How’d this week’s Sunshine Seven do? Check out the ranks below:
1) Florida State, 7-3, beat BC 45-7
Last week when giving the preview for the BC game I stated that FSU would probably have this contest wrapped up by halftime. Unfortunately, I was a little off. FSU had this game sewn up by the end of the first quarter. The Noles dominated from the get-go and the only blemish that can be taken away from this game is that Deandre Francois, their redshirt freshman phenom at quarterback injured his shoulder and had to leave the game. Fittingly enough, the senior backup, quarterback Sean McGuire, came into the game and threw two touchdown passes on senior night.
The Noles’ next game is up in the Carrier Dome against a rebuilding program in the Syracuse Oragemen. Dino Babers in his staff run a high tempo offense so we’ll see if they can execute their game plan and keep up with the Noles.
2) Florida, 7-2, beat South Carolina 20-7
With Luke Del Rio out again due to injury Austin Appleby took charge of the bland and often times stagnant Florida Gators offense and “game managed” the unit to a solid yet unspectacular victory. Just like the Seminoles, the Gators also played a rebuilding team in the South Carolina Gamecocks and handled them with ease. The vaunted Gators defense only allowed 253 total yards of offense. On the flip side, the Gators offense put up a modest 370 yards of offense and scored 20 points to salt this game away by the third quarter.
The next two weeks for the Gators will be the true watershed moments on their season. This weekend they play at LSU and the following weekend they travel to Tallahassee to take on FSU. We’ll see if the Gator offense can put together enough scoring to keep pace with the two top 25 programs.
3) South Florida, 8-2, beat Memphis 49-42
There are two things that are becoming abundantly clear about USF as the last few weeks have gone on. First, their offense is one of the elite scoring units in the nation. Against Memphis they put up 679 total yards of offense. Leading the way, as per usual, was Quinton Flowers with 263 yards passing, 210 yards rushing and five (5!!) total touchdowns. Even though Lamar Jackson maybe salting away the Heisman Trophy with each passing week, Flowers should very much be in the top 5 conversation for the award come the first week of December.
The second note about USF is that they’ve abandoned their defense in 2016. Even though the Bulls put up gaudy stats against a middling 6-4 opponent, Memphis also posted numbers that totaled 600 yards of offense as well. Coach Taggert is getting rave reviews across the nation about being a possible “coach on the rise” candidate but he really should look into fixing his beleaguered defensive strategy moving forward.
Next week the Bulls travel to Texas to take on SMU in what could be another track meet type contest. Chad Morris loves high scoring affairs so Coach Taggert and his staff should be weary of their next challenge Saturday night.
4) Miami, 6-4, beat Virginia 34-14
The first half saw Miami and UVA go back in forth when it came to scoring. At the half Miami was pacing UVA 17-14 but in the second half it was all Miami. Fueled by four turnovers in the second half alone, the Canes scored 17 unanswered points and cruised into bowl eligibility. Kaaya had a decent game pacing the offense. The one highlight reel play through the air was freshman phenom Ahmmon Richards taking a short stop route down the sideline for 77 yards and a score. The rushing attack has now mutated from a two headed monster of Joe Yearby and starter Mark Walton to now include Gus Edwards. All three combined for 232 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground.
In their next contest, the Canes have a potentially tough matchup in Raleigh, North Carolina against a veteran led NC State Wolfpack team. The Pack have a stout defensive line that averages a little less than 100 yards given up on the ground per game so the newly formed rushing lanes the Canes had found the last few weeks could potentially be harder to find on Saturday afternoon.
5) Central Florida, 6-4, beat Cincinnati 24-3
Coach Scott Frost is wringing out every bit of talent he can from his team to pull of victories. In this contest the Knights had one special team’s touchdown (blocked punt) and one defensive touchdown (strip sack). The defense then did enough to keep the Bearcat offense off balance throughout the rest of the game. With freshman quarterback McKenzie Milton leading the way for most of the season for the Knights, Frost has done a great job limiting the onus on him carrying the offense. Even though there aren’t that many openings this coaching carousel cycle look for Frost’s name to start bubbling to the top of coaching searches in the future if he can keep the positive momentum going for the Knights.
UCF plays an intriguing opponent in Tulsa Saturday night. Both teams are bowl eligible (Tulsa is 7-3) and both can sport fast paced offenses. The Knights depth will be tested in this game due to the simple fact of: will they be able to keep up with the high tempo Golden Hurricane? Should be a fun one to watch Saturday night at 7 p.m.
6) Florida Atlantic, 3-7, beat UTEP 35-31
Well how ‘bout that... FAU has won two games in a row. This game was much more important to Coach Partridge as he and his staff found a way to win in the fourth quarter. With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter UTEP went ahead by 11 and if you’re an Owl’s fan you probably thought this game was over. As Lee Corso would say “not so fast, my friend!” FAU scored a touchdown with a successful two-point conversion to boot with four minutes left and then later with less than a minute they went ahead with another touchdown to make the score 35-31. If Partridge can somehow win one or both of his last two games he may have successfully saved his job for another year. Building positive momentum for next year would be huge for the Owls. Also, improving on their win/loss record from the past two seasons would be a great resume builder for Partridge as well.
Getting another win next week could prove difficult as FAU plays host to ODU who sports an impressive 7-3 record as well as a 5-1 conference record. Good luck Coach Partridge!
7) Florida International, 3-7, bye week
The Panthers had a bye week but that didn’t stop them from making the news cycle. After firing Ron Turner after an 0-4 start the Panthers brought in a familiar name who’s used to “working with less” in newly hired Head Coach Butch Davis. You all know Butch Davis’ background with resurrecting programs and making them competitive in a quick turnaround time (the Cleveland Browns went to the playoffs in his second season at the helm) so we’ll see how he does with the usually toothless Panther program.
Davis’ main focus right now is to not take over the day to day activities at this time but rather he must fill out his coaching staff and will probably get to work on formulating the offseason conditioning program over the next two or three weeks.
To finish out their season, the Panthers take on Marshall at home this weekend and then head up to Norfolk, Virginia to complete their season against ODU. FIU alumni and fans are already looking ahead to next season and what it brings but the current players are going to try and keep their focus on the here and now.
What did you think of the rankings? Should anyone be moved up or down? Post below!