The state of Florida, for the most part (sans-FSU), got back on track after a rough week three. In this past week’s state of play within the state, Florida and Miami earned runaway wins, UCF recovered during a bye week, FAU and N’Kosi Perry tripped up by Air Force, USF and QB Timmy McClain hung tight against ranked BYU, and last, and perhaps least, FSU and FIU continue their losing ways.
Below is the current state of the state of Florida football Week Four rankings:
1: Florida Gators (3-1) (Previous: 1st)
Ranking: 10th (AP Top 25), 9th (USA Today Coaches Poll)
Week Four Result: 38-14 Win over Tennessee
Week Five Matchup: @ Kentucky (4-0)(-8.0)
The Gators looked pretty slow coming out against a clearly inferior Tennessee opponent but proved why they remain a top ten team and by far the best team in the sunshine state. Florida now has an undefeated Kentucky team - but don’t be deceived as they are actually another middling SEC opponent - followed by a bottom feeder Vanderbilt team and rebuilding LSU team. Florida and the nation’s number two, Georgia, then face off at the end of October after respective bye weeks.
To that end, the Gators regular season fate - barring a late season shocking upset - should be determined by the October 30th Bulldogs-Gators game. The usage of redshirt freshman QB, Anthony Richardson, who is working back from injury, will be an interesting component in the next few weeks as Richardson’s involvement in the final moments on a key two-point conversion against the nation’s best, Alabama, could have potentially knotted the game up.
2: UCF Knights (2-1) (Previous: 2nd)
Ranking: 41st (USA Today Coaches Poll - 9 points); 50th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 42nd (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week Four Result: BYE WEEK
Week Five Matchup: @ Navy (0-3)(-15.5)
The Knights bye week came at a really good time after a tough upset loss to Louisville in a 42-35 loss. The game outcome also came with its fair share of bumps and bruises as UCF lost starting QB, Dillon Gabriel, for the season due to a broken clavicle. True freshman QB, Mikey Keene, is a working a 23-game win streak dating back to his high school days where he was a state champion last fall. HC Guz Malzahn is confident in Keene’s winning mentality but tempered expectations are necessary due to the inevitable growing pains that come with a true frosh.
Ideally, UCF can ease into the Keene era against a winless Navy opponent where they are a big favorite. Another key offensive contributor, RB Isaiah Bowser, is currently described as week-to-week. Before his early injury against Louisville, Bowser was averaging over five-yards-per-carry. While its unclear when Bowser will be available, they will absolutely need him October 16th vs Cincinnati to keep that game competitive.
3: Miami Hurricanes (2-2) (Previous: 3rd)
Ranking: 37th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 62nd (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week Four Result: 69-0 Win over Central Connecticut State University
Week Five Matchup: vs. Virginia (2-2)(-4.0)
Miami opened their out-of-conference against the nation’s best, Alabama, and got smoked 44-13. They closed the non-ACC slate against CCSU and thankfully won in a blowout, 69-0. Neither should cause an overreaction. However, the two games in between were wildly underwhelming as they barely beat Appalachian State and then lost by three touchdowns to Michigan State.
Luckily, as Miami gets into conference play, the ACC is still wide open and has inevitably been turned on its head. At this point, the U’s identity is far from clear and changes across the personnel on both sides of the ball may be necessary to remain competitive.
Regardless, the real Miami Hurricanes better stand up as their ACC fate could be quickly determined. D’Eriq King’s absence will be a key area to monitor. Beyond that, the running game could experience a boost in Jaylan Knighton’s return as the Canes look to establish the run.
ESPN’s Herbstreit delivers pointed criticism of Miami Hurricanes football program - Miami Herald https://t.co/Xd26Nx9OEM— Rudy (@sailindude) September 26, 2021
4: Florida Atlantic Owls (2-2) (Previous: 4th)
Ranking: 97th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 93rd (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week Four Result: 31-7 Loss to Air Force
Week Five Matchup: vs. FIU (1-3)(-10.5)
After a strong first three games, former Cane QB N’Kosi Perry experienced his first significant dip in a blowout loss to Air Force where he only threw for 78 yards on 11-for-33 attempts and one interception. FAU should be able to handle nearby Florida opponent, FIU, as they look to get back on track in Conference-USA intra-state play.
5: South Florida Bulls (1-3) (Previous: 7th)
Ranking: 125th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 118th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week Four Result: 35-27 Loss to BYU (#15)
Week Five Matchup: @ SMU (+20.5)
If teams were rated based on how well they were able to cover the spread, the Bulls would be on the rise for sure. After a 45-0 loss to NC State in week one, USF has covered spread against the ranked Gators, beat FAMU, and then only lost by one score this past week against the nation’s 15th best BYU Cougars. After USF benched UNC transfer QB, Cade Fortin, they brought in freshman, Timmy McClain. McClain started off slow with two picks in his debut but has not thrown one since as he has maintained a 123.1 rating at the helm.
6: Florida State Seminoles (0-4) (Previous: 5th)
Ranking: 104th (The Athletic Power Rankings); 106th (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week Four Result: 31-23 Loss to Louisville
Week Five Matchup: vs. Syracuse (3-1)(-4.5)
FSU is one of just seven winless FBS teams left. Oof. At this point, and looking at their remaining schedule, it is looking worse and worse for the Noles as the season progresses. They will likely be heavy dogs in six of their remaining eight games, with this week’s Syracuse and the October 23rd UMass matchups being the lone outliers.
There remains 7 winless FBS teams:— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 26, 2021
7: Florida International Panthers (1-3) (Previous: 6th)
Ranking: 121st (The Athletic Power Rankings); 123rd (CBS Sports Power Rankings)
Week Four Result: 31-27 Loss to Central Michigan
Week Five Matchup: @ FAU (2-2)(+10.5)
FIU blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead against Central Michigan and ended up losing by four points, 31-27 (almost not as bad as the Canes 17-12 performance against the Chippewas in 2019). With USF apparently on the rise, FIU’s hopes of catching anyone in the state turn to the fading FSU program (although they do have a head-to-head against FAU this week).