The 2019 college football season in the state of Florida started with a thrilling “Week 0” rivalry game in which the Florida Gators topped the Miami Hurricanes 24-20 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando last Saturday.
The Gators and Hurricanes were the only two programs from the state to play during Week 0, so the jury is still out on Florida’s other five FBS programs. Our Florida college football power rankings won’t look much different this week because of that.
While Miami and Florida looked both above average and sub-par at times on Saturday night, it hardly seems fair to adjust their ranking when the other five schools sat at home and watched.
#1. Florida Gators (1-0)
Last Week’s Result: Florida 24, Miami 20.
Last Week’s Positives: Quarterback Feleipe Franks passed for 254 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another touchdown as the Gators came-from-behind to top rival Miami. Florida also amassed 16 tackles for loss and 10 sacks on defense.
Last Week’s Negatives: The Gators managed to rush for just 52 yards on 27 carries against Miami’s stout rush defense. Florida also turned the ball four times, including two interceptions thrown by Franks and two lost fumbles.
Where Things Stand: Florida can’t feel great about how it played against Miami but it played just well enough to escape with a win. Florida won’t play a power five opponent again until September 14 when it takes on Kentucky on the road so it would appear the Gators have some time to fix their tackling and turnover issues.
Next Game: Saturday 9/7, vs. UT-Martin, 7:30pm
#2. Miami Hurricanes (0-1)
Last Week’s Result: Florida 24, Miami 20.
Last Week’s Positives: Quarterback Jarren Williams passed for 214 yards and a touchdown in his first start with the Hurricanes. Running back DeeJay Dallas finished the game with 132 yards from scrimmage, including a 50-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Miami defenders wore their new turnover chain four different times.
Last Week’s Negatives: The Hurricanes racked up 125 yards in penalties and struggled to protect Williams all night. Miami appears to have a problem to solve on the offensive line moving forward.
Where Things Stand: Miami came very close to pulling the upset on Saturday night but fell just short because of an untimely turnover and poor offensive line play. The Hurricanes won't face a team as talented as Florida again during the regular season.
Next Game: Saturday 9/7, at North Carolina, 8pm
#3. Central Florida Knights
Season Opener: Thursday 8/29, vs. FAMU, 7:30pm
Bovada Line: N/A
Preview: UCF will start Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush in this game but said it intends to play true freshman Dillon Gabriel in the game. All eyes will be on what the Knights’ offense looks like with quarterback McKenzie Milton sidelined for the season with a leg injury. This should be no more than a warm-up game for UCF, who has a trip to FAU looming next week.
Season Opener: Saturday 8/31, vs. Boise State, 7pm, Jacksonville
Bovada Line: FSU -4.5
Preview: FSU has announced that quarterback James Blackman will start the opener over Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook and Louisville transfer Jordan Travis. The Seminole defense will get the world’s first look at Boise State true freshman Hank Bachmeier, who some are hailing as one of the program’s best recruits. Bachmeier will get the start in his first college game for the Broncos.
Season Opener: Friday 8/30, vs. Wisconsin, 7pm
Bovada Line: USF +13
Preview: The Bulls and starting quarterback Blake Barnett get the opportunity for an early season upset at Raymond James Stadium against the Badgers on Friday. They will have to slow down Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. That could be bad news for a USF defense that was ranked No.122 out of 129 in total rushing defense in 2018.
#6. Florida International Panthers
Season Opener: Thursday 8/29, at Tulane, 8pm
Bovada Line: FIU +3
Preview: This is a big opportunity for FIU to announce its presence this season. Defeating an AAC opponent on the road to open the season would give the Panthers the momentum they are looking for and help FIU gain a little respect for Conference USA. Quarterback James Morgan leads an offense who has almost every important playmaker back from a 9-4 campaign in 2018.
Season Opener: Saturday 8/31, at Ohio State, Noon
Bovada Line: FAU +27.5
Preview: Tough sledding for Lane Kiffin and the Owls to take on the Buckeyes in the season opener. While this year’s Ohio State team isn’t expected to be quite as explosive on offense as in years past, it will be an uphill climb for FAU to win this game on the road. Staying healthy for a huge game against UCF on September 7 would be most optimal.