The first College Football Playoff rankings gave Florida and Miami their first idea of where they stand in the eyes of the selection committee ahead of the final few weeks of the season. Meanwhile, the rest of the state is trying to become bowl eligible, or is preparing for a long offseason.
1: No.6 Florida Gators (6-1, 6-1 SEC)
Previous: 1, Last Week: Won 38-17 at Vanderbilt
If not for a loss to Texas A&M, Florida would probably be on the inside track for a spot in the College Football Playoff. As is stands, the Gators still have a solid chance. UF will almost certainly represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game, and a win there would put them in the playoff for the first time.
This week UF plays Kentucky, the first game of a three game stretch against UK, Tennessee, and LSU. Kentucky and Tennessee are both well below .500 for the season, and LSU is just 3-3 a season after winning the national title. These games should serve as tune-ups before a tough test, likely against No.1 Alabama, in the conference championship game with a spot in the playoff on the line.
2: No.10 Miami Hurricanes (7-1, 6-1 ACC)
Previous: 2, Last Week: Game against Georgia Tech postponed
Miami has seen the effects of coronavirus affect the football team over the last few weeks. The Hurricanes have had their last three games of the season rescheduled and have not practiced recently, with several members of the program, including Head Coach Manny Diaz having tested positive or been required to quarantine.
The Hurricanes will return to practice Monday, ahead of a tough game on December 5 against Wake Forest, although that game is not certain to be played as Wake Forest is also handling a coronavirus outbreak.
3: UCF Knights (5-3, 4-3 AAC)
Previous: 3, Last Week: Lost 36-33 to No.7 Cincinnati
UCF played a very competitive game against Cincinnati, coming close to upsetting the Bearcats and ruining their College Football Playoff hopes. The Knights came up just short, however, and will instead hope to finish the season strong this weekend against rival USF.
UCF will most likely finish the season at 6-3 and hope for a good bowl game to finish out a solid, if slightly disappointing, 2020 season.
4: Florida Atlantic Owls (5-1, 4-1 C-USA)
Previous: 4, Last Week: Won 24-2 over UMass
FAU got their fifth win of the season and continued their recent winning streak last week with a win over UMass. The Owls are 5-1 and are well on their way to earning one of the C-USA’s best bowl bids. With three games left, and just one of those coming against an opponent with a winning record, FAU could very easily finish the season at 8-1.
This weekend the Owls will take on Middle Tennessee, a struggling team, at home. It should set them up well for their last tough game against Georgia Southern on December 5.
5: Florida State Seminoles (2-6, 1-6 ACC)
Previous: 5, Last Week: Game against Clemson postponed
Florida State has been involved in a public battle with Clemson following the decision to postpone their game against the Tigers last weekend. The two universities and their head coaches have each directed comments at each other over the last few days after the team medical staffs disagreed on whether or not the game should have been played. It’s unclear whether or not the game will be rescheduled before the end of the year.
This week, FSU takes on Virginia. The Seminoles have just two games remaining on their schedule if the Clemson game is not rescheduled, and face the real possibility of going 2-9 this season.
6: South Florida Bulls (1-6, 0-5 AAC)
Previous: 6, Last Week: Game against Navy cancelled
South Florida’s game last week was cancelled and as a result the Bulls have just one game remaining against rival UCF this weekend to try to get a conference win this year. The Bulls have improved as the year has gone on, and there’s hope that Jeff Scott’s program can take a step forward next season.
This week the USF defense will hope to contain a UCF offense that has scored more than 30 points in every game they’ve played so far. It will not be easy to challenge for the upset.
7: Florida International Panthers (0-5, 0-3 C-USA)
Previous: 7, Last Week: Lost 38-21 against Western Kentucky
FIU remained winless on the season after losing to Western Kentucky last weekend. The Panthers game this week against Louisiana Tech has been cancelled, and with games left against Charlotte and No.21 Marshall, there’s a strong possibility that FIU could finish their season at 0-7.
The Panthers will go into the offseason hoping to forget 2020 and get back to bowl eligibility in 2021.
Florida and Miami both are in the Playoff Committee’s top-ten, and each will look to rise up the rankings over the last few weeks of the season.