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Sunshine Seven Week 4: FIU Craters

Our weekly ranking of the FBS teams in Florida sees a local program hit rock bottom.

Central Florida v Florida International Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Some teams stepped on the field and showed they deserved to move up in the rankings… A few teams couldn’t keep leads heading into the fourth quarter (you know who I’m talking about!). How did each team do? Check out below:

1) Miami: 3-0, bye week

The Canes went up against the always enjoyable bye week and got a “mental victory.” In all seriousness though, Miami took the break for granted and rested up. Various reports are saying Adrian Colbert has returned to practice and the starting corner may be a possible game day decision (as of Wednesday anyways) for the game in Atlanta against the Yellow Jackets. We’ll see if Miami can take the right steps in October to rise in the polls when they play against their first ACC opponent in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.

2) FSU: 3-1, victory over USF 55-35

Last week I noted FSU probably was going to come into this game mentally one of two ways: mentally lethargic or extremely fired up. Per the halftime interview by Jimbo Fisher, it was readily apparent that mentally FSU was the latter option. Yes, FSU’s defense is a tinder box ready to go up in flames at any given moment but their offense is just as flammable when it comes to lighting up the scoreboard as well. Dalvin Cook looked like his 2015 self by rushing for almost 200 yards heading into halftime. Francois has looked shaky at times leading the offense for the Noles but the lineup shuffling along the offensive line after last week’s demolition to Louisville seems to have provided him more time in the pocket, at least for one week. Next week the Noles play another high octane offense at home in opponent North Carolina. You have to wonder if the offensive scoring will have to be even further ratcheted up Saturday to keep pace with the aerial attack employed by the Tarheels.

3) Florida: 3-1, lost to Tennessee 38-28

Unfortunately, the best term to use to describe last week’s rivalry game against the Volunteers has to be “implosion.” At the end of the first half Florida was smashing Tennessee 21-3 and some in the crowd in Knoxville actually started leaving for their tailgate due to having so little faith in their embattled Head Coach Butch Jones and his players’ ability to comeback from the deficit. Well, the second half was all Volunteers as they dug themselves out of the hole they put themselves in and then ran passed the Gators to the tune of 38-28. The plays that broke the game open were both long passing plays of 42 yards and 67 yards each for a touchdown against a normally lockdown secondary. Coach McElwain has to get his squad refocused as they head into the meat of their SEC schedule. Although they took a big hit last weekend in terms of possibly getting to the Conference Championship game in the future the gators have to keep grinding and hope Tennessee slips up twice later on down the road. Next up Florida plays at Vanderbilt which could be a possible “look ahead game.” We’ll see if the Gators are interested come Saturday at noon.

4) USF: 3-1, lost to FSU 55-35

It looked good through the first six or so minutes of the game for the Bulls. They were running and passing their way up and down the field on a beleaguered Seminoles defense. However, the Seminoles were doing the same thing to the Bulls defense as well and in the end USF couldn’t keep pace and fell behind at halftime to the tune of 38-14 and FSU never looked back. The fact of the matter was even though Coach Taggert and his squad may be vastly improved over the last season or so due to player development, the program as a whole may be a year or so away from being competitive with the blue chip teams in the power 5 conferences. The Bulls have to regroup as they go away to play a tough Cincinnati team who could very well extend the losing streak to two games if the Bulls haven’t gotten over their recent setback. This week will be a telling story for if Coach Taggert can get his players refocused after a deflating home loss to the instate rival Noles.

5) UCF: 2-2, victory over FIU 53-14

Ahhh.. What to say here… This game was never really close. UCF treated FIU like they were a 1AA team and made quick work of the Golden Panthers. By halftime it was a laugher at 32-7. One notable take away though was that starting freshman quarterback McKenzie Milton got injured and did not return to the game. Now, from what I’ve seen, he could have returned if he was needed but obviously this game was decided early so senior Nick Patti finished out the contest in the second half. UCF travels to ECU this weekend to play a cold-again-hot-again Pirates team. If UCF can go bowling this season it should be seen as a tremendous accomplishment in Scott Frost’s first season at the helm.

6) FAU: 1-3, lost to Ball Sate 31-27

Man.. FAU does it every season. They find new ways to lose games. It’s always FAU too. Not FIU or USF or UCF but just FAU. The FAU offense was clicking as they racked up 450 yards of offense and to put the game away in the fourth quarter they needed to convert on a fourth and one to essentially ice the game in Ball State territory. FAU ran the ball up the gut hoping to get the final yard which would be the nail in the coffin for Ball State and… they came up short. Ball State then marched up the field, scored a touchdown with 1:47 left in the contest and the game was over, 31-27. One notable point to make is that Jason Driskel played the entire game at quarterback for the Owls so there doesn’t seem to be a controversy there. FAU plays in the “Shula Bowl” (i.e the pillow fight) against FIU next week. Dozens will be in attendance.

7) FIU, 0-4 lost to UCF 53-14

Well, you may have heard that LSU fired their coach Les Miles on Sunday due to the loss on Saturday night to Auburn. What you may not have realized though was that FIU was actually the first team in 1A to get the termination train started when they fired their head coach Ron Turner after yet another dud performance against UCF sealed his fate. The team was ineffective in both the run and the pass on offense and going against a first year head coach simply got out maneuvered on the field. FIU as a sports program is a mess with their AD stating a plan to vacate his position in the next few seasons. Any coach that takes the position is in effect a “lame duck” coach as they wouldn’t have been selected by the new person. A few rumblings about candidates include many coaches with local ties to the Miami area. The person I think would be a great fit would be Butch Davis. He’s worked with “less” before and been successful. If he could make FIU a competitive program he could be memorialized as a coaching legend in my opinion. Also, one more note: FIU, YOU STAY AWAY FROM MANNY DIAZ. HE’S MY DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR AND YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM. US MIAMI FANS HAVE GONE THROUGH HELL THE LAST 5 YEARS AND WE GET OUR FIRST AWESOME DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM. GO AWAY.

What do you all think of the rankings? Move anyone around? Who do you think FIU will pick (or kidnap) to be the next head coach?