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Gators in front of early pre-season college rankings of state schools

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the countdown until the beginning of college football season underway, many national sports outlets are beginning to make predictions about how each team is going to stack up.

Earlier this week, Athlon Sports and contributor Steven Lassan released their ranking for all 130 Division 1 College Football Teams in 2019.

Lassan said that rather than ranking where the teams are going into the season, they are projecting where each team will land at the end of the season, after the National Championship in January.

Here’s where each college in Florida is predicted to rank in descending order:

77. USF, The Bulls unsurprisingly fall in last place in the state of Florida, after becoming the first school in FBS history to win their first seven games and then lose out with six straight the rest of the way. Entering into his third season, with the return of QB Blake Barnett and some solid coaching changes, this will be a make it or break it year for head coach Charlie Strong.

33. Florida State, Not a bad spot for the seminoles considering they are coming off of one of the worst seasons since Bobby Bowden’s early coaching years. FSU will try to sort out starting in August: their starting QB, bolster their tattered O-Line and get back the aggressive hard-hitting defense that made them one of dominant programs in college football for 30+ years. It’s definitely a tall task, but FSU definitely has a talent base to be improved.

28. Miami, after a lackluster 7-6 performance last season, the Hurricanes offseason momentum has been like a “recruiting runaway train” for new head coach Manny Diaz. Though falling just three spots shy of the top 25, the Canes are predicted to have one of strongest defensive units in their conference.

22. UCF, Athlon awarded UCF the highest spot of any school not in a power 5 conference, but despite another undefeated regular season for the Knights, their #22 spot might have something to do with star QB McKenzie Milton expected to sit out this season due to the injury to his right leg last November. We’ll be interested to see who’ll be leading the Knights offense in their season opener on August 29th against Florida A&M.

8. Florida, With Dan Mullen leading the Gators to one the most improved seasons in all of college football last season, it’s to be expected that they should end next season as the best team in Florida. A season, that Mullen can’t wait to start soon enough, to have games take the place of off-field controversy for his program.

In other unsurprising news, Alabama and Clemson landed the overall #1 and #2 spots, so we’ll be excited to see if any of these Florida schools can exceed pre-season expectations, or if it will be another National Championship rematch.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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