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UCF tries to get swagger back leading our college primer

Jamil King

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Week 13 of the college football season will give us a cross-town showdown and a lot of pride on the line across the state. Miami and Florida International will hit the baseball diamond against each other in Marlins Park. UCF will travel to Tulane, and USF will host the top seed in the American West, Memphis. Plus, Florida Atlantic will head to Texas to take on UT-San Antonio.

The Hurricanes and Panthers will be playing each other for the fourth time in their history, but it’s the first time at the site of the old Orange Bowl Stadium. The last time these two linked up, the Canes won 31-17 a year ago. The Canes are coming into this game hot. Before the bye week, and behind QB Jarren Williams they were riding a three-game winning streak. Last time out, they put up 52 points against Louisville and will look to pick up where they left off. FIU, on the other hand, comes into this game on having lost two of their last three games, including a blowout loss to rival Florida Atlantic.

UCF will look to bounce back from their loss 13 days ago at Tulsa, blowing that game in the fourth quarter. The Knights will head to Tulane to pay a Green Wave team, which has yet to drop a game at home. Josh Heupel’s team will need the best from QB Dillon Gabriel, who struggled in their most recent loss.

This matchup with the Green Wave has all the makings of what should be a “good ‘ole fashion shootout,” as both teams have high powered offenses capable of big plays at any given moment. After going to a “New Years’ Six” bowl game the last two seasons, UCF will be trying to just get into the best bowl possible this year.

Meanwhile, USF will host the 18th ranked Memphis in the only game involving a top 25 team vs. a state team this week.. For the second week in a row, the Bulls will face one of the top teams in the conference, who is looking to secure a spot in the championship game. After taking Cincinnati to the wire a week ago, the Bulls could face a tougher time this week. The Tigers run the ball very effectively, and that just happens to be Charlie Strong’s Bulls weakest point on defense.

Freshman Kenneth Gainwell has been a force for this Tigers offense, and they have also regained Patrick Taylor Jr. The Bulls will need to force Memphis to pass the ball if they want to win this game. The Bulls will also need to find some offense. They have only scored 20 points combined in their last two games and that won’t be enough to pull the upset.

Florida Atlantic still has a chance to play for the C-USA crown. They will need to win out to have a shot at the East Division and that starts at UT- San Antonio. The Owls are a passing team led by Chris Robinson; however, the run might be their key to victory.

The Roadrunners have the 46th ranked pass defense, but the 108th ranked run defense. FAU was able to exploit the run defense FIU had two weeks ago and should attempt to do the same thing in this game.

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.

UCF Knights

Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl

Florida Football Insiders

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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.

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:

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.

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UCF Knights

Final Power Rankings for 2019

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the final edition of our 2019 power rankings headed into the bowl onslaught and the final Sunday of NFL football. The teams at the top should look familiar, including two that have won their bowl game already. and the final three have definitely deserved to be moved up or into the final list.

Florida Gators – the Gators are prepping for Monday night’s Orange Bowl against the Virginia Cavaliers and will hold down the top spot in the power rankings to dnd season based on their overall consistent performance. A second straight 10-win year and also “New Year’s Six” bowl game validates the hire and the hard work of Dan Mullen, his staff and the players. You consider the Florida’s only two losses in the toughest college conference in land are to #1  LSU and rival Georgia, who won the East and is in the Sugar Bowl themselves.

So, it’s been a good season. Now, can they cap it off what they did a year ago with a Peach Bowl win over Michigan?

UCF Knights – As we wrote on Monday, they finished with a third straight 10-win season by hammering the Marshall Thundering Herd in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa. Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel (above) showed great poise, skill and potential for the future throughout the season. He threw two more touchdowns and ran for another, while being named the Bowl MVP.

UCF clearly has the arrow pointing up and has established itself, as the second-best program in the state behind the Gators.

FAU Owls- A great finish to the regular season, a Conference USA title game win and now, a Boca Raton Bowl win over SMU last Saturday brings the Owls to finish third on our list. Even though coach Lane Kiffin has departed to take over at Ole Miss, former USF, Oregon and FSU coach Willie Taggart slid-into Boca Raton and has a great chance to succeed right away.

Quarterback Chris Robison continued to play well throughout the close of season, including in the win over the Mustangs last Saturday. FAU won 10 games for the second time in three years and is deserving of this slot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Even though the Bucs had their four-game winning streak snapped last Saturday by the Houston Texans, they still have played consistent, good football in the second half of the year and had gotten their record to 7-7.

Yes, QB Jameis Winston has been maddening with the interceptions, but also has been smashing single-game passing records and has been a key part of them being able to score/win games. But, after three more picks last week, Winston needs a good performance in the finale’ with the Falcons Sunday to quiet down the critics that the Buccaneers part with him after this season.

Tampa Bay’s defense under coordinator Todd Bowles has also approved, particularly their secondary where they have spent numerous premium draft picks over the last few years. A win Sunday would only be the third time this decade the Buccaneers don’t have a losing season.

Miami Dolphins – They come off a dramatic overtime win over the lowly Bengals last week in a game, where they collapsed but still found a way to win. It was their fourth one of the season after an 0 – 7 start and clearly the team is playing hard for coach Brian Flores and his staff at the end.

We are still puzzled as to why they insist on not playing QB Josh Rosen in these meaningless games, but it likely means GM Chris Grier and Flores have decided that Rosen is being cut at the end of this season and they will simply eat $4 million dollars in dead cap money.

Finally, the development of DeVante Parker hass continued as he went over 1,000 yards receiving last week and got a contract extension with a bunch of guaranteed money. And, while Miami does have numerous holes to fill, they have a chance to be a .500 team in 2020, if they keep trending in the right direction.

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