A Trap Game, An Upset Bid, and Quarterback Issues Highlight A Fantastic Week 11 In The Sunshine State
As Florida teams prepare their matchups this week, college football week eleven presents an array of challenges for each program.
But first, Florida’s Power Five programs must figure out their quarterback situations. In Tallahassee, Florida State head coach Willie Taggart hasn’t named a starting quarterback for Saturday’s matchup at Notre Dame. Sophomore quarterback James Blackman played extremely well (421 yards, 4 TDs) as he replaced Deondre Francios.
Down in Coral Gables, the Miami Hurricanes’ season has been derailed by quarterback play. Last week head coach Mark Richt alternated the quarterbacks. He decided on N’Kosi Perry to lead the team’s game-tying drive, ultimately falling short. Richt said he will go with Perry as they travel to Georgia Tech.
And in Gainesville, quarterback Feleipe Franks was benched in favor of Kyle Trask last week vs. Missouri. However, Trask suffered a serious, non-contact injury in practice Wednesday, and was carted off the field according to multiple reports.
The UCF Knights seem to be separating themselves as the best team in Florida, topping our Florida College Football Ranking once again. Click here for full rankings.
No. 12 UCF vs. Navy | 12pm on ESPN2 | Line: UCF -25.5
The Knights are getting zero respect from the College Football Playoff Committee. Last week they came in at number 12 due to their schedule, and not having beaten a winning team to date. However, after the weekend of games, the Knights had three teams with winning records on their schedule and still came in at 12, with a couple of two-loss teams ahead of them.
Navy presents the ultimate trap game for UCF as Cincinnati comes to town next week. Also, Navy’s triple-option offense is difficult to prepare for, and even more difficult to simulate in practice. The best way to beat UCF is to keep their offense off the field. The best way to do that is to run the ball, and the Midshipmen specialize in that due to their third-ranked rushing attack (287.4 yds/gm).
The Knights are salivating at the chance to take on Navy’s defense. The Midshipmen give up 36.2 points, 255 yards thru the air, and 186.4 yards per game on the ground. This game may be close in the first half, but look for the Knights to lean on their offense to pull away late.
Prediction: UCF 52 – Navy 31
No. 15 Florida vs. South Carolina | 12pm on ESPN | Line: Florida -6
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is out for the season; they’ll have to roll with Feleipe Franks. Franks was benched in the second half during another rocky performance as Missouri spoiled UF’s homecoming with a 38-17 victory on Saturday. Florida seems to be back on schedule during their rebuild.
The Gamecocks will lean on quarterback Jake Bentley, and the passing game as that was Florida’s achilles heal last week. However, South Carolina does run the ball effectively with 161.1 yards per game on the ground. Florida has a good defense allowing just 351 yards per game, but they can be exposed if their offense is no effective, leaving them on the field.
The Gators turn back to Franks after bailing on him in the midst of a putrid performance. The Gamecocks allow over 220 yards per game thru the air. Florida must find balance on offense to keep possessions alive via converting third downs. Look for Franks to use his legs to find a rhythm early in the contest.
Prediction: South Carolina 31 – Florida 27
Miami at Georgia Tech | 7pm on ESPN2 | Line: Georgia Tech -3
After trying to figure out the quarterback situation over the past few weeks, the Canes have settled on N’Kosi Perry when they travel to Bobby Dodd Stadium. Perry is completing 52.4 percent of his passes, with 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Miami had an outside chance at winning the ACC Coastal division with Virginia’s loss Friday night, but couldn’t find a way defeat Duke at home in less than perfect weather conditions.
Much like UCF, the Canes have the tough task of preparing for the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense. Miami has done well against Georgia Tech’s rushing attack due to their discipline, and talent. Miami still has the nation’s second-ranked defense, yielding 264.7 yards per game. However, their weakness is their run defense, allowing 123.6 yards per game. The best way to defeat Georgia Tech is to make them pass with third and long situations.
Offensively, the Canes have struggled since beating Florida State. Miami is averaging 13 points, and 150 yards passing per game since FSU. At their core, the Canes want to run their ball as their featured running backs Travis Homer, and D.J. Dallas who average 5.7, and 6.1 yards per carry respectively. Miami must find a way to keep drives alive thru the air. A task for head coach Mark Richt, who’s also the play caller.
Prediction: Miami 27 – Georgia 24
USF at Cincinnati | 7pm on ESPNU | Line: Cincy -14
After an embarrassing blowout loss to Tulane at home, the Bulls have no time to dwell, as they have a very tough matchup in Cincinnati. USF may not have a quarterback controversy like the Power Five programs, but Blake Barnett has regressed tremendously over the course of the season. Barnett must play significantly better vs. Cincy for USF to have a chance.
The Bearcats will look to bottle the Bulls’ offense up with their fifth-ranked defense that allows 274.3 yards per contest. USF leans on its rushing attack when Barnett struggles, a tall task this week as Cincy yields just 103.4 yards per game on the ground. USF must convert on third down to sustain drives to leave Nippert Stadium with a victory.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulls have been atrocious on defense, giving up 38.8 points per game in their last five games. The Bearcats have a good, not great offense, but USF allowing almost 250 yards per game on the ground has to comfort Cincinnati.
Prediction: Cincy 41 – USF 27
Florida State at Notre Dame | 7:30pm on NBC | Line: Notre Dame -16.5
This line should move in the coming days as the Seminoles got a bit of good news with Irish quarterback, Ian Book, unable to go Saturday night. Book has played a big role in Notre Dame’s 9-0 record after taking over as the starter. Whoever is the starter for Florida State must take this opportunity to turn college football on its head with an upset.
The game plan changes dramatically for the Fighting Irish, Brandon Wimbush is a more effective runner than he is a passer. Look for Notre Dame to lean on their rushing attack at home to keep Wimbush’s passing attempts to a minimum. However, FSU’s 11th-ranked rush defense allows 111.1 yards per game. The Seminoles must put Notre Dame in obvious passing situations, and take advantage of Wimbush’s decision making.
FSU’s rushing attack is laughable this year, averaging 76.9 yards per game, 128th in the nation. The Fighting Irish give up 142 yards per game on the ground. Florida State has to find a way to stay on the field, and that means third and short situations. The Noles have to gain positive yardage on first down on the ground to keep the down and distance manageable.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31 – FSU 27
FIU vs. UTSA | 7pm on ESPN+ | Line: FIU -9.5
After getting out coached, and outplayed in the Shula Bowl, the Panthers have a favorable matchup this week as they try to improve to seven wins.
UTSA has the worst offense in all of college football with 242.6 yards per game. Look for the Panthers to capitalize on the matchup at the Alamodome.
After scoring just 14 points last week, FIU will get back on track vs. 86th-ranked defense.
Prediction: FIU 31 – UTSA 13
FAU vs. Western Kentucky | 5pm | Line: FAU -20
The Owls got a much-needed win last week as they stride toward bowl eligibility. FAU has a very favorable matchup at home vs. the Hilltoppers who come to Boca Raton with one win.
Look for FAU to give a heavy dose of running back Devin Singletary, who has 18 touchdowns on the year. WKU gives up 183 yards on the ground per game.
Prediction: FAU 42 – WKU 23