Florida Programs Look For Consistency And Sustainability In Week Three
Florida is known for its theme parks, Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens among others. All of those theme parks feature roller coasters much like the state of college football in the Sunshine State.
Due to the roller coaster season thus far, Group of Five teams look to eclipse the Power Five programs for the top dog in Florida. As of week three, Vegas would favor UCF at home vs. Florida, Florida State, and Miami. USF would receive no more than three points at vs. the same teams.
UCF top Sports Talk Florida’s latest Florida Rankings heading into week three.
- With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the East Coast, University of North Carolina officials announced Tuesday that the UCF-UNC football game scheduled for Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. will not be played. Unlikely, but UNC and UCF will continue to discuss the feasibility of playing the game at a later date this season.
- Coming off last week’s upset over Georgia Tech, the Bulls have a chance to beat another Power Five opponent in the Fighting Illini. Illinois is coming into week three very confident due to a 2-0 start, scoring 38.5 pts/gm, giving up just 19 pts/gm.
- The run-heavy Illini will look to control the clock with their effective running game due to three players with over 100 yards rushing on the year.
- The Bulls only have one player over 100 yards rushing, quarterback Blake Barnett. Two weeks in, that’s a bit concerning as Barnett is much more a of pocket passer. Some of his runs are designed, but a lot are results of the offensive line breaking down.
- Prediction: Look for the Bulls to establish the run game with the running backs more, allowing Barnett to do his damage from the pocket. This game will be closer than the betting line indicates (USF -10). USF 35 – Illinois 27
#21 Miami at Toledo
- Miami rolled Savannah State last week as they should have. However, due to the level of competition, they weren’t able to settle the quarterback situation. The Canes played all four quarterbacks last week, and they all played well. Incumbent starter, Malik Rosier, was the only Miami quarterback with two three and outs.
- The competition steps up a bit as the Canes head to Toledo in week three. Last year the Rockets gave Miami a scare at Hard Rock Stadium before the Canes’ took over in the second half.
- The Hurricanes are 10.5 point favorites on the road this week, so playing four quarterbacks will not be in the forecast. Rosier will get the nod as the starter. However, Richt plans to play redshirt freshman, N’Kosi Perry. The development of the quarterback situation will be interesting going forward.
- Prediction: Miami will look to establish their run game early as they only have one running back with 100 yards (Homer). Also look for true freshman, Lorenzo Lingard, to enter the running back rotation with his big-play ability. Miami 34 – Toledo 20
Florida vs. Colorado State
- The Gators lost a lot of games last season, seven to be exact. They almost lost to Kentucky on the road, but then head coach Jim McElwain pulled starting quarterback Feleipe Franks in favor of Luke Del Rio, and the Gators won. This past Saturday, Franks played the whole game; Florida lost to Kentucky at home.
- The sky seems to be falling in Gainesville as they have a brutal SEC schedule ahead, and their annual matchup with Florida State. New head coach Dan McMullen tried to lean on the run game and defense as he fixed the passing game, but they failed him.
- Colorado State comes to town as apart of McElwain’s buyout when he accepted the job at Florida. Florida should win going away at the cost of $2 million. However, will Gator fans get to see backup quarterback Kyle Trask at some point?
- Prediction: Another Florida program that will look to work on its run game. However, Florida will need to tighten up its defense as CSU bring the nation’s tenth-ranked passing game (369 yds/gm) to Gainesville. Florida 35 – CSU 17
Florida State at Syracuse
- After losing week one at home to Virginia Tech, the Seminoles couldn’t seem to find proper footing vs. Samford. The Noles were supposed to be better this season due to the return of quarterback Deondre Francios. However, Jimbo Fisher left, and Willie Taggart seems to be in over his head in Tallahassee.
- Things don’t get any easier for Florida State as they travel to Syracuse. A team that almost beat Miami last year, and gave Clemson their only regular season loss. After giving up 525 yards at home to Samford, the Noles face an offense averaging 508 yds/gm, and 58.5 pts/gm.
- Florida State cannot afford another slow start come Saturday. FSU averages a 9.5 point deficit at the end of the first quarter. If that’s the case at the Carrier Dome, the Noles will be in for a long game.
- Prediction: Florida State must establish there rushing attach to keep Syracuse off the field. Nothing this season has shown they can do so. The Noles’ defense is susceptible to big plays and will struggle with Syracuse’s tempo. Syracuse 38 – Florida State 31
FAU vs. Bethune-Cookman
- The Owls bounced back after getting stomped in Norman vs. Oklahoma. Quarterback Chris Robinson had his coming party, throwing for 471 yards and tossing three touchdowns.
- Saturday’s matchup with the Wildcats will be a nice tune-up before FAU’s huge clash with UCF in Orlando next week.
- Look for the Owls to get star running back Devin Singletary going early. Singletary is off to a slow start in 2018, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and 126 yards in two games.
- Prediction: FAU 70 – BCU 3
FIU vs. UMASS
- FIU’s come from behind victory vs. Old Dominion last week was much needed to the Panthers’ confidence after week one’s loss to Indiana. Quarterback James Morgan seems to be finding his way as the new Panthers’ starter.
- Saturday’s matchup with Umass will be a high scoring affair as both teams score a lot and give up a lot of points.
- Look for FIU to take advantage of the Minutemen giving up 245 yards on the ground.
- Prediction: FIU 34 – UMASS 30