How did the Sunshine Seven do this week? Check out the recap below:
1) Florida State, 5-3, lost to Clemson 37-34
The Noles played another tough opponent at home and again came up empty handed in the win column, the newest defeat came at the hands (paws?) of the Clemson Tigers. Dashaun Watson paced the passing attack for Clemson with over 400 yards passing and again the Noles defense got lit up for over 500 total yards allowed. Deandre Francois has had a fine season so far and Dalvin Cook has already rushed for over 1,000 yards but it has not been enough to outscore their opponents due to the on again off again leaky defense employed by embattled Noles defensive coordinator Charles Kelly.
Next week the Noles take on NC State at 7 p.m. This could be an intriguing matchup because FSU may still have a hangover from the Tigers. For NC State this is a huge game. We’ll have to see who comes out sharp.
2) Florida, 6-1, beat Georgia 24-10
If you’re looking at the standings and wondering why the Gators aren’t ranked at the top spot it’s pretty simple: they haven’t played a worthy opponent yet. Until that happens they’ll be locked in at number two.
Last weekend the Gators took on the Georgia Bulldogs in the world’s biggest cocktail party and came out with a solid yet uninspiring victory. Yet again Luke Del Rio was serviceable at quarterback but nothing to write home about. He completed 15 of 25 passes for a paltry 131 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The defense again was sterling for the Gators allowing only 164 yards of offense by the Bulldogs.
Next weekend the Gators get their first step up in competition when they travel to Fayetteville Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks. If you’re interested in seeing how this game turns out, switch it on after the Miami game is over at 3:30.
3) South Florida, 7-2, beat Navy 52-45
The box score in this game doesn’t indicate how the play actually was throughout the contest and how slanted the results were in USF’s favor. In the first quarter alone the Bulls ran out to a 28-0 lead and never looked back. The running game alone for the Bulls stomped out 412 yards on the ground and through the air Quinton Flowers had a manageable 212 yards to boot. The Bulls had a minor hiccup on the road against Temple last week but overall the 2016 season is rolling along nicely for everyone in Tampa.
USF has a bye week so their next opponent will be in two Fridays and they’ll take on the Memphis Tigers in Tennessee. The Bulls only have three contests left and have a great shot at concluding the season with 10 wins. Coach Taggert should very much be on the minds of all those power 5 teams looking for the next up and coming coach.
4) Miami, 4-4, lost to Notre Dame 30-27
Each of the last four weeks seems to be relatively the same for the Canes: the offense can’t block for the run or the pass and the defense eventually gets beaten down in the fourth quarter and gives up chunk plays. Kaaya continues to have a decent season statistically pacing the offense but he’s not going above and beyond and carrying the team which is what Canes Nation had hoped for. Against a beleaguered defense Kaaya was able to dish out 288 yards and a touchdown but yet again the rushing attack was stuck in neutral only being able to churn out 18 total yards on 35 carries (!!!).
Miami has another tough matchup this weekend when Pittsburgh comes to town. Will the limping Canes defense be able to slow down the dominant rushing attack led by James Conor? We’ll have to see come 12:30 Saturday afternoon.
5) Central Florida, 4-4, lost to Houston 31-24
Unlike the Canes who seem to be regressing as the season wears on many could argue the UCF Knights are moving in the right direction and getting better each and every week. At halftime in this contest UCF was inexplicably drubbing Houston 21-3 but couldn’t hold on in the second half and gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter that proved fatal to their upset bid.
UCF plays host to Tulane on Saturday with a set evening (evening?) time of 5 p.m. We’ll see if they can close out the year with a bowl invitation and gain added practice time for Scott Frost and his high octane offense.
6) Florida International, 3-6, lost to Middle Tennessee 42-35
The “new coaching” bump seems to have all but worn off at FIU as the Panthers have lost their last two contests. This time FIU fell behind in the first quarter 21-0, fought back to tie the game at 35 and as time ran down in the fourth quarter FIU QB Alex McGough threw a game sealing pick six with one and a half minutes left. It’s a heart breaking outcome for a team that posted a staggering 500+ yards on offense but also gave up about 470 yards as well to the Blue Raiders.
Next weekend FIU goes on the road to Western Kentucky in what could also be another shoot out. If FIU could somehow or someway get to a bowl game, Interim Coach Ron Cooper should get tons of praise for the job he did. Possibly even remove the interim tag altogether?
7) Florida Atlantic, 1-7, lost to Western Kentucky 52-3
This game was never really close. WKU jumped out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back. This was almost a glorified scrimmage for the Hilltoppers as three different players threw a pass and 9 different players made a rush attempt. In the end WKU racked up a grand total of 661 yards of offense and limited FAU to just 221. You really have to wonder if Charlie Partridge has lost this team. These last few games haven’t been close. Will he make it to year 4? We’ll have to see what happens once the season mercifully comes to an end after Thanksgiving.
What do you think? Will there be two coaching vacancies at the end of the year? Post below!