Welcome to the 2019 college football season in the state of Florida.
This weekly power ranking will examine how the seven FBS programs in the state shake out by taking things like record, national poll rankings, strength of conference/schedule and other metrics into consideration.
Since college football does not officially start until the big game between Miami and Florida in Orlando this weekend, let’s take a look at where these programs stack up heading into the season in our preseason rankings.
#1. Florida Gators
Outlook: Number 1 is obvious heading into this season after the 2018 campaign Florida had and what the Gators have returning. Florida is ranked No.8 in the country in the AP and Coaches Polls while no other program in the state lands in the top 15 of either poll. The Gators were 10-3 during the 2018 season and are coming off a 41-15 thrashing of a depleted Michigan team in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl last December.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 9. This number is a direct reflection of Florida’s difficult schedule as the Gators play LSU on the road, Georgia and Miami on a neutral field and conclude the season with Florida State at home. That is in addition to their typical SEC East opponents plus hosting Auburn in an SEC West crossover game. There are plenty of opportunities for the Gators to slip up this season.
Season Opener: Saturday 8/24, vs. Miami, Orlando
#2. Miami Hurricanes
Outlook: The Hurricanes are coming off a disappointing 7-6 campaign during the 2018 season that saw head coach Mark Richt step down and Manny Diaz take over the program. Diaz has injected new life into The New Miami through the transfer portal and now through naming redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams the starter for the season opener against Florida. Miami must improve on special teams and offense while maintaining its defensive prowess to keep this lofty ranking throughout the season.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 8.5. This should be an attainable number for Miami as the Hurricanes could be favored in every game besides Florida this season. Where Miami’s win total ultimately lands this season will depend largely on Williams’ ability to command the offense and Miami’s ability to better flip field position on special teams.
Season Opener: Saturday 8/24, vs. Florida, Orlando
#3. Central Florida Knights
Outlook: How is it that a team that has gone 25-1 over the past two seasons and is ranked No.17 in the AP and Coaches Polls is ranked No.3 in this poll? It’s tough to give UCF credit for past accomplishments when they were garnered with a signal caller who likely won’t play this season. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton suffered a devastating leg injury in a 2018 win over USF and will likely medically redshirt this season and try to return in 2020. If With Notre Dame graduate transfer Brandon Wimbush likely taking over for Milton, the Knights have some unanswered questions on offense for the first time in quite a while. If UCF’s offense isn’t as potent, it may further expose a defense that was ranked No. 95 of 129 in total defense in 2018, a defense led by former Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 9. UCF will also be playing the toughest schedule it has played over the past three seasons. After opening with Florida A&M, UCF plays at Florida Atlantic, home against Stanford and on the road against Pittsburgh before starting AAC play. Navigating that stretch without a loss will be difficult for the Knights but if they do so, they will likely hit the over on their win total. Other key games include a Friday night trip to conference rival Cincinnati in early October, a home game against Houston in early November and a home “War on I-4” game with USF on Thanksgiving weekend.
Season Opener: Thursday 8/29, vs. Florida A&M
#4. Florida State Seminoles
Outlook: The Seminoles finished the 2018 season 5-7 and saw their 36-year consecutive bowl streak snapped after Florida handed them their seventh loss of the season with a 41-14 beating in late November. Not the debut season new coach Willie Taggart was looking for. Putrid offensive line play was a huge contributing factor for the demise of the 2018 Seminoles and lots of questions still remain with unit for the 2019 Seminoles. Florida State will likely go as far as its offensive line—who lost graduate transfer Landon Dickerson to Alabama this offseason—can take it this season.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 7.5. This number recently just climbed .5 from 7 so both the oddsmakers and gamblers are expecting Florida State to improve some during 2019. The Seminoles have tough non-conference games away from Doak Campbell Stadium against Boise State and Florida and have to play Virginia (on the road) and Miami (at home), the teams voted one and two in the ACC Coastal preseason poll. The Seminoles also will have to play their ACC Atlantic schedule, which of course includes a trip to Clemson to play the defending national champion. Getting to eight wins won’t be easy for Florida State this season.
Season Opener: Saturday 8/31, vs. Boise State, Jacksonville
#5. South Florida Bulls
Outlook: USF started the 2018 season 7-0 only to lose its next six games and finish 7-6 after a 38-20 loss to Marshall in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. After stints at Alabama and Arizona State, quarterback Blake Barnett finally seems to be comfortable and to have found a home as USF’s starting quarterback. South Florida was No.33 in total offense last year but No.105 in total defense last year. The Bulls need both metrics to improve to compete for the AAC title.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 6.5. USF plays an extremely challenging non-conference schedule and that is the reason for this number being so low. Outside of hosting South Carolina State, the Bulls host Wisconsin and BYU this season while traveling to play Georgia Tech. USF gets Cincinnati and Memphis at home but does have to play on the road in the league at UCF and Navy.
Season Opener: Friday 8/30, vs. Wisconsin
#6. Florida International Panthers
Outlook: Former Miami head coach Butch Davis put together a 9-4 season in 2018 as the head man at FIU. The Panthers concluded the 2018 season with a 35-32 victory over Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl. According to Phil Steele, FIU returns the third highest percentage of yards gained (92.8) from 2018 and the most in Conference USA.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 7.5. Non-conference games against Miami at Marlins Park and on the road against Tulane will be challenging for the Panthers. FIU has enough talent to compete for the Conference USA championship but can’t afford slip ups to Florida Atlantic and Marshall like it had last season.
Season Opener: Thursday 8/29, at Tulane
#7. Florida Atlantic Owls
Outlook: It is hard to believe that Lane Kiffin and the Owls were 5-7 and 3-5 in Conference USA play in 2018. Until we see whether or not we get a team that looks more like the 2017 Owls (11-3, 8-0 in Conference USA) or 2018 squad, FAU will remain in the cellar here.
Bovada Season O/U Win Total: 7.5. FAU will get the opportunity for a statement in-state win on September 7 when it hosts UCF. A non-conference trip to Columbus to play the Buckeyes will be difficult but FAU gets arguably its three biggest Conference USA games at home as the Owls face Middle Tennessee State (October 12), Marshall (October 18) and FIU (November 9) in Boca Raton.
Season Opener: Saturday 8/31, at Ohio State
Which program will finish the season ranked No.1 in the Florida College Football Power Rankings?
This poll is closed