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Florida College Football Power Rankings: Week Nine

There’s a clear top two in the state, but after that it’s unclear how the rest of the state compares to each other.

NCAA Football: Miami at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Florida continues to have competitive teams in college football. The Florida Gators will play their toughest, and most important, game of the season this weekend against Georgia. While the other New Year’s Six contender in the state, the Miami Hurricanes, play a tough Friday night game against NC State.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Florida Gainesville Sun-USA TODAY NETWORK

1: No.8 Florida Gators (3-1, 3-1 SEC)

Previous: 1, Last Week: Won 41-17 against Missouri

Florida got back into the win column after some time off due to coronavirus issues last week against Missouri. The Gators still have defensive questions heading into their biggest game of the season against Georgia, and their offense will have to prove they can score against UGA which has one of the best defenses in the nation.

If Florida can win this weekend, they have a chance to do everything they set out to do at the start of the season. They would be favored to win the SEC East, and would have a matchup with Alabama for a chance at the College Football Playoff.

Miami v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

2: No.11 Miami Hurricanes (5-1, 4-1 ACC)

Previous: 2, Last Week: Bye

Miami’s offensive struggles continued against Virginia, but the Hurricanes defense played well to hold the Cavaliers to just 14 points. The Hurricanes sit in an extremely good spot in the ACC Championship Game race. Only two undefeated conference teams remain in Notre Dame and Clemson, and they play each other this weekend. If the Hurricanes can continue to win, they could find themselves tied for second after this weekend.

Miami could face some tougher competition this week, with a tough road matchup against a solid NC State team. The game against the Wolfpack also begins what could be Miami’s most important two-game stretch of the season, with a showdown against rival Virginia Tech set for next week.

Tulante at UCF Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

3: UCF Knights (4-2, 3-2 AAC)

Previous: 3, Last Week: Won 44-21 against Houston

UCF started out the season 2-2, but two straight wins have helped the Knights build some confidence. This week UCF will take on Temple, one of the worst teams in the AAC, but the toughest game on their schedule against No.6 Cincinnati comes the week after, where they’ll hope to spoil the Bearcats playoff hopes.

UCF isn’t going to be in the discussion for a major bowl game, but a good end to the year would be a huge positive after a very disappointing start to the season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 21 Boca Raton Bowl - SMU v Florida Atlantic Photo by Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

4: Florida Atlantic Owls (2-1, 2-1 C-USA)

Previous: 5, Last Week: Won 24-3 against UTSA

Florida Atlantic has played just three games this season and has faced multiple coronavirus postponements and delays, but through three games the Owls are 2-1 and are a contender for the C-USA title game. FAU plays a struggling Western Kentucky team this weekend, and a 3-1 start with their only loss coming to No.19 Marshall would be a great start for Willie Taggart.

The potential for the rest of FAU’s season is very high. Additionally, every game left on their schedule comes against an opponent with a losing record.

Alabama State v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

5: Florida State Seminoles (2-4, 1-4 ACC)

Previous: 4, Last Week: Bye

FSU seemed to be improving after a win over UNC, but a blowout loss at the hands of Louisville raised the same questions that had been there all season for the Seminoles. They’ll play Pitt at home this weekend in a game they could easily win, and with games against Virginia and Duke still remaining on the schedule there’s a path to bowl eligibility for FSU if they win this weekend.

Mike Norvell clearly has a long way to go to rebuild his program at FSU. He’ll have to have an incredible end to the season to make up for a very rough start.

Tulsa v South Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

6: South Florida Bulls (1-5, 0-4 AAC)

Previous: 6, Last Week: Bye

South Florida still has a long way to go to become a contender in the AAC. After a few weeks where the Bulls looked very competitive, a blowout loss to Tulsa last week left little hope that USF could get a conference win this season with tough games against Memphis, Houston, Navy, and UCF the only games remaining on the schedule.

The goal for the Bulls the rest of the year will be being competitive in the games they have remaining. It’s likely USF won’t have a conference win this year, but these games will bring valuable experience for next season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Old Dominion at FIU Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

7: Florida International Panthers (0-3, 0-1 C-USA)

Previous: 7, Last Week: Game against UTEP postponed

FIU, like FAU, has had to deal with several stops and starts to their season due to coronavirus issues. The Panthers last game was a home loss to FCS opponent Jacksonville State, and that game will be the last time FIU plays until November 13. Like USF, it’s possible, if not likely, that FIU won’t win a conference game, or even a game at all this season.

Similarly to USF, the remaining games for FIU are about getting young players experience and building towards next season.

Two big games for the two teams ranked highest in these power rankings could have a huge impact on the order next week.