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Florida Gators

Gators maintain top spot with others moving up our rankings

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Last week in Florida, we were given another gift with numerous programs winning! In college, the Gators, Canes, Owls, and even FSU came out on top. It wasn’t all good news; however, with USF and UCF taking weeknight losses. And in the NFL, the Jags had a week off, while the Bucs and Dolphins were both victorious.

With some shocking results, this is how the top 5 looks in the state.

Florida Gators- The Gators keep the top spot after demolishing Vanderbilt over the weekend. Florida flexed all of their muscles in this one putting up 56 points and shutting out the Commodores. Kyle Trask had a career day with 363 passing yards and three touchdowns. Emory Jones also got into the action with three rushing touchdowns.

The defense was also a part of the scoring with Jonathan Greenard getting a scoop and score. The Gators turned it on in the second half with 28 points scored. The Gators will finish their SEC schedule next week, traveling to Missouri.

Florida Atlantic Owls- The Owls won a huge game over the weekend, defeating rival Florida International. The Owls rode the hot hand of running back Malcolm Davidson to a 37-7 victory. Davidson had 144 yards and three scores to lead the Owls to the “Shula Bowl” win.

The win keeps the Owls in striking distance for a C-USA east division crown. They still need Marshall to drop one of their next three games. Regardless, Lane Kiffin has done a terrific job this season, turning the Owls into one of the best teams in the conference.

Miami Hurricanes- The Canes have turned things around since the embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech. “The U” has now won three games in a row and looks like a whole new team. QB Jaren Williams had a career game with six touchdowns. The Miami offense is starting to look more like the offense many fans thought it would be to start the year with the addition of Dan Enos.

The Canes will take this win streak into their next game against cross-city rival, FIU.

Florida State Seminoles- Credit where credit is due, the Noles didn’t quit. After going down 14-3 in the second quarter, FSU could have laid down and rolled over. Instead, they rallied and put up 21 points in a row. Then, Boston College came back from two scores down, and the Noles once again rose to the challenge winning the game 38-31.

On a day where Cam Akers was held in check, two QBs stepped up for FSU. James Blackman, and Tamorrion Terry destroyed the BC secondary, while third-string Jordan Travis took to carries and turned them into 12 points. The win puts the Noles in a position to become bowl eligible, something they failed to do last year.

Odell Haggins has this team playing with heart and will look to continue that this weekend against Alabama State.

Miami Dolphins- Who would have thought we would be saying this, but the Dolphins have won two games in a row. Facing back up Brian Hoyer, the defense forced three interceptions and keyed in on RB Marlon Mack. On offense, they did just enough with Ryan Fitzpatrick running in a touchdown and Jason Sanders nailing three field goals.

The Phins struggled to do anything on the ground with out Mark Walton in this one. Ryan Fitzpatrick also only threw for 169 yards.

However, a win is a win, and the Phins have two of those in a row. They could also be ending their chances to get the number one pick. Next, they will host the Buffalo Bills, and a win there would be a big win for the team but also the fatal blow to their odds at the number one or two pick.

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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