After the Florida Gators struggled to escape Lexington, Kentucky with a victory in a game they were a 10-point favorite in, this poll has a new No.1 team.
UCF drilled Stanford 45-27 last Saturday behind true freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel’s career performance and has earned the No.1 ranking in the state thanks to the lopsided victory and Florida’s struggles against power five opponents this season.
It was a much better week in general for the state’s seven FBS teams as only Florida State lost and state teams finished the weekend with a 6-1 overall record and a 2-1 record against power five opponents.
#1. Central Florida Knights (3-0, #15 in AP Poll)
Week 3 Result: Central Florida 45, Stanford 27.
Next Game: Saturday 9/21, at Pittsburgh, 3:30pm
Bovada Line: UCF -14
Week 4 Positives: True freshman Dillon Gabriel has found his rhythm. Gabriel was 22-for-30 for 347 yards and four touchdowns in the victory over Stanford. It appears we have seen the last of Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush at quarterback for the Knights so long as Gabriel stays healthy. UCF led this game 38-7 at halftime and finished with 545 yards of total offense.
Week 4 Negatives: Not many. The Knights did let off the gas a bit in the second half allow 20 points to Stanford in the second half, 17 in the fourth quarter alone. UCF appears to have approved its defense from last season however, which was its main weakness.
Where Things Stand: UCF has looked dominant in its three games this season. The knock on the Knights is generally a soft schedule but with a power five win already under their belts after week three and an opportunity for another one this week, UCF is answering whether or not it can play with power five competition early on this season. With UF struggling to beat both Miami and Kentucky, UCF deserves the top spot right now.
#2. Florida Gators (3-0, #9 AP Poll)
Week 3 Result: Florida 29, Kentucky 21.
Next Game: Saturday 9/21, vs. Tennessee, Noon
Bovada Line: UF -14
Week 4 Positives: The Gators scored 19 unanswered points to come from behind to top Kentucky after the Wildcats missed a late field goal. Florida appears to have found a steadying force at quarterback in backup Kyle Trask, who replaced Feleipe Franks in the second half and finished the game 9-for-13 for 126 passing yards. The Gators continued their trend of playing well in the second half of games in 2019.
Week 4 Negatives: Franks took a nasty hit in the second half and head coach Dan Mullen confirmed after the game that he is out for the season with an ankle injury. The Gators allowed the Wildcats, starting backup quarterback Sawyer Smith, to amass 407 yards of total offense and 26 first downs. Florida rushed for just 62 yards as a team outside of Josh Hammond’s 76-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that helped seal the game.
Where Things Stand: Florida has looked subpar in both of its games against power five opponents this season but has come out of both games with close victories. You are what your record says you are in college football but right now the Gators have a lot of work to do to replace key injured players, including Franks, and to improve their running game on offense. Until the Gators show the ability to play well against a power five opponent, they will be behind UCF in this poll.
#3. Miami Hurricanes (1-2)
Week 3 Result: Miami 63, Bethune-Cookman 0.
Next Game: Saturday 9/21, vs. Central Michigan, 4pm
Bovada Line: Miami -30.5
Week 4 Positives: The Hurricanes scored nine touchdowns and racked up 590 yards of total offense in the easy win against the overmatched opponent. Jarren Williams again was turnover free in passing for 254 yards and three touchdowns. DeeJay Dallas rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns and is now averaging 103 rushing yards per game in 2019.
Week 4 Negatives: Bubba Baxa missed another field goal for Miami and is now 4-for-8 on the season. Mark Pope and Romeo Finley each went down with an injury in the second half of the victory. According to The Athletic, Pope and Finley did not practice during media viewing on Tuesday nor did Lorenzo Lingard. The status of all three players is uncertain for Central Michigan on Saturday.
Where Things Stand: Miami needed this lopsided victory to shake off two painfully close losses to start the season. Things will get slightly tougher for the Hurricanes this week but but Miami should again cruise by a lesser opponent. The Hurricanes need to take this opportunity to play second and third string players and keep as many players healthy as possible heading into a bye week.
#4. Florida State Seminoles (1-2)
Week 3 Result: Virginia 31, Florida State 24.
Next Game: Saturday 9/21, vs. Louisville, 3:30pm
Bovada Line: FSU -6.5
Week 4 Positives: Florida State did not turn the ball over and led ACC Coastal favorite Virginia 14-10 at halftime last Saturday. James Blackman passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns while the much-maligned Seminole defense intercepted Bryce Perkins twice.
Week 4 Negatives: The Seminoles again blew a second half lead as they led 17-10 entering the fourth quarter but allowed the Cavaliers to score 21 fourth quarter points. This is the third consecutive game that Florida State has blown a second half lead. Virginia finished the game with 415 yards of total offense.
Where Things Stand: Florida State is dangerously close to 0-3 after needing a blocked extra point attempt in overtime to defeat Louisiana-Monroe on September 7. The Seminoles have looked terrible on defense in the second half of games and have greatly struggled to protect Blackman on downs when it is obvious they are passing. This week is Willie Taggart’s best opportunity to get an ACC win against Louisville, who was picked to finish last in the ACC Atlantic, at Doak Campbell Stadium.
#5. Florida Atlantic Owls (1-2)
Week 3 Result: Florida Atlantic 41, Ball State 31.
Next Game: Saturday 9/21, vs. Wagner, 6pm
Bovada Line: N/A
Week 4 Positives: FAU got the passing game going against Ball State as Chris Robison passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns were caught by John Mitchell, who also finished the game with 124 receiving yards. The Owls also forced four Ball State turnovers and sacked quarterback Drew Plitt five times.
Week 4 Negatives: The Owls lost fumbles on back-to-back plays from scrimmage late in the second quarter that led to two of Ball State’s four touchdowns. Florida Atlantic allowed 470 yards of total offense to Ball State, including 303 passing yards from Plitt.
Where Things Stand: FAU gets a notch in the win column and comes home for a winnable game against Wagner this week. If the Owls can get back to 2-2 heading into Conference USA play, they won’t feel horrible about the non-conference portion of their schedule considering those two losses were to Ohio State and UCF.
#6. South Florida Bulls (1-2)
Week 3 Result: South Florida 55, South Carolina State 16.
Next Game: Saturday 9/28, vs. SMU, 4pm
Bovada Line: N/A
Week 4 Positives: The Bulls switched starting quarterbacks and got a better offensive performance, albeit against a much weaker opponent. Jordan McCloud got the start for USF and passed for 217 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 56 yards and two scores. McCloud figures to get the start after USF’s bye this week when the Bulls take the field against SMU on September 28. The Bulls forced eight turnovers on defense.
Week 4 Negatives: USF gave up 373 yards of offense to South Carolina State, including 278 passing yards. The Bulls were forced to punt six times in the game after failing to eclipse the 50 percent conversion mark on third downs by finishing the game 7-for-16.
Where Things Stand: USF snapped its eight-game losing streak with this emphatic win but because of the low quality opponent it came against, this win doesn't tell us too much about the Bulls moving forward. Charlie Strong needs to use this bye week to have his team ready to beat undefeated SMU at home on September 28. That game will be a great measuring stick for USF.
#7. Florida International Panthers (1-2)
Week 3 Result: Florida International 30, New Hampshire 17.
Next Game: Friday 9/20, at Louisiana Tech, 8pm
Bovada Line: FIU +8.5
Week 4 Positives: Playing without starting quarterback James Morgan, the Panthers were able to run the ball against New Hampshire as they rushed for 310 yards as a team. Backup quarterback Kaylan Wiggins rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns on his own while passing for 127 yards.
Week 4 Negatives: This game was a little close for comfort against an FCS opponent as FIU led just 20-17 heading into the fourth quarter. Kicker Jose Borregales missed two field goals and an extra point for FIU.
Where Things Stand: FIU needs a win against Louisiana Tech this week to avoid falling to 0-2 in Conference USA play and losing almost any chance to win the east division. The Panthers are still waiting for the offense to be what they thought it would be entering this season. Morgan is questionable for Friday’s game.
Of the state’s two undefeated FBS teams, who is better right now?
This poll is closed