Week 6 of the college football season in Florida has a big-time headliner with the Gators hosting Auburn. The Seminoles have a bye week before traveling to face defending champions Clemson. Miami entertain Virginia Tech, as they look to rebound from an unimpressive performance two weeks ago. USF travels to Connecticut, looking to bounce back from last week’s embarrassment.
Florida begins a 4-game gauntlet today, starting with the 7th ranked Auburn Tigers. The Tigers are led on offense by freshman QB Bo Nix and workhorse running back JaTarvious Whitlow. The Gators have had two weeks to get Kyle Trask ready for the big game, and he has played good football. Kyle Pitts has emerged as a favorite target of Trask, and he, along with the rest of the Wide receiver group, will need to step up.
On Defense, the Gators will need to stop the run and make Nix beat them in the air. Auburn has already won two big games this season in a neutral site against Oregon and on the road against Texas A&M. They are familiar with the bright lights and hostile crowds. Both teams have good defenses the question is which team can get more offense from their first-year starters in what is essentially a playoff elimination game.
The Miami Hurricanes two weeks ago had a highly alarming performance against Central Michigan. After winning 17-12, Manny Diaz said, “Tonight was our second win, but probably our fourth-best performance” The Canes had a lot to clean up for today’s game against the Hokies. They allowed four sacks and had 13 penalties. The Canes now face a Tech team that just got demolished by Duke by the score of 45-10.
They will change QBs for the game against Miami going with Hendon Hooker. The Canes should win this game, but after what happened against Central Michigan, they will need to prove it on the field.
USF is coming off a horrid and disappointing loss to SMU. The Bulls lost 48-21 their second blowout loss of the season and third loss overall. The offense has not been able to get going at all for the Bulls. They have bounced between Blake Barnett and Jordan McCloud at QB. Barnett is nursing an injury and did not make the trip. So, McCloud will run the offense against the Huskies.
The Bulls defense will look to bounce back after getting ran and thrown all over last week. If the Bulls are not able to right the ship in this one, Coach Charlie Strong could very well find himself out of a job.
Gators “New Year’s Six” bowl chances hurt by end schedule
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.
Gators and college teams dominate our weekly power rankings
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.
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