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Sunshine Seven Week 3: Canes and Bulls Rising

Miami v Appalachian State Photo by Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

This week the Sunshine Seven saw lots of movement in the rankings. Let’s get to it to see who rose and who fell!

1) Miami, 3-0, victory over App State 45-10

As we’ve reported over the last few days, Miami steam rolled the over hyped and psyched out App State Mountaineers. The announcers made a few comments on it and I have to agree, it looked like APP State simply got too over hyped for this game and simply wasn’t ready to properly prepare for the execution that was needed to beat a team with the skill set of Miami. The Mountaineers weren’t lined up fast enough, didn’t recognize repeated plays by Miami and even didn’t substitute players properly which ended in penalties for too many men on the field. With that said, on the opposite side of the field, Coach Richt had Miami prepared, out schemed his opponent and then beat them down with talent. Miami has a bye week which comes at a beneficial time as they can now rest up and possibly get a few players back or have players get healthier that had been banged up over the first month of the season.

2) USF, 3-0, victory over Syracuse 45-20

This contest with Syracuse was all about scoring runs. USF went down in the first quarter 17-0. This was in large part due to two scoring drives through the air capped off by a 24-yard touchdown pass and then a busted coverage 47-yard bomb. However, the second quarter and then the rest of the game for that matter, was all Bulls. Quinton “Wanky” Flowers led an average passing attack (wasn’t hitting on all cylinders) and a dominant running game to victory by scoring 28 straight enroute to a 45-20 victor. Even though the overall offense wasn’t as gaudy as previously seen (220 passing yards and 234 yards on the ground) the overall balance has to be encouraging. Up next the Bulls play host to FSU who just got pummeled by a dominant Louisville squad (more on that later!). Wanky Flowers isn’t Lamar Jackson, however, his skillset is the same. He’s a scrambling quarterback who can beat you with both his legs or his arm. Coupled with the fact that this game is a home contest for the Bulls, FSU better be ready for a fight come Saturday at noon eastern.

3) Florida, 3-0, victory over North Texas 32-0

The simple reason for why the Bulls jumped the Gators in the ranking is because they’ve been playing better. The Gators have played two low level 1A teams in UMASS and North Texas and have won by a combined score of only 56-7. That’s not a bad spread, if it were one game. In their other contest they played a Kentucky team that maybe on the brink of firing their coach at the end of the season due to poor performances on the grid iron for the last few seasons. Anyways, yes Florida won last week but the biggest takeaway is that their starting walk-on quarterback, Luke Del Rio got laid up on a low hit (dirty hit?) to his knee. In steps transfer Austin Appleby to QB 1 against Tennessee next weekend in what could be a great coaching snapshot between the two programs. McElwain has been duct taping and paper clipping his offensive unit together the last two seasons to get results for the Gators and he’s been relatively successful. Butch Jones.. He has building blocks (i.e the 8 pillars of Al Golden). Can Florida run the winning streak over Tennessee to 12? We’ll have to see at 3:30 Saturday.

4) FSU, 2-1, lost to Louisville 63-20

Remember when you played NCAA on your PlayStation or Xbox and you would turn the difficulty setting down to like.. freshmen level. Well, that’s what Louisville is treating all their opponents like so far through the first three weeks of the season. FSU is a solid team who the last two years since Jameis Winston has graduated have lived with being down a touchdown or two at the half and then would inexplicably storm back to win in the end. Against Louisville this simply didn’t happen. They were down at half 35-10 and went on to get trounced, to the tune of 63-20. The fact of the matter is they’re a good team, probably top 15 to 25 in the country but reloading takes time. A team can’t be elite every season, couple with the fact that they’ve had tons of players go pro the last few seasons and it starts to wear on a program (not a bad problem to have). Next week, as mentioned above, FSU goes on the road and plays a scalding hot USF team. After last week FSU can come out in one of two ways mentally on Saturday. First, they can be really motivated and want to show the country they’re not as bad as Louisville made them out to be. The second possible outcome could be that they are what they are. A team with a redshirt freshman at quarterback and a defense that can be gashed up the seams and in the running game for big plays.

5) UCF, 1-2, lost to Maryland 30-24

When I started this series out a few weeks ago UCF was very much in a “Year 0” scenario. This means that new Head Coach Scott Frost and his team of assistants really weren’t going to have expectations heading into this season. They could field whatever team they wanted as long as they recruited well to get “their players” for the future. After week one it looked like Frost may have a pleasantly competitive season with a high paced running game and efficient passing attack. However, last week they got trounced by Michigan and one thing I didn’t report after the game was that they lost their senior quarterback, Justin Holman. Frost turned to freshman McKenzie Milton this week against Maryland and lost in excruciating fashion: a touchdown in double overtime. Looking at this weeks box score you see “year zero” written everywhere. The leading passer was a freshman, the leading rusher was freshman Jawon Hamilton (Canes recruitniks, remember that name?) and the leading receiving target was sophomore TreQuan Smith. Luckily things get a little easier for UCF as they play at listless FIU on Saturday. It could be a tossup but I’d like to think Scott Frost can coach up his players to outscore the Golden Panthers. “I’d like to think” being the key phrase there..

6) FAU, 1-2, lost to Kansas State 63-7

Each year I see FAU and FIU and I think “this is the year… This is the year they’re going to be competitive.” Each year I’m saddened.

FAU went into The Little Apple and got trounced, it wasn’t competitive. Kansas State simply could have run the ball all game and beaten FAU by 30 (probably). In the end they rushed for 332 yards (ouch) and seven touchdowns (woof). There may be a minor quarterback controversy in Boca Raton as backup Daniel Parr came into the game late and completed a few passes. Charlie Partridge has dismissed the notion to the media this week but we’ll have to see over the next few weeks. The Owls play Ball State next weekend at 6 p.m.

7) FIU, 0-3, lost to UMASS 21-13

Ron Turner and his FIU Golden Panthers went up to play against Mark Whipple and his UMASS Minutemen (yes you read that right, Mark Whipple). UMASS was more of “FIU’s talent level” but the Golden Panthers couldn’t pull out a win on the road. They had two opportunities late in the fourth quarter. On the first attempt to pull the game closer with three minutes left the FIU kicker missed a 31-yard field. FIU even got the ball back for one final drive but turned the ball over on downs at mid field. Ron Turner and his squad play against UCF next. Will they put up a fight against the Knights? We’ll have to see what happens next Saturday.

Would you change any of the rankings around? Was I too harsh on FSU? Too “bullish” on USF? Leave a comment below with you thoughts!