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Gators and UCF both take small tumble in first AP Poll

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Even in victory both the Gators and UCF Knights were “knocked down a peg or two” in the first regular-season Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The rankings were released on Tuesday afternoon, waiting an extra day after Notre Dame beat Louisville in prime time Monday night.

Before we even begin writing about this, it is obvious that the AP Poll has lost almost all of its relevance and impact with the recent creation of the College Football Playoff and their ranking. That ranking is the only one that truly matters for the final four games and ultimately the National Title Game.

Nonetheless, the AP poll has been around forever and has prestige. So, here we go:

Despite their sloppy victory two Saturdays ago over Miami, the Gators who were preseason #8, dropped down to  #11 in the first regular-season ranking. This is often a ridiculous part of the poll, where voters will drop teams (in this case three spots) despite them not losing.

Florida will have an easy time with UT-Martin coming up this week, but judging by this week could take another dip, depending on who else wins big games around them.

UCF debuted by annihilating FAMU 62 – 0 last Thursday night at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, but it still dropped the Knights from 17 in the preseason rankings to 18 in the initial AP poll. UCF will travel to Boca Raton and FAU for Saturday’s matchup in primetime that may be challenging. The Knights will play Stanford and Pitt later in September to bolster their resume.

The Boise State Broncos, who rolled into Tallahassee in the displaced opening game with Florida State that was moved from Jacksonville due to Hurricane Dorian, upset FSU 36 – 31 and therefore, have debuted at number 24 in the rankings.

True freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier from California was a sensational 30 – 51 for 407 yards a TD and an INT, and lead the 23 unanswered point comeback in the second half for the Broncos.

Auburn’s dramatic last second win on Saturday night in Arlington, TX over Oregon moved the Tigers up to the biggest jump at six spots from #16 to #10.

Meanwhile, the top five the poll went as planned with Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State all winning easily and all maintaining their 1 – 5 slots this week.

Florida Gators

Vols Coach Pruitt- “Yes I hate Florida”

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee series with Florida has not been too kind to them as of late, but even as a heavy underdogs at the Swamp Saturday, they believe that they could change that. Oh, and then there’s your second year head coach wanting to make it clear he definitely dislikes the Gators.

Jeremy Pruitt, whose team suffered a humiliating opening-week loss at home to Georgia State and then followed that with another loss in heartbreaking fashion to BYU in overtime in week two, took to the radio airwaves Wednesday to answer questions from Volunteers fans. And, one wanted to make sure how much he despised Florida:

The caller asked a question about whether the Vols might be able to pull a shocker, like they did over Auburn in Pruitt’s inaugural season of 2018, but also very plainly put it to the former Alabama and Florida State defensive coordinator,  “do you hate Florida?”

Pruitt answered the question about the mentality going into Gainesville, as a 14-point underdog in their SEC opener. Then threw in the line,

“And yes, I hate Florida.”

And, while Gators fans might take that insult, as perfect “bulletin board material” to motivate their team, the dislike has been there from both sides for 25 years or more.

Encouraging for the Vols, and even though it was under previous coach Butch Jones, Tennessee should have a mentality should be that they can hang with Florida. As each of the last two meetings in Gainesville under Jones, Tennessee had the lead in the final minute of the game, only to let Florida dramatically score the game-winning touchdown on a huge pass play.

A year ago in Knoxville, the Gators used six turnovers and two defensive touchdowns to wipe out Tennessee 47-21 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final.

Meanwhile, instead of the “level of hatred, or not” Gators coach Dan Mullen has bigger concerns about using dual quarterbacks in Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. And, he must deal with the expectations that the Gators should, once again, wipe out “The Big Orange.”

Then, let the media and fans talk about insults, afterwards.

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Florida Gators

Gators coach Mullen likely to use two QBs against Tennessee

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After losing starting QB Feleipe Franks to an ankle injury on Saturday night against SEC rival Kentucky, the Gators have now found themselves with an unexpected decision as to who will be starting QB?

Franks was replaced by redshirt junior Kyle Trask, who was seeing his first significant action of his Florida career, especially trailing by double figures in a hostile SEC road environment. However, it’s likely that RS Freshman Emory Jones will also take some snaps at quarterback this season.

Mullens decision to potentially go with both QBs could be not only to determine which guy will be his offensive leader for the rest of the season, but to also give their next opponent, Tennessee, more to prepare for as the head into their next conference rivalry game.

The Gators second year coach announced on Monday that Franks is officially done for the season.

On a fourth-and-one scramble with 3:21 remaining, Franks was sandwiched between multiple Wildcat defenders and bent backwards. Even though replays weren’t shown, it was clear he had suffered a dislocated right ankle injury.

So bad was the injury, that trainers who came to assist Franks on the turf at Commonwealth Stadium immediately put an air cast on his right leg. Then he was eventually carted off to the locker room after nearly the entire Gator team had surrounded him and wished him well.

Frank’s has been a “lightning rod of criticism” throughout his Florida career, but did silence a lot of those critics with his play down the stretch last season. That included a late season comeback win over South Carolina, playing well in the rivalry victory over Florida State, and then, following that up with a good performance in the easy victory in the Peach Bowl over Michigan.

However, Franks and the offense struggled much of the first three quarters of Saturday night’s SEC opener at Kentucky. At the time he left with an injury he was an efficient 12-17 for 174 yards with a TD pass and 1 INT. Still, they had only put one touchdown on the board while trailing 21 – 10.

Trask went in for Franks and went on to pull out a come from behind win for the Gators, completing 9 for 13 passes, with 126 passing yards. He’ll be competing for playing time with Jones, the No. 85 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 and four-star dual-threat quarterback.

Jones saw limited action last season to maintain redshirt status, but completed 12-16 passes for 125 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the four games he play in. Jones is also more of a dual threat to run and that will give Mullen and staff more options on play calls, if/when he’s on the field.

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