Our latest Power Rankings have a shakeup or two, but one thing is clear, you keep winning important games on the road like the Miami Hurricanes and the Jaguars have? You deserve our praise…(and others, too.)
So, we will go, again, in descending order combining both prominent college and NFL teams we cover:
Florida State Seminoles- Sorry Nole fans. We know this is like “kick’em while their down” type stuff, but another gut wrenching loss (their third) keeps you in the back of the bus. Yes, James Blackman has shown promise the last two weeks. And, as Jamil King wrote for us, Auden Tate is developing into a top WR. But, the Noles defense, which couldn’t stop Miami when they had to last Saturday, is still suspect. And there are still several tough opponents (Clemson, Louisville, Florida) waiting, too.
Miami Dolphins- It was debatable about putting the Fins last despite a 2-2 record. The offense is one of the worst, except for maybe Cleveland or San Francisco, in the NFL. They have three offensive TDs all season. Now, the Miami defense was solid last week, but that came against backup Matt Cassel vs. the younger explosive Marcus Mariota.
The Dolphins have obviously had bizarre controversial off the field incidents, including their former O-line coach, Chris Foerster snorting drugs on camera, and then resigning Monday. But distractions aside, with names like Landry, Stills, Ajayi, Suh, Wake, Alonso, they have a chance to be better. Right now? They’re seventh to us.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- They also have two wins and a 2-2 record, but when you look at their victories over the Bears and the Giants, that doesn’t look like much either. When last we saw Jameis Winston and the Bucs on Thursday Night Football, they had trouble getting anything done for much of the first three quarters.
Of course kicker Nick Folk butchering two makable field goals in the second half hurt in a close game, as well. Their pass rush improved with three sacks of Tom Brady and two forced turnovers. But they only had one sack coming into the game. A tough challenge awaits the Bucs as they play at Arizona this week and it starts a stretch of six road games in eight weeks. This includes the rescheduled Miami game in November.
Florida Gators- Yes, we have dropped them big time from our top ranking two weeks ago, but losing to a suspect LSU team at home like they did last week, should cost you in our eyes. Also, Florida’s three wins over East division foes Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are looking less and less meaningful as they continue to struggle/lose.
So, the tally is 3-2 and in the other loss to Michigan, the offense looked like a bad high school game. And QB Feleipe Franks has developed at a slow pace these past few weeks. That means, we have to put the Gators in the middle of the pack for now.
USF Bulls- Ok. Bulls fans are going immediately whine “We’re 5-0. Weee’rrreeee 5-0.” Yes, they are. And you want to win all your games, no matter the quality of opponent. But, their D-1 opponents, San Jose State, Illinois, Temple and ECU have a 7-17 record. Yikes.
QB Quinton Flowers was better in their last game with East Carolina and the Bulls defense is leading the country in interceptions.
So, there are positives. And, USF will likely roll Saturday night, when they host Cincinnati and get to 6-0 for the first time ever. But, the Bulls have to stay behind the upcoming other three, for now.
UCF Knights- Also undefeated at 4-0, UCF comes into our third slot because of a solid blow out road win (at Maryland) and a home blow out of conference rival Memphis. The Tigers are looking like one of the best teams in the West division of the American Conference and they are significantly better than any opponent the Bulls have beaten. And, UCF blew them away.
Then QB McKenzie Milton fired 5 TD passes in just three quarters in the easy win last Saturday. UCF will likely smoke East Carolina to be 5-0 after this week. Therefore, we have them in our third slot.
Jacksonville Jaguars- There is not a more impressive turnaround than the Jags, right now. It may not hold up, but three blowout wins at Houston, in London over the Ravens and last Sunday in Pittsburgh move the Jaguars up to the “first class” section of our rankings. The Defense is nasty with a team record setting five pick game against the Steelers last week.
This goes along with the team record 10 sack game against the Texans week one. And, we have documented already what Leonard Fournette is bringing to the running game/offense so far. Now, can they sustain it starting at home with the 3-2 Rams this week? Time will tell.
For now? They are the second best team in the state.
And that of course leaves,
The Miami Hurricanes- Also unbeaten at 4-0, Miami got two solid ACC wins on the road over Duke and FSU these last two weeks. QB Malik Rosier’s heroics with the game wining TD drive in the final minute at Tallahassee last week was legendary stuff, as Miami snapped a seven game losing streak to the Seminoles with a game/finish that will be remembered for a awhile.
The good news is the Canes defense is fast and talented, too. The bad news is star running back, Mark Walton is now lost for the year with ankle surgery after re-injuring it during the FSU game. There is adversity for Mark Richt’s second season, but he is a veteran coach and we’ll see if they respond. Remember, the Hurricanes were 4-0 this time a year ago in Richt’s debut, and promptly lost 4 straight. Will it be different this year?
For now, the Canes deserve this ranking.
Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school
Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden is apparently about to have his day in court, while trying to recoup what he says is multi-millions of dollars that the University still owes him from firing him 5 years ago.
Miami Herald writer and columnist Barry Jackson had more on Monday evening that there apparently will not be a settlement by the school with the man that coached them for parts of five seasons in the 2010s.
UM schedule change, another new hire, Golden trial, why Ray Lewis says hiring Ed Reed is a ‘genius move,’ and Kosar weighs in. And more: https://t.co/MvTx7WxJND
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 4, 2020
Golden is seeking in excess of $3 million for what he says is compensation per his contract that he was owed when Miami terminated him in October of 2015 after a humiliating 58 – 0 lost to Clemson. The University says that Golden has been paid what the contract required.
As Jackson reported, there have already been depositions on both sides, including with Miami athletic director Blake James. And both James and Golden will be testifying in the civil suit about what went wrong and how it has not been rectified for almost three years, since the dispute started.
Golden came to Miami after having turned around the Temple football program, but only went 32 – 25 in his four plus seasons. He contends in a chain of emails that were obtained by the media recently, that the University mislead him about the Nevin Shapiro payment scandal and the punishments that Miami was going to receive for scholarship losses and a bowl ban.
He further contends that he asked for tough opponents like Wisconsin and Michigan State to be pushed back on the Canes schedule early in his tenure, while they were in the middle of the sanctions. However, that James would not relent, thereby, making it much tougher for Miami to compete and win.
The University has had no comment on the possible suit going to trial. Golden’s lawyer told the media recently that they are anxious to have their day in front of a judge and jury.
Golden has been a position coach in the NFL with the Detroit Lions the last two years. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find their footing with coach Manny Diaz coming off a dismal 6-7 season where they lost their last three games. That included a humiliating 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.
Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff
The Miami Hurricanes are hoping to reestablish their winning ways, and coach Manny Diaz is starting 2020 by reaching back to a prominent member of their recent past to help them.
Diaz and the school announced Thursday afternoon that former All-American, National Champion and College and NFL Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, will be coming aboard as a newly-created “Chief of Staff” position for Hurricanes football:
Visits and vacations are nice, but there is no place like home.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 30, 2020
As the school’s release said, Reed “will be responsible in advisory role of all aspects of the football program including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player Development among other duties.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back to Coral Gables,” Diaz said. “He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program. All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”
This hire comes on the heels of Miami apparently botching the hiring in a similar role of former star RB from the 80’s Alonzo Highsmith earlier this month. Highsmith negotiated with Diaz and AD Blake James about looking to come back to Coral Gables after having been in a similar role with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL this past year. Alas, they could not agree. Highsmith has since been fired after the Browns fired GM John Dorsey and shook up their front office.
As for the “Chief of Staff” position, numerous college programs, including Clemson Alabama and Georgia have a similar positions to aid and assist the head coach with the day-to-day administration of program.
You cannot find a more decorated Cane willing to help, as Reed was arguably the best safety in college football in the 2000s. Miami posted a 23 – 1 record over his final two seasons (’00-’01) and he was part of the 2001 BCS Championship team that finished 11-1 and destroyed Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
Reed with a consensus First-team All-American in 2000 and 2001 and set the Hurricanes record for interceptions with 21 before leaving Coral Gables.
Reed was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 for his accomplishments.
Reed was later a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, playing at 11 sasons with them before playing his final year with the Texans and the Jets. He is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-Pro six times. Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame year ago.
Read was not quoted in the release by the Hurricanes on Thursday afternoon.
However, he did participate earlier during Super Bowl week in Miami with former Hurricanes legendary coach Jimmy Johnson in a special program from Fox Sports with other famous Hurricane alumni like Michael Irvin.
"This is a moment in time that needed to be done and it couldn't have been done in a greater place." #TheReUnion, hosted by @FOXSports, made for great stories and honest discussion about the brotherhood formed only at The U. https://t.co/6bdlY8IQkV
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) January 30, 2020
The program called “The ReUnion” dealt with Miami trying to regain the winning ways and dominance of the 80s and 90s.
Miami stumbled to a 6-6 finish and then was embarrassed to end Diaz’s first season with a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.