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Gators “New Year’s Six” bowl chances hurt by end schedule

Florida Football Insiders

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Gators are making a case to be an important bowl game, but their end of the year schedule isn’t going to help them. Off the Tuesday night ranking reveal by the College Football Playoff selection committee, Florida is at #11.

And, the worse news is, off not playing this week, beating FSU is only going to help you a little.

Sure, they lost to No.1 LSU and No. 4 Georgia, but the Gators don’t/won’t have an important win down the stretch. They took out their one-touchdown loss to Georgia on the Commodores, beating Vanderbilt 56-0. Then they went right after Mizzou and smashed a tough Tigers team 23-6, showcasing a formidable SEC defense.

So, now the only test left for the Florida Gators is their instate rivals, the Seminoles at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium.

So, while Minnesota finishes with teams like Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and maybe Ohio State in the Big Ten Title game strengthening their “New Year’s Six” bowl argument, Florida’s end of season competition (post Georgia) is hurting them.

Back to the FSU matchup, we’ll have to wait a little bit to see how the betting sites handicap this one, but both teams will come into this latest edition of their rivalry well-rested. The Noles just faced the Alabama State Hornets, and and rolled to an easy 40-12 victory that ensured FSU a bowl game.

James Blackman put up 246 passing yards and three touchdowns against one interception. Jordan Travis even stepped in and put up 71 yards on just 3 completions on 7 attempts. Touches on the ground were also shared well. Khalen Lanorn got the bulk of the carries, and he netted himself two touchdowns and 55 rushing yards. But, Travis had a couple of more explosive runs too, as the QB put up 69 yards on the ground in just 4 rushes.

Blackman also got into the running game with 53 yards on 4 attempts … Deonte Sheffield rounded it out with another 31 yards gained. All in all, just over 200 yards were gained on the ground, albeit against an FCS team at home.

Missouri was an entirely different type of opponent for Florida. They are a legitimate SEC team, but still, the Gators put up 330 yards through the air on them with Kyle Trask dropping two in for touchdowns. Bigger, no major mistakes were made, as Trask’s best trait is that he hasn’t been the reason that Florida loses.

Now, Florida still struggled with only 79 yards gained on the ground … and then Trask getting brought down behind the line for -17 and Trevor Grimes getting one negative carry for -4 leaves a rushing stat of just 58 yards.

Now to an advance of next week, the Gators are putting up 33.30 points per game against SEC defenses, while the Seminoles are averaging 28.30 against a very weak ACC conference. Unfortunately for the Noles, they are allowing 29 points per game against those same foes, where Florida is allowing just 15 points per game, making them a top ten defense in Division I Football – No. 9.

Even with Clemson, Florida State has not met a defense like this yet this season. So there is a good chance that they will be a little shell-shocked in the Swamp with the big UF defensive front starts crashing down.

The matchup stats get worse when we look at FSU’s road stats versus Florida’s home stats. The Noles have only managed to put up 24 points per game on the road this season against lesser competition. They average 136.2 rushing yards and a respectable 252.5 passing yards.

But, they’ll be going up against the No. 2 ranked home defense in college football. The Gators have allowed just 6.67 points per game in Gainesville this season. Just 83.5 yards per game on the ground and 162.5 through the air. Where they are particularly tough is in the red zone, they just don’t allow you to score.

To make matters worse for the Noles, the Gators also play much better on offense at home. They are averaging 35.67 points per game on 303.33 passing yards and 137 on the ground.

The Seminoles are simply outclassed in the matchup. They are allowing 32.25 points per game on the road, which falls right into the Gators’ offensive stats and only scoring 24 against much weaker teams. This has all the makings of a double-digit trouncing.

Because this is a rivalry game, FSU may hang in early and score better than Floridas 6 point defensive average, with perhaps 14 points. But the Gators are going to put up over 30, easily.

So, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving weekend. Start taking the Gators to win easily, now.

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Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

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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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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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