns. Bigger, no major mistakes were made, as Trask’s best trait is that he hasn’t been the reason that Florida loses.
Now, Florida still struggled with only 79 yards gained on the ground … and then Trask getting brought down behind the line for -17 and Trevor Grimes getting one negative carry for -4 leaves a rushing stat of just 58 yards.
Now to an advance of next week, the Gators are putting up 33.30 points per game against SEC defenses, while the Seminoles are averaging 28.30 against a very weak ACC conference. Unfortunately for the Noles, they are allowing 29 points per game against those same foes, where Florida is allowing just 15 points per game, making them a top ten defense in Division I Football – No. 9.
Even with Clemson, Florida State has not met a defense like this yet this season. So there is a good chance that they will be a little shell-shocked in the Swamp with the big UF defensive front starts crashing down.
The matchup stats get worse when we look at FSU’s road stats versus Florida’s home stats. The Noles have only managed to put up 24 points per game on the road this season against lesser competition. They average 136.2 rushing yards and a respectable 252.5 passing yards.
But, they’ll be going up against the No. 2 ranked home defense in college football. The Gators have allowed just 6.67 points per game in Gainesville this season. Just 83.5 yards per game on the ground and 162.5 through the air. Where they are particularly tough is in the red zone, they just don’t allow you to score.
To make matters worse for the Noles, the Gators also play much better on offense at home. They are averaging 35.67 points per game on 303.33 passing yards and 137 on the ground.
The Seminoles are simply outclassed in the matchup. They are allowing 32.25 points per game on the road, which falls right into the Gators’ offensive stats and only scoring 24 against much weaker teams. This has all the makings of a double-digit trouncing.
Because this is a rivalry game, FSU may hang in early and score better than Floridas 6 point defensive average, with perhaps 14 points. But the Gators are going to put up over 30, easily.
So, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving weekend. Start taking the Gators to win easily, now.
Gators and college teams dominate our weekly power rankings
After a week where we finally saw a lot of wins around the state, things came back down to earth this week. All three NFL Teams were defeated. The Gators and the Noles were victorious, while the Bulls fell in a heartbreaker. Many college programs in the state were on BYE weeks.
After a disappointing week, here is how the teams stack up against each other:
Florida Gators- The Gators continue to be the most consistent team in the state even though, at times, it isn’t pretty. The Gators had a slow first half in Missouri going into the break with a 6-3 lead. Both teams couldn’t get it going on offense. In the second half, however, Kyle Trask was able to deliver two touchdowns, and after that, the defense (above) took care of the rest.
They held Kelly Bryant to 204 passing yards for the whole game and allowed less than 60 yards rushing. With the Georgia win, the Gators officially can not make the SEC title game, but they still have a shot at a “New Years’ Six” game for the second year in a row. Next, the Gators will host rival Florida State, who are playing much better football over the last two games.
Florida Atlantic Owls- The Owls had a bye week to prepare for the final two games of the season. FAU is still tied for the C-USA East lead. They still need help with a Marshall loss, though, to take the division outright. FAU will face UT-San Antonio next, and if they can win that game sets up a huge game against Southern Miss to wrap things up. Lane Kiffin has done an excellent job this year, leading the Owls to having one of their best seasons.
Miami Hurricanes- The Canes had a bye week, and it may have come at the worst time. Miami was riding a three-game win streak and playing their best football of the season by a wide margin. Next, they will face local “rival” FIU in a game being played at Marlins Park.
Believe it or not, the Canes mathematically can still make it to the Orange Bowl with the ACC tie in. They need to win out with some help to achieve this. Regardless of the help, if this team can end the season on a five-game winning streak, that is a huge win on its own heading into bowl season and the offseason.
Florida State- The Noles have now won back to back games with Odell Haggins as head coach. Haggins is doing his best auditioning to be the full-time head coach. They did beat Alabama State though so we can pump the breaks a little bit. If he can lead this team into the Swamp and get a win, then that changes everything.
The Noles haven’t faced a strong defense since losing to Miami and Clemson. This game will be the true test of just how much Haggins has injected into this team.
UCF Knights- The Knights had a bye week following the upset loss they took in Tulsa. UCF is still sitting at 7-3, though, and with two wins gives them nine, which is nothing to be ashamed of. A bowl win would once again give them double-digit wins, which is a great season. They may not be undefeated or going to a New Years’ Six bowl game, but that doesn’t mean this was a lost season by any means.
With a freshman QB, growing pains are expected. Next, they will travel to face Tulane, a team with a strong running game. This could be one of the highest-scoring affairs of the day and could be one of the more entertaining games on the slate.
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