You could make a strong argument that week 8 was the worst week of the season for Florida’s FBS teams.
Highlighted by Miami’s 28-21 loss to Georgia Tech as nearly as a three-touchdown favorite, all of the state’s FBS teams underachieved in some manner last weekend.
- Miami, Florida State and Florida Atlantic all lost games as favorites.
- South Florida lost a conference game by 32 points and did not score a touchdown.
- Florida needed one of its best fourth quarters of the season to come-from-behind to beat South Carolina.
- Neither UCF nor FIU came close to covering the spread in their wins against overmatched teams.
This could be a great bounce back week for state teams if they are able to take care of business as favorites. Only Miami is not considered a favorite heading into games this weekend despite Florida State being the only team playing at home.
#1. Florida Gators (7-1, No.7 in AP Poll)
Week 8 Result: Florida 38, South Carolina 27
Next Game: Saturday 11/2, vs. Georgia, 3:30pm (in Jacksonville)
Bovada Line: N/A
Week 8 Positives: Kyle Trask threw four touchdown passes for the Gators, three in the fourth quarter, to push them to victory. Florida scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth to turn a 20-17 deficit into a 38-20 lead. The Gators held the Gamecocks to a combined 7-for-20 on third and fourth down conversions.
Week 8 Negatives: Florida is still struggling to run the ball consistently. Dameon Pierce busted a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for the Gators but other than that, UF managed just 2.8 yards per carry. The Gators also allowed 217 rushing yards to South Carolina and only converted five of their 14 third down attempts.
Where Things Stand: Florida needed this going into their bye week after getting beat by LSU the week prior. The Gators now get a week off to prepare for a Georgia team that is struggling on offense as of late.
#2. Central Florida Knights (5-2)
Week 8 Result: Central Florida 41, East Carolina 28.
Next Game: Saturday 10/26, at Temple, 7pm
Bovada Line: UCF -10.5
Week 8 Positives: The Knights rolled up 611 yards of total offense, including quarterback Dillon Gabriel passing for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Gabriel Davis continued his monster season as he finished with 164 receiving yards and two touchdowns. UCF never trailed in this game and led 35-6 at halftime.
Week 8 Negatives: UCF’s performance in the second half was not as impressive as the first as the Knights were outscored 22-6 by lowly ECU. ECU also finished the game with 483 yards of total offense, a number that UCF should not be proud of giving up to an opponent of that caliber.
Where Things Stand: UCF has not looked “at its best” against a quality opponent since its September 14 win over Stanford, and in even that game the Knights were outscored 20-7 in the second half. A win over Temple this week would put UCF in second place of its division by itself but the Knights still need Cincinnati to lose two conference games to qualify for the AAC title game.
#3. Florida State Seminoles (3-4)
Week 8 Result: Wake Forest 22, Florida State 20.
Next Game: Saturday 10/26, vs. Syracuse, 3:30pm
Bovada Line: FSU -10
Week 8 Positives: Cam Akers rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown for Florida State. The Seminoles held Wake Forest to red zone field goal attempts four times in the first half to keep themselves in the game. They did this largely by holding the Demon Deacons to a 6-for-19 third down conversion rate.
Week 8 Negatives: FSU’s kicking issues continued as Ricky Aguayo missed the go-ahead field goal wide left with 2:13 to play. FSU was penalized eight times for 69 yards and allowed 308 passing yards to Wake Forest backup quarterback Sam Hartman.
Where Things Stand: The Seminoles had plenty of opportunities to win this game but just failed to. Willie Taggart falls to 8-11 in his tenure at Florida State and the impatience level of fans is reaching an all-time high. Florida State really needs to beat Syracuse this weekend to get back to .500. Despite the loss, the Seminoles move up in this poll because of disappointing losses by Miami and FAU.
#4. Miami Hurricanes (3-4)
Week 8 Result: Georgia Tech 28, Miami 21.
Next Game: Saturday 10/26, at Pittsburgh, Noon
Bovada Line: Miami +5.5
Week 8 Positives: Cam’ron Harris rushed for 136 in relief of the injured DeeJay Dallas for Miami. N’kosi Perry passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another and Miami was only penalized four times for 25 yards.
Week 8 Negatives: The Hurricanes were 0-for-3 on field goals attempted by two different kickers in an overtime loss. Miami allowed Georgia Tech to score a touchdown on special teams and on defense. The Hurricanes struggled to wrap up and finish tackles defensively and allowed lowly Georgia Tech to rush for 207 yards as a team.
Where Things Stand: Things are very bad for Miami right now. Manny Diaz is not appropriately using Miami’s assortment of talent on either side of the ball to win ACC games. Miami needs some leadership to step up and ensure that things don’t spiral out of control this week against Pittsburgh.
#5. Florida Atlantic Owls (4-3)
Week 8 Result: Marshall 36, Florida Atlantic 31.
Next Game: Saturday 10/26, at Old Dominion, 3:30pm
Bovada Line: FAU -13.5
Week 8 Positives: Quarterback Chris Robison passed for 362 yards for the Owls in the loss. He also rushed for two touchdowns. DeAngelo Antoine had seven receptions for 111 yards and the Owls probably played well enough offensively to win the game.
Week 8 Negatives: Robison was sacked seven times and the Owls struggled to run the ball against Marshall as they compiled just 57 yards as a team. The Owl defense gave up 460 yards of total offense, including a late touchdown drive that allowed Marshall to take a lead it would never rescind with less than a minute to play.
Where Things Stand: This loss makes things much more difficult for FAU in its attempt to get to the Conference USA championship game. FAU will definitely need to win this week against ODU and next week against Western Kentucky, both on the road, to have a chance. The Owls would have jumped Florida State and Miami in this poll with a win over Marshall.
#6. Florida International Panthers (4-3)
Week 8 Result: Florida International 32, Texas El-Paso 17
Next Game: Saturday 10/26, at Middle Tennessee State, 3:30pm
Bovada Line: FIU -2.5
Week 8 Positives: The Panthers were very efficient in this win but not overly impressive. FIU did not turn the ball over or get sacked and compiled 335 yards of total offense. Jose Borregales kicked three field goals and three extra points while Anthony Jones and Napoleon Maxwell each had a rushing touchdown.
Week 8 Negatives: Against a team of UTEP’s caliber, it was reasonable to expect more out of the FIU offense and quarterback James Morgan. Morgan passed for 150 yards and a touchdown. The Panther defense allowed UTEP to convert all three fourth down attempts but kept the Miners under 300 yards of total offense as a team.
Where Things Stand: The victory was the third straight for FIU and Butch Davis has to feel much better sitting at 4-3 than he did at 1-3 a few weeks ago. FIU will likely be an underdog in three games remaining on its schedule (Florida Atlantic, Miami and Marshall) so it will be difficult for the Panthers to win eight games this season.
#7. South Florida Bulls (3-4)
Week 8 Result: Navy 35, South Florida 3
Next Game: Saturday 10/26, at East Carolina, 3:45pm
Bovada Line: USF -2
Week 8 Positives: Jordan Cronkrite rushed for 76 yards for the Bulls. That is about the extent of the positives for USF is in this one.
Week 8 Negatives: The Bulls really could not stop Navy from doing what Navy does best: running the ball. The Midshipmen rushed for 434 yards as a team, including 188 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Malcolm Perry. USF also allowed five sacks and only converted seven times combined on third and fourth down.
Where Things Stand: Looking at USF’s schedule to conclude the season, most would say that ECU presents the best opportunity to win for the Bulls. Charlie Strong badly needs a win this week to get back to 4-4 and give his team a chance at making a bowl game. Making a bowl game would involve beating two of Temple, Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF if the Bulls can win at ECU this week.