The first weekend of college football came and went. How did the teams from the Sunshine State fair? Check out the breakdowns below:
1) Florida State (1-0)
The Noles took on a top 15 team in Ole Miss in their first week and fared like many teams do without the proper tune up opponent: sluggish and sloppy. In the first half FSU got off to a slow start with killer penalties stalling out drives and overall ineffective quarterback play. To end the half, the Noles fell behind 28-13 to the Rebels. In the third quarter though FSU came out gunning with their freshman quarterback Deondre Francois as well as an opportunistic defense that picked off Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly three times that led to 13 points in FSU’s favor. Overall in the third quarter the Noles scored 23 points and went on to salt the game away to the tune of 45-34. Up next FSU get a breather in FCS opponent Charleston Southern.
2) Miami (1-0)
In Mark Richt’s debut as the Canes Head Coach he checked off all the boxes needed to impress an already infatuated fan base. The Canes ran the ball for 350+ yards, Kaaya aired the ball out on his way to four touchdowns and sitting much of the second half and the defense played dominant football for much of the game. Up next the Canes have a slightly tougher opponent in the FAU Owls so we’ll see how they fair against a division one team as compared to a low level FCS program.
3) Florida (1-0)
You know when you’re watching your football team and their playing inferior competition and struggling and you start to worry? Your team is winning but they’re just not playing well. You know that going forward if your team doesn’t pick up the pace of their play they’ll get squashed moving forward on the schedule? That has to be the feeling of the Florida Gators fan base right now. Last weekend Coach Jim McElwain and his newly minted offense was supposed to take the field and handily beat lowly UMASS and well… went into the fourth quarter with only a 10-7 lead. Thanks to a stifling defense and one long passing play that resulted in a score, the Gators ended up winning the contest 24-7. Up next for Florida is one of their rivals in the SEC, Kentucky. The Wildcats should be a great litmus test to see how far the Gators have come this offseason.
4) South Florida (1-0)
The Bulls took the field on Saturday and almost could have gotten mistaken for Oregon due to their uniform selection. Their searing green and yellow combination could have burned holes through my eyes but I digress... Besides looking like Oregon they also played like Oregon. Against FCS level opponent Towson, USF rolled up a score of 56-20 and this game was practically over by halftime. The Bulls offense kept its rhythm from the end of last season going and trampled out 440 yards of total offense and also showed a lethal touch to spread out the pain to their opponent, seven different players scored touchdowns on offense. Their next opponent will trend up in toughness, they take on Northern Illinois.
5) Central Florida (1-0)
Speaking of “playing like Oregon” and “being over by half time” the Knights had similar results as the Bulls did in their home opener against South Carolina State. The whole “playing like Oregon” phrase could be more apt to UCF however as their new coach was actually the offensive coordinator for the Ducks last season. Everyone on offense got involved in this affair. Three different players attempted a pass, eight (8!!) different players toted the rock on the ground in the affair. Next week UCF will get a true test when they head to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the Wolverines. If UCF shows well next Saturday, then my eye brows will be raised.
6) Florida Atlantic (1-0)
Similar to how Florida fans must be feeling, FAU struggled against inferior competition (Southern Illinois) but in this case they barely pulled out the victory, 38-30. This game was all about busted assignments by SIU in both the running game and the passing game. Overall, SIU had more yardage at the end of the game at 530 totals yards compared to FAU’s 457 but FAU scored on long runs of 48 and 37 yards. Driskel also got a touchdown through the air that ended up going for 85 yards that helped put FAU on top at 21-17 in the second quarter. Will those fortuitous plays happen next week against the Canes? We’ll have to see. FAU will need to shore up their defense though because if Brad Kaaya and Head Coach Mark Richt tally 530+ yards on offense, FAU probably won’t be able to keep up in the scoring department.
7) Florida International (0-1)
I’ve been writing these breakdowns going on my fourth year now and I’ve got to say, I’m starting to really feel bad for Run Turner and his Panthers. FIU was holding on by its finger nails against Indiana into the third quarter and then it all came unraveled. FIU was up 13-12 heading into the 4th and gave up 22 straight points to lose the game 34-13. The scoring romp was topped off by a failed screen pass that sailed too high for the FIU running back and was returned for a touchdown by an Indiana defender. FIU catches no breaks as they play yet another power 5 team at home, this time the University of Maryland. Although the Terps are under new management in Head Coach DJ Durkin they still have the edge when it comes to overall talent. It’ll probably be another tough sledding game for FIU.
So there you have it? Anything to add? Am I too much of a “homer” for moving Miami up? Any others need to change rank? Post your comments below!