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Florida Gators

Gators and college teams dominate our weekly power rankings

Jamil King

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Florida Gators

Former Gators QB Franks transfers to Arkansas

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks has decided on a new spot for his final year of eligibility and he won’t even leave the SEC. The Gators starting quarterback on and off for the last three years announced on Monday night that he will be transferring to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Frank’s ended several weeks of speculation as to where he might land by announcing his plans on social media:

Franks help lead the Gators resurgence two years ago under first-year coach Dan Mullen, including a Peach Bowl New Year’s Six game victory over the Michigan Wolverines. Florida finished 10-3 with momentum headed into this season.

However, with sky high expectations for Franks, Mullen and the Gators this past season (they were a preseason top 10 team)  Franks played inconsistently for a lot of the early part of the season. Then, things ended horrifically as Franks suffered a nasty fractured leg at Kentucky ending his season.

The 6’6 Franks finished his Gator career with 28 starts 4,500+ yards passing and 28 TDs. However, his at times poor play, including crucial interceptions enraged Gator fans. Next, he announced December 1st that he would be transferring for one more season, as a graduate to be eligible immediately.

Arkansas is in desperation to rebuild after having fired coach Chad Morris after two horrible seasons. They hired Georgia former offensive line coach Sam Pittman at their head coach and Franks will be playing for new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, who spent last season with FSU.

Arkansas is in desperate need of a quality proven quarterback, as they had just three scholarship signal caller options in senior Jack Lindsey, redshirt-sophomore John Stephen Jones and redshirt-freshman K.J. Jefferson. Jones, who is the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is considered the most experienced of the group. But to show how bad it is, he’s thrown for just 106 yards and 2 touchdowns with 2 interceptions in six career games.

So, clearly Franks, if/when fully healed from the ankle fracture will be heavily counted on for 2020.

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Florida Gators

Gators face annual challenge of who’s leaving?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Gators end to the season was just as predicted, and now, so too is the leaving of significant players for the NFL, etc.

Florida ended up getting the Virginia Cavaliers in the Orange Bowl and the second-best team in the weakest conference in Power 5 football was no match for the strong talented Gators.

Just before the conference championship games, it was predicted almost everywehre that Virginia would get trounced by the Clemson Tigers, but still be the most likely candidate to face the Gators in a “New Year’s Six Bowl”.

Once the game was confirmed and the lines came out, the Gators were listed as massive 16 point favorites at the best Sportsbooks around the nation.

And, when it came time to tee it up? Florida delivered a win.

The final score was 36-28, as Virginia hung tough by scoring 14 in the 4th quarter and got the backdoor cover on the point spread. Still, the Gators finished sandwiched between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oregon Ducks at No.6 in the AP Top 25. But, will the Gators still be as good next season?

Will they be better? And who might they be missing?

That brings us to a few key players that have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s start by taking a look at them.

It seems that as receivers get bigger, corners have been getting smaller. So, C.J. Henderson (above) at 6’1” and 191 pounds is almost an oddity nowadays. He is long, athletic and extremely fast. In short, he was one of the best corners in college football. He’s declared for the 2020 draft and could go in the first round.

But with so much talent at QB, we could see Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagavoilva all go in the Top-10. Then, when you factor in team needs and a few other great corners from Alabama, LSU, and Clemson in Treveon Diggs, Kristian Fulton, and A.J. Terrell, Henderson could fall into the second round. And, it could end up being a steal for some lucky team if that happened.

That said, the Broncos, Seahawks, Vikings, 49ers, and Dolphins all need help at corner. And the Seahawks would be a great landing spot, as they may favor him over some of the other top contenders for his excellent ability in man coverage. That is, if they don’t fill another position need such as DE or OLB – which would make sense as well since they had the leagues lowest number of sacks during the regular season.

Seniors who will go on are Van Jefferson, Josh Grimes, Freddie Swain, and Tyrie Cleveland. And the Gators will lose some talent in their TE depth with Lucas Krull hitting the bricks. He was usurped by Kyle Pitts but still caught nine balls for nearly 110 yards.

It isn’t a huge loss, as Pitts is one of the best TE in the SEC. But not having that extra option with experience at TE will hurt a bit. A handful of QBs will also be leaving. For starters Nick Sproles, a walk-on back-up out of Winter Park has been sitting behind both Franks and Trask. So, he elected to hit the transfer portal and take off.

QB Feleipe Franks will also step through the transfer portal to another school. His horrible ankle injury opened the door for Kyle Trask to take over. Now, we very well could see Franks move over to Kansas, as he had originally committed to former LSU coach, Les Miles, who’s now there.

Although Trask is on the rise, this does hurt the depth chart. Emory Jones is reliable, but he’s no Franks … at least not yet.

On top of this, Chris Bleich and Umstead Sanders both hit the transfer list. But, the Gators actually are not hurt by this, as they picked up Brenton Cox at OLB which is probably a big part of why Umstead elected to transfer.

Cox has solid experience at Georgia and will likely earn a starting spot with the Gators. He tallied 20 tackles, a sack, a pair for loss, and six tackles in the Sugar Bowl alone! Then, he also racked up three pass deflections on top of all that.

The Gators lost a lot of depth at receiver, but they pick up one with Jordan Pouncy. He’s big at 6’2” and 205 and has decent speed.

All in all, the Gators won’t be too much worse for the wear. And, with the shift in emphasis to the SEC West, they have great shot at winning the East and to play for the SEC title next season.

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