We’ve reached the month of November and the final four Saturdays of the college football regular season are about to play out. We at FFI have our Tortilla Chips and Guacomole with the extra tablets, phones and T.V. screens ready to go. Let’s preview the Saturday slate for the most prominent teams:
Pitt at Miami 12:30 p.m.
Will our Ari Russell ever see his Canes win again? Four games ago they were 4-0 and now suddenly you are wondering if Miami will finish over .500? Clearly QB Brad Kaaya is struggling with decision making and pocket presence. He’s got to get his act together starting with this match-up. Pitt features RB James Conner, who has battled back from cancer to lead the Panthers offense, and is their best weapon. Will the Hurricanes get their swagger back? Will Pitt send them to an unthinkable 5th straight ACC loss?
Florida at Arkansas 3:30 p.m.
It’s the SEC “co-main event” prior to the prime time Bama at LSU. And, as we laid out earlier this week, the 1-loss Gators are the only state school remaining who has legitimately has a shot at the College Football Playoff, but it is a long shot starting with today in Fayetteville, AR. The Gators handled rival Georgia in Jacksonville last week. Meanwhile, the Hogs, who already have wins over TCU and Ole Miss, are still stinging from being destroyed 56-3 by Auburn two weeks ago. Time to find out what Luke Del Rio and Co. are truly made of in a true road game. The last time the Gators played in one of these (Knoxville in September) they got rocked by the Vols a second half avalanche. Their SEC East hopes are relying on handling it differently.
Tulane at UCF 5 p.m.
This AAC match-up in Orlando is a make-up game from Hurricane Matthew a few weeks ago. The Golden Knights come off a physically and emotionally wild roller coaster game at Houston seven days ago. Scott Frost’s bunch picked Cougar star QB, Greg Ward Jr., three times in the first half and cashed in for a 21-3 lead at the break. That was the good news. The bad news is the played the second half. And Ward played brilliantly leading Houston all the way back to a 31-24 win. UCF QB Mckenzie Milton (shown above) didn’t do much either throwing or running last week, but he’s the top weapon the Knights have. Tulane’s defense is poor and Milton should exploit it. The Green Wave’s lost three straight and best hope is to get some kind of rushing attack behind Dontrell Hilliard going.
and Finally, FSU at NC State 7 p.m.
An ACC showdown for the Noles in Raleigh after their they had their hearts pulled out and stomped on by DeShaun Watson and Clemson in the fourth quarter last Saturday night. The good news for Florida State is NC State is equally reeling and ironically, it started when they missed an easy field goal that would have won them the game at Clemson and lost in OT. Since then, also like the Seminoles, the Pack got “dump trucked” at Louisville and now, last Saturday lost to lowly Boston College who hadn’t won an ACC game likely since Reagan was still in office. (Ok, we wanted to make sure that you were still reading).
With all that written, N.C. State will likely put pressure on Noles QB Deondre Francois and hit him some, etc. (everyone else has) and make this an interesting game. What will likely happen is RB Dalvin Cook will have another explosive game. He’s averaging 168 yards per game over the last five and is FSU’s best weapon.
Four games involving he prominent state schools teams and we’ll be recapping them, as they get done.
USF and UCF got American Conference 2020 schedules Tuesday
On Tuesday afternoon the American Athletic Conference made official is 2020 football dates for opponents for its conference members. And, that means UCF and USF got to look for the first time at their full conference slates and when they are playing whom.
First for the Knights, they learned that they will open year three of coach Josh Heupel’s conference play on Thursday night September 24th at East Carolina. It is one of three stand-alone weeknight(day) games UCF has on their schedule.
The next one will be Friday night October 16th, as UCF travels to play the Memphis Tigers. That’s a team that the Knights defeated for two Conference Championship Game victories in 2017 and 18.
— American Football (@American_FB) February 18, 2020
UCF will also play a traditional “War on I-4” game with the rival Bulls on the Friday after Thanksgiving November 27th. This will be the fourth straight year of playing on “Black Friday.”
As for the Knights other part of the league schedule, they will have their AAC home opener with Tulsa on Saturday October 3rd and then, finish the slate with two huge home matchups with Temple Saturday November 14th followed by Cincinnati at Spectrum Stadium the following week.
For the Bulls, who welcome first year coach Jeff Scott in 2020, they will only have two standalone appearances in conference play. Those will be a Friday night home game October 23rd with Tulsa and then, the previously mentioned final rivalry game with UCF on Friday November 27th.
The Bulls first conference game of the season will be at Cincinnati on October 3rd, while the home opener is East Carolina the following week at Raymond James Stadium.
USF has a tough road slate beginning at Temple on October 17th and then, after the Friday night home game with Tulsa, playing at Memphis November 7th and at Houston November 14th.
The conference is playing 2020 with only 11 members, as UConn has departed and gone back to the Big East. This will also be the first time that the AAC doesn’t play a two six team division format and will instead take the top two ranked teams in conference play for it’s December Championship Game.
Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl
One-player eager to start showcasing himself Saturday afternoon in the pre-draft process in St Petersburg is former UCF speedster RB, Adrian Killins.
Killins ,who just finished four years of highlight runs and touchdowns for the the Knights will participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl.
— East-West Shrine Bowl (@ShrineBowl) December 2, 2019
Killins is generously listed at 5’9 and 165 lb. and came UCF without much fanfare from Daytona Mainland High School. However, he had been an explosive player on the football gridiron, and he was also a former two time 3A State 200m track champion before coming to Orlando.
Once at UCF in 2016, Killins immediately showed off his explosiveness and moniker of “fastest player in college football” with a 100-yard kickoff return at ECU and an 87 yard touchdown run at “the Big House” in Ann Arbor against Michigan.
His best season was his sophomore year, when he was named First Team All American Athletic Conference RB, as he rushed for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead UCF. He showed versatility and caught another additional 25 passes for 169 yards.
He also set a UCF record for longest play from scrimmage that still stands, in the UCF regular season win over Memphis, as he took a handoff and the looked like a missle racing down the sideline:
Longest run in @UCF_Football history ✔️
Longest run in @American_FB history ✔️
2nd-longest in NCAA this year ✔️
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 1, 2017
Killins helped the Knights experience their greatest season ever at 13 – 0 with not only a thrilling double-overtime conference title game rematch win over the Tigers, but a New Year’s Day upset of SEC Powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl for the perfect season.
His next two years under Josh Heupel and his new coaching staff were not as spectacular. But, he still he would make the occasional explosive run and finished his career with over 1,700 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.
He did leave a final impression with his 115 yards and 1 TD in the regular season finale with USF.
Now, he knows that with his smaller size, even with blazing speed, he will be challenged to stick on an NFL roster, and another way might be as a kick returner. Killins left UCF with a career 21.8 avg on 47 returns as a Knight.
He will likely need to show that part of his game to help him get a realistic shot at the next level. And, we wait to see if there will be explosive plays from him Saturday.