Just like the Canes have had a few weeks off, the Sunshine Seven has had to take a breather to sort out the movers and shakers in the State. As the Canes were idle the last two weeks other programs are about to start on their fourth game! Let’s get to the teams around the state and see how they’re doing!
USF, 3-0 (0-0)
Irma impacted the Bulls by having them move around quite a few games on their schedule. UCONN had to be moved from their week 3 date to later on in the season and a few other games had to be shifted around as well because of logistics of fitting in conference play. Long story short, USF doesn’t have to take on the UMASS Minutemen later on in the season.
Last weekend the Bulls took on Illinois at home to close out their out of conference play and handled them with ease. Through the first three games of the year, Quinton Flowers, the Bulls all-world quarterback, has accounted for almost 1,100 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns. After finishing off last year in style it looks like he could easily be a top 10 nominee for the Heisman at the end of the year.
FSU, 0-1 (0-0)
Just like Miami, FSU has had an out of conference game cancelled and then their tilt with Miami moved to October 7th. With that said, they’re sitting at one game played this year and after losing their starting quarterback in week 1 are looking to break in replacement James Blackman who’s just a freshman. The Noles finally get back on the field this weekend when they take on conference foe NC State at 12 in the afternoon. With the long layoff, new faces in important spots and the dreaded noon kickoff the Noles maybe on upset alert.
Miami, 1-0, (0-0)
Even after the storm has passed the area, Miami is still in a “wait and see” mode to get back on campus and start classes. However, Coach Richt, with the help of his staff and others were able to organize practices off campus, specifically in Orlando. The Canes are getting ready for their next opponent who is the Toledo Rockets but one has to wonder “how rusty” the Canes are after not practicing for almost two weeks straight. Toledo will pose a challenge with their quick paced offense that likes to throw the ball sideline to sideline. Canes nation will find out first if the players’ endurance is still in “football” shape and second if the cornerbacks can take a step forward in their play when compared to the first week against Bethune-Cookman which was an average performance at best.
Florida, 1-1 (1-0)
The Gators are 1-1 after getting thumped by Michigan in the first week 33-17 and then beating the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday thanks in large part to a hail mary at the end of the contest to win 26-20. There’s one silver lining besides pulling out the much needed win for Coach McElwain and his staff, it’s that they probably have settled on their quarterback of the future in freshman Felipe Franks. One has to wonder though.. Is Gator nation starting to turn on McElwain and his starting-and-stopping offense? If the Gators do win the weak SEC East Division again and then face off against Bama for the conference title.. Is another blowout acceptable? Now, we’re a long way from that decision point but it’s something worth noting.
UCF, 1-0 (0-0)
Similar to Miami and FSU, UCF has had the last two weeks or so off as well. Also like USF, they had to juggle around their mid-season and late season schedule to fit in a conference opponent that had to be moved due to the two week layoff (Memphis). We’ll have to see how the Knights come out after the off time. They crushed FIU in the first weekend sleight of games so we’ll have to see how they can do against a more talent laden opponent; this weekend that will be the Maryland Terrapins. If Coach Frost and his offense can sling the pig skin around like they did in week one, this team may start to turn some heads in the national media.
FAU, 1-2 (0-0)
Unlike the other programs around the state, the FAU Owls kept their docket of games unchanged and played their out of conference opponents. Over the last two weeks they played up in Wisconsin and held their own relatively well in a losing effort (31-14) and then stomped Bethune-Cookman to the tune of 45-0. The Owls play their last out of conference opponent this weekend up in Buffalo, New York and then it will be on to conference play. So far I’ve liked what I’ve seen from FAU, there’s more fight and effort being shown. We’ll have to see if they can get four or more wins this year. If they can surpass that mark, I think the first season in the Kiffin era can be labeled a success.
FIU, 1-1 (0-0)
As noted above, FIU in their first contest got wrecked by UCF. They then played against Alcorn State in what should have been an easy victory but instead turned into a skin of their teeth victory (17-10). Interestingly though, FIU cancelled the game last weekend with Indiana and instead of rescheduling the Hoosiers they picked up another game at the end of the year with a new opponent, UMASS.
Head Coach Butch Davis has his work cut out for him in this rebuild. The UCF loss was disappointing more because of how badly they lost but the loss wasn’t surprising in the end. Barely beating Alcorn State is a more worrying event in my opinion. This could very well be a one or two win team by the end of the year.
These last few weeks for all the Sunshine Seven has been less about football and more about juggling their schedules and fixing logistics for the future. Hopefully in the coming weeks we can start talking more about crazy finishes and less about cancelling of contests.