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No surprise- Gators top our initial state rankings

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week one is in the books for the 2019 college football season.

In the State of Florida, we had some blowouts, under-performances, and some disappointments.
With all the action done until this weekend, this is how the state stacks up:

1. Florida Gators- In a very tight decision, but the Gators check-in as the top team in the state to open things up. Florida had a bye week following to tough week 0 win against the Hurricanes. The Gators get the edge over the Knights for going playing a tough rival and getting the win, even if that win wasn’t a pretty one.

The Gators showed that they have plenty of talent back this season, but need to clean up the penalties and tackling. Both of those things can be addressed and should be fixed this week against Tennessee-Martin.

2. UCF Knights- The Knights high powered offense was on full display against in-state opponent Florida A&M. Brandon Wimbush was impressive in his first game at UCF throwing for two scores and 168 yards. Freshman Dillon Gabriel was also excellent throwing for three touchdowns and 127 yards. The running game was strong with Adrian Killins Jr. rushing for 106 yards and scoring.

Greg McCrae also chipped in a touchdown. The defense was stifling all night holding the Rattlers to less than 100 yards. The Knights will look to continue their regular-season dominance Saturday, when they face a bigger challenge in FAU in Boca Raton.

3. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes had a week off following their defeat to Florida in week 0. During the game, the Canes defense showcased why they are a dangerous unit forcing four turnovers on the night. The O-line was an issue for the Canes in that game, and freshman QB Jarren Williams was learning on the job. He did show great promise though and will look to take those things he learned the hard way into next week.

The Hurricanes begin ACC play next week, however, not playing an FCS team like some others. The Canes will get Mack Brown and the North Carolina Tar Heels coming off a win against South Carolina. A win here and the Canes will have an early confidence-boosting win to jump-start conference play.

4. Florida State Seminoles- What a roller coaster the Noles took fans and enemies on. In the first half, the Noles offense was firing on all cylinders. James Blackman looked good hitting Scary Terry ( Tamorrion) for a 75-yard pass, as well as connecting on another 58-yard touchdown to Keyshawn Helton. Blackman had a third touchdown in the first half, and Cam Akers ran for 116 yards on the day. Despite all the first-half offense, the Broncos were never truly out of it due to their ability to run the ball.

In the second half, the Noles offense couldn’t move the ball, and the Broncos just kept running downfield. The Broncos had 231 yards rushing from a trio of backs and true freshman Hank Bachmeier was unfazed. The Noles showed flashes of being a much better team, but in the end, they started to play like much of last year. They should get back on track next week against UL-Monroe at home.

5. FAU Owls– The Owls were also a tale of two games. They started bad with Justin Fields doing whatever he wanted. Fields had five scores before halftime, and the Buckeyes led 28-3. In the second half though, the Owls were able to make the game more competitive.

The Owls had two strong touchdown drives of 16 plays for 81 yards and 8 plays for 76 yards. The Owls will look to take that momentum into another ranked matchup this time with in-state foe UCF.

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.

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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