How did the Sunshine Seven do this week? Check out the breakdown below:
1) Florida State, 6-3, beat NC State 24-20
After going up and down the field with Clemson last weekend the Noles again came out sluggish against an inferior opponent the following week, this time it was against the NC State Wolfpack. The Noles were in a familiar place at halftime, down 13-10 which wasn’t cause for alarm. However, with three minutes left in the third quarter the Noles gave up yet another touchdown and “Nole Nation” started to get restless. However, right at the end of the third quarter and then later in the fourth the Noles scored to two touchdowns to take the decisive 24-20 lead and the Wolfpack couldn’t answer. Dalvin Cook had a noticeably quiet day as he was limited to just 65 yards and one touchdown. Francois was the man on the spot and delivered through the air with 330 yards and one touchdown.
The Noles play at home against the Boston College Eagles next weekend (Friday at 7:30 on ESPN 2) in what should be a rather easy contest. BC has a great defense but a putrid offense. Even if the Noles struggle to score points they should light up the scoreboard enough to put BC away by late in the third quarter if not earlier in the contest.
2) Florida, 6-2, lost to Arkansas 31-10
The Gators have been able to ride high through their first 2 months of the season with one blemish on their record. In week 10 the Gators had to travel and play the Arkansas Razorbacks who at 5-3 didn’t have a tremendous win/loss record but play in the rough and tumble SEC Western Division. The Gators played their first “quality” opponent on the season in my opinion and got manhandled from the get go. The Razorbacks play a pro-style run heavy scheme that relies on beefy offensive linemen to push the opponent around and the Razorbacks simply did that all four quarters against the helpless Gators to the tune of 223 yards on the ground to pair with two touchdowns. The Gators were down from the get go and had to revert into a passing attack mode for all four quarters and simply don’t have the personnel (i.e a quarterback) that can play from behind. Luke Del Rio finished yet again with a paltry 229 yards and two interceptions on 37 pass attempts.
Looking ahead to next weekend the Gators play a familiar foe, South Carolina and their new head coach Will Muschamp. Coach Muschamp is always fired up come game time but there may be a little extra on the line as he plays his former employer.
3) South Florida, 7-2, bye week
The Bulls had the week off to rest up and focus on their next three opponents.
The Bulls take the field in Memphis Saturday night at 7 p.m. where they look to keep their winning ways rolling. Unfortunately, due to the loss against Temple a few weeks ago the Bulls are now looking up to the Owls in the standings so they’ll need to keep winning to keep pressure on the newly crowned leader of the division.
4) Miami, 5-4, beat Pittsburgh 51-28
I’ll give Mark Richt credit where it’s due: he constantly is tinkering with his offensive philosophy to hopefully make positive changes. That couldn’t be said for the previous regime who could best be characterized as “my way or the high way” types. Against the Pittsburgh Panthers Miami all but abandoned the four and five pass catcher formations and decided to stick to more three man routes with max protection from running backs and tight ends. The Miami offensive line has simply lost confidence in themselves and with the coaching staff to do their jobs on their own so Richt has now started to game plan around their inefficiencies. With the more conservative approach, at least for one week, it looks like Miami’s offense is more robust. Kaaya had more time to scan the field and thus put up “Brad Kaaya” type numbers of 356 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air and even added another with a goal line quarterback sneak.
We’ll see if the changes in formations as well as blocking concepts holds against the lowly Virginia Cavaliers up in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
5) Central Florida, 5-4, beat Tulane 37-6
I have to applaud first year head coach Scott Frost and what he’s doing in Orlando. He’s taken a team that finished 0-12 last season and has them on the cusp of going to a bowl game. These aren’t fluky wins either. His team plays a fast paced spread offense that can put up points really fast and his defense plays opportunistic whenever the situation presents itself. Against Tulane, UCF had five takeaways and cashed in to the tune of a 37-6 beat down.
Next up on the schedule for the Knights is a reeling Cincinnati Bearcats team that is ripe for the taking. If Scott Frost and his squad can sneak by embattled coach Tommy Tuberville and pull out a victory then the Knights can go bowling. We’ll see if they can pull it off.
6) Florida International, 3-7, lost to Western Kentucky 49-21
Ahhh, it looks like the “new coaching magic” has worn off. After replacing head coach Ron Turner with interim Ron Cooper FIU reeled off three victories in a row. That was three weeks ago though. Since then they’ve face planted and have lost three straight. The most recent loss came last weekend against the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky. This contest was over at halftime as the Hiltoppers were up 35-7 going into intermission.
Some intriguing news broke early this week by USA Today columnist Dan Wolken that speculates former Miami Hurricanes head coach Butch Davis maybe the “only” candidate at this time that the FIU Athletic department is targeting at this time for the permanent head coaching title moving forward. If this is the case Davis will have his work cut out for him as the Panthers have been ranked at the bottom of division one for the last decade.
7) Florida Atlantic, 2-7, beat Rice 42-25
What happens when two equally terrible teams meet? Well, in college football, one team will win and another team will lose, no ties like in the pro’s. On this day FAU got their first win in the last eight tries, a small solace for coach Charlie Partridge and his Owls. This game saw both the offensive passing attack and ground game for FAU dominate as both went for over 300 yards. Besides a sweet victory, they may now have settled on their starting quarterback in upper classman Jason Driskel. Driskel finished with 317 yards passing and also tallied two touchdowns in the contest. More impressively, Devin “Motor” Singletary reeled off an impressive 252 yards and three touchdowns on just 23 carries.
Looking ahead to next weekend, FAU takes on a lowly UTEP at home. If they can get another win next week maybe the Owls can say they have “momentum” heading into 2017. At this point FAU will take whatever they can get when it comes to their 2016 season.
What do you guys think about the Sunshine Seven this week? Leave your comments below!