Yet another weekend in the books for the Sunshine Seven. How did it play out? Check the rankings below!
1) Miami, 4-0, victory over Georgia Tech 35-21
By looking at the box score one can see the difference in this game.. GT had roughly the same yardage and first downs as the Canes but the glaring difference on the stat sheet was turnovers. GT had thee and the Canes had zero, that was the difference in the contest. Kaaya played mistake free football while having only needing to throw the ball 19 times. He completed 13 of those attempts while also posting a touchdown to Stacy Coley. On the ground Miami didn’t run roughshod over the GT defense but very much had a group effort from Walton, Yearby and even Gus Edwards this weekend to plow the way for a decent but not overly impressive 114 yards on the ground. The difference in the squads definitely was Miami’s aggressive and opportunistic defense who forced three turnovers and returned two for defensive touchdowns.
This weekend Miami plays host to a reeling and potentially dangerous FSU team. Miami is going to have to bring their “A game” as the Noles definitely will be trying to save their season from running further afoul than what it already has. Each week the reports by the national media are that “Miami hasn’t played a competitive 1A program.” We’ll have to see if this game is a true litmus test for the Canes on national TV.
2) Florida, 4-1, victory over Vanderbilt 13-6
If Miami were to win next Saturday and win convincingly, the second place team in this ranking and those below them will be off far in the distance from Miami for the number one spot. Florida has an amazing defense, maybe one of the best defenses in arguably a decade in college football, they’re that good. Their offense? Meh.. Newly promoted QB1 Austin Appleby will in all likelihood secede his position once Luke Del Rio comes back from injury whether that be this weekend or next due to not putting points on the scoreboard. Against Vanderbilt, Appleby only threw for 144 yards on 28 attempts so… he’s not exactly chucking the ball down the field and stretching the defense to help his running game. Oh, how did the runningbacks do you ask? They rushed the ball 35 times for only 92 yards, yikes.
The Gators next opponent is the Tigers from LSU who, after firing Les Miles last week, all of a sudden may have life after dominating their last opponent Missouri 42-7. Luckily for the Gators this one is at home but if they can’t drum up any offense, look out.
3) FSU, 3-2, lost to UNC 37-35
This isn’t a news flash by any stretch of the imagination but it bears repeating: FSU hasn’t established an identity on defense in 2016. After last weekend’s shoot out loss to UNC the negative winds started to swirl around Tallahassee. Will they fire their embattled defensive coordinator? Are players playing with the heart and effort needed to pull out victories? Is the locker room divided between the high powered offense and the wilting defense? Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has had to dismiss all these notions throughout the week but one has to start to wonder after yet another loss, this time at home to UNC.
Heading into the prime time matchup with Miami, FSU is very much the cornered animal that has to be ready to strike. The million-dollar question is simply: will they? We’ll have to find out. If they fall flat again this weekend against yet another competitive program those questions will only get louder for the Noles.
4) USF, 4-1, victory over Cincinnati 45-20
It’s really a shame USF got beat so handily by FSU two weeks ago. Besides that clunker they’ve played really well en route to yet another beat down of an AAC opponent when they traveled to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats. Behind a well-balanced running and passing attack (228 through the air and 226 on the ground) USF was able to go on a scoring spree in the second half to pull away. Besides piling up solid yardage on offense, the defense was able to force four turnovers to chip in on the victory effort as well.
Next weekend USF plays ECU at home to try and stay atop the Eastern Division of the AAC. If they continue this trajectory they will be well on their way to a Conference Championship appearance come the first weekend in December.
5) UCF, 3-2, victory over ECU 47-29
This game was a classic contest where ECU had an advantage in time of possession and yardage gained but lost the turnover battle which was the deciding factor. Simply put, you can’t have five (!!!!!) turnovers and expect to win a game. UCF played a conservative (as conservative as can be under a hypo aggressive offense run by Scott Frost) game plan throughout the contest by having a run pass rate of 44-29 and picking their plays to go for a score. Senior running back Dontravious Wilson paced the rushing attack this week as the Knights spread the rushing attempts out with a decent day at 11 carries for 74 yards and two scores. Overall the running game churned out 44 attempts to go along with 217 yards and 4 scores on the day.
Up next the Knights would have played the Green wave but due to the Hurricane Matthew the game has been postponed to a later date in the year.
6) FIU, 1-4, victory over FAU 33-31
7) FAU 1-4, lost to FIU 33-31
FAU and FIU call this rivalry “The Shula Bowl.” I call it the “Sunshine Seven Pillow Fight.” In the end, this game was high scoring through the second and third quarters with five lead changes up to that point. In the end FIU’s kicker hit a 32 yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter that proved to be the last points scored, thus a game winning field goal with 14 minutes left in the contest. Neither team had impressive stats through the air but were able to pound out solid yards on the ground. FAU had 36 rushing attempts for 236 yards and two scores. FIU went nuts on the ground with 49 attempts and 270 yards for three touchdowns. The passing attacks? We’ll stay away from those stats. Let’s just say it was nothing to write home about, for either team.
FIU next week plays Conference USA opponent UTEP in Texas. For FAU, they try and pick up the pieces (and the rest of their confidence) as they take on the newly promoted Charlotte 49ers at home. Even though this is Charlie Partridge’s third season the rumblings may start at FAU that they need to make a coaching change. His first two seasons at FAU he went 3-9 each year. Halfway through the season it’s hard to see an improvement on that win-loss record.
What do you guys think? Any changes to the rankings?