Another week, another firing in the sunshine state. Of note, over the past few weeks, FIU parted ways with head coach Butch Davis and the Canes did the same with Athletic Director, Blake James. This week it was Florida Gators head coach, Dan Mullen, who entered the week unemployed.
As you could expect, the decorum of play on the field in the state has decreased significantly this season. Regardless, two teams are currently bowl-eligible - Miami and UCF - while three more are a win away from becoming bowl-eligible - Florida, Florida State, and FAU. To that end, one more is guaranteed to clinch a bowl berth, while only two maximum can clinch, because the Gators and Noles face-off this weekend.
Below is the current state of the state of Florida football Week 12 rankings:
1: Florida State Seminoles (5-6) (Previous: 1st)
Ranking: 53rd (The Athletic Power Rankings); 65th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 26-23 Win over Boston College
Week 13 Matchup: @ Florida (5-6) (+2.0)
After an 0-4 start, the Noles have reeled off five of their last seven and now are within striking distance of bowl-eligibility if they can pull off a victory in Gainesville. And, much to the surprise of sunshine state football fans, they appear to be the most stable program within Florida. Quarterback, Jordan Travis, showed he was capable of winning with his arm as he went 20-for-34 for 251 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 26-23 win at Boston College.
For the time being, head coach Mike Norvell seems to have the most secure job of the big three in FL.
2: Miami Hurricanes (6-5) (Previous: 2nd)
Ranking: 54th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 46th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 38-26 Win over Virginia Tech
Week 13 Matchup: @ Duke (3-8) (-21.0)
Over the past couple weeks or months, there has been more focus on Miami’s administration than the product on the field. However, while Blake James is now gone and rumors swirl about a potential new coach in light of Manny Diaz’s hot seat, there have been some players flaunting their talents on Saturdays. In particular, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is the first ACC player over the past 15 seasons to have at least 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in five consecutive games. Transfer wide receiver, Charleston Rambo, is only 92 yards away from breaking Miami’s all-time single season receiving yards record. Similarly, a lot of young players are making strides and giving the Canes’ promise for the future.
TVD's last five games:— ACC Network (@accnetwork) November 21, 2021
357 Pass Yds, 3 TD
316 Pass Yds, 4 TD
389 Pass Yds, 3 TD
426 Pass Yds, 3 TD
325 Pass Yds, 4 TD@Tyler_Van_Dyke is the only ACC QB over the last 15 seasons with five straight 300+ Pass Yds and 3+ Pass TD games. @CanesFootball pic.twitter.com/8EdnaHdj7k
3: UCF Knights (7-4) (Previous: 4th)
Ranking: 51st (The Athletic Power Rankings); 59th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 49-17 Win over UConn
Week 13 Matchup: vs. South Florida (2-9) (-18.5)
Peppered with injuries this season, UCF has tried to make the most of a poor situation as true freshman quarterback, Mikey Keene, has been able to get significant exposure. He has had a couple strong weeks in a row, and the Knights have also been able to assimilate sophomore running back, Johnny Richardson, into the mix due to an injury to Isaiah Bowser. Defensively, linebacker Tatum Bethune has been a beast as he had 14 tackles this past week against UConn.
UCF tries to end the regular season on a positive note with a win over AAC in-state foe, South Florida.
Incredible play by UCF junior linebacker Tatum Bethune!— PFN Draft (@PFNDraft) November 13, 2021
Creeps into the box as the pocket collapses and lurks behind the trenches, then snares the short pass and takes it back for a big gain.
4: Florida Gators (5-6) (Previous: 3rd)
Ranking: 62nd (The Athletic Power Rankings); 72nd (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 24-23 OT Loss to Missouri
Week 13 Matchup: vs. FSU (5-6) (-2.0)
All is lost in Gainesville as they seek to put lipstick on a pig this Saturday by clinching bowl eligibility against FSU. The Gators parted ways with Dan Mullen and can get a head start on the head coach search but bigger problems appear to be brewing: Florida is losing a number of top tier recruits and could experience some Transfer Portal casualties.
For what it’s worth, Athletic Director, Scott Stricklin, had presumably struck gold when he inked Mullen to an extension this past summer. Of note, Mullen went 23-3 in 26 games preceding a loss to LSU last year - known as the infamous Marco Wilson shoe-throwing game. However, Mullen and the Gators went 5-9 after the cleat-chucking incident with only two Power Five wins, which were over Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Not saying the shoe throw heard ‘round the world caused the demise of Mullen and company, but the program notably lacked any semblance of cohesion and discipline from that point forward. It’s going to take a lot to steer this ship back in the right direction.
The Florida Gators part ways with head coach Dan Mullen. https://t.co/Wtkd2GsbvX— USA TODAY Sports+ (@USATSportsPlus) November 21, 2021
5: Florida Atlantic Owls (5-6) (Previous: 5th)
Ranking: 81st (The Athletic Power Rankings); 98th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 52-17 Loss to Western Kentucky
Week 13 Matchup: vs. Middle Tennessee (5-6) (-3.5)
FAU went into Western Kentucky as 10-point underdogs but ended up getting throttled 52-17 as N’Kosi Perry threw two picks as he was a bit “banged up” according to coach Willie Taggart. The Owls now enter the final game of the season as slight favorites against Middle Tennessee as they hope to punch a bowl bid.
#FAU's Coach Taggart sounds unsure on whether N'Kosi Perry will start vs. #MTSU. "He's a bit banged up. Had the day off yesterday so we'll see." He also adds that the #WKU loss means the "whole team needs to be evaluated" and that including the QB room. pic.twitter.com/wUqrb9RgPL— FAU Owl's Nest (@FAU_Owls_Nest) November 22, 2021
6: South Florida Bulls (2-9) (Previous: 6th)
Ranking: 121st (The Athletic Power Rankings); 117th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 45-14 Loss to Tulane
Week 13 Matchup: @ UCF (7-4) (+18.5)
Not much positive happened last weekend at Tulane as the Bulls lost 45-14. However, one of the only bright spots is that junior running back, Kelley Joiner, had a solid performance on the ground with 95 yards (6.3 yards a carry) on 15 carries and a touchdown.
USF hopes to avenge the tough loss as they play for pride at UCF this weekend in the “War On I-4.”
The real-life story of The Tortoise and the Hare!— UCF Sports Info (@UCFSportsInfo) November 21, 2021
See south florida playing in the now defunct (for football) BIG EAST in 2005 and doing nothing with that advantage while UCF will be a Power 5 program playing in the Big 12 in 2023.#usfHateWeek pic.twitter.com/puiJbJ4jv8
7: Florida International Panthers (1-10) (Previous: 7th)
Ranking: 127th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 128th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week 12 Result: 49-7 Loss to North Texas
Week 13 Matchup: @ Southern Miss (2-9) (+10.0)
FIU just needs this season to end after parting ways with Butch Davis and allegedly “sabotaging” the program.
Since beating Miami 30-24 in 2019, the Panthers are 1-17 overall and 0-15 against Major/Mid-Major opponents - most recently losing 49-7 against North Texas.