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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
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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

Gators to Orange Bowl leads Florida schools-bowl games

Matt Zemek

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Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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The bowl lineup is set. Six teams from the state of Florida will play in bowl games in the 2019-2020 bowl season. All six games will be played in 2019 None of the bowls will be in January of 2020.

The two big storylines to emerge from the bowl games involving Sunshine State schools are as follows:

First, Florida got a bad matchup in the “New Year’s Six.”

The Gators always knew they would get an NY6 ticket; the question was: their destination and opponent? Memphis, in the Cotton Bowl would have been a tougher game for Gator fans to attend, but it would have been a lot more interesting.

This game, in the Orange Bowl against Virginia is a lot closer to home, but it comes against a four-loss Virginia Cavaliers team which did not win its conference and lost its conference title game by 45 points (62-17 to Clemson).

This is the kind of bowl game which is more of a burden than an opportunity It’s all gravy for Virginia, which is making a rare appearance in a New Year’s Six game. This is the biggest bowl stage for UVA since the 1991 Sugar Bowl against Tennessee.

This is a huge deal for the Hoos, who will be playing with house money and a lot to prove after getting kicked in the teeth by Clemson on national television.

For Florida, however, the Orange Bowl is a game the Gators MUST win. If they don’t, it’s a heaping platter of humiliation served fresh, just before the new year arrives. The Gators would trudge into a miserable offseason if they lose to Virginia. It’s all pressure, low upside, for UF, in marked contrast to last year’s game against Michigan, which boosted spirits in the offseason and spring ball.

The second main story of the Florida-based bowl schools: Florida Atlantic got the best game.

The Owls were rewarded for their Conference USA Championship, even though coach Lane Kiffin left for Ole Miss, and was given a date with the 10-2 SMU Mustangs in the Boca Raton Bowl. The game will be on ABC on a Saturday afternoon. (The full schedule is listed below.) That is a great showcase for the FAU program, and the Owls won’t have to travel, either. What a great arrangement!

Most of the other Florida schools can’t be too happy about one or more aspects of their bowl schedule. Florida International is happy to go to any bowl, so Arkansas State in the Camellia is perfectly fine. The other Florida schools, though, have reason to complain.

UCF got dumped with Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl, a pre-Christmas game played in Tampa on a Monday afternoon. UCF won’t get to test itself against an SEC team or any Power Five conference team this year. UCF wasn’t 6-6 or 7-5; it was 9-3. This is a letdown for Josh Heupel’s team.

Miami gets the dreaded Shreveport location, symbolic of the most out-of-the-way, off-the-radar bowl possible. Worse, Miami plays Louisiana Tech, which will have a big crowd for the Independence Bowl.

Florida State did get a relatively decent opponent, Arizona State, but the Seminoles and their fans will have to travel all the way to El Paso for the Sun Bowl. That’s a rough holiday commute for anyone who wants to make it

FLORIDA SCHOOLS’ 2019 BOWL SCHEDULE

Florida Atlantic: vs. SMU, Boca Raton Bowl – Saturday, Dec. 21 on ABC, 3:30 Eastern

Florida International: vs. Arkansas, Camellia Bowl – Saturday, Dec. 21 on ESPN, 5:30 Eastern

UCF: vs. Marshall, Gasparilla Bowl – Monday, Dec. 23 on ESPN, 2:30 Eastern

Miami: vs. Louisiana Tech, Independence Bowl – Thursday, Dec. 26 on ESPN, 4 Eastern

Florida: vs. Virginia, Orange Bowl – Monday, Dec. 30 on ESPN, 8 Eastern

Florida State: vs. Arizona State, Sun Bowl – Tuesday, Dec. 31 on CBS, 2:15 Eastern

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Florida Gators

Gators strong finish Saturday keeps them atop our rankings

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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The college football regular season came to an end last week. For some, it was great, and for others, it was horrible. The Gators and UCF rolled to victories over their rivals. FIU continued their winning ways, while their rival FAU clinched the C-USA East and will be hosting the title game.

The Noles got beat down, while their other rival Miami fell flat on their face for the second week in a row. In the NFL, the Bucs were on their way too embarrassing the Jaguars before a QB change softened the blow, while the Dolphins pulled one of the stunners of the NFL season.

With all of these games to unpack, this is how the top 5 looks heading in conference championship week and week 14 of the NFL:

Florida Gators- The Gators have been the most consistent team in the state, both college, and pro. Their only two losses are against the two teams playing for the SEC Championship Game (LSU and Georgia), and both of those teams can still make the playoff.

Florida had their way with Florida State all night Saturday. Taking advantage of missed tackles and a shaky secondary, Kyle Trask threw three touchdown passes. Florida State couldn’t do anything on offense aside from the opening drive, and a long Cam Akers second-half run. The 10-2 Gators will now wait to see where they are sent for a bowl game. They have an outside shot at a “New Year’s Six” game, but even if they fail to gain entry, an 11-win season is still a great one.

FAU Owls- It was simple for FAU: win, and you’re in. They answered the call by beating Southern Miss in the season finale, and now they are C-USA East champions. QB Chris Robinson connected with tight end Harrison Bryant for all three of his touchdowns passes in the 34-17 win. The Owl defense forced five turnovers on the way to the victory.

Next, the Owls will host West champ, UAB Saturday afternoon to decide who will win the Conference outright.

UCF Knights- The Knights ended their regular season by rolling over USF and ending the Charlie Strong era. Dillon Gabriel had 270 yards passing and two touchdowns, and WR Gabe Davis went over 100 yards again, catching both touchdowns. The Knights won’t be heading to the AAC title game or a New Years’ Six bowl game. A 10th win in the bowl, though, is still a good season for the Knights.

A consolation prize for them would be to draw either FSU or Miami in a bowl game for a shot at an in-state power five schools.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- For the second week in a row, the Bucs came away victorious and both road wins were highlighted by excellent defense. They were able to knock Nick Foles out of the game at halftime for poor performance. Foles had just 93 yards passing, an interception and two fumbles.

On offense, the Bucs didn’t have to do much, as Jameis Winston had no touchdowns and no interceptions. Peyton Barber was the running back who was hot, scoring twice one from 15 yards and the other a goal-line touch. The Bucs will look to make it three wins in a row and a home win this week against the Colts.

Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins, yes, the Dolphins, are in our rankings, as they pulled off one of the upsets of the season, defeating the Eagles 37-31.

Devante Parker had an explosive 159 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 365 yards and three touchdowns.

The craziest play, however, came on fourth and goal when punter Matt Haack rolled left and shuffle passed the ball past three eagle defenders to kicker Jason Sanders.

The win puts the Dolphins at three wins, and they have three more winnable games coming up. Once looking like the sure-fire choice for the first pick, the Dolphins are sliding down the draft board towards the 3-6 range.

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