Florida Rivalry Week
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
This is the best week of the year for college football fans.
Rivalry week is finale week to yet another college football season.
The feast begins Friday night at the Bounce House with “The War on I-4”, and ends Saturday night with Florida vs. Florida State.
We have heard it so many times in our college football lives, “You can throw the record book out when these two teams get together.”
This year it may be different, both UCF and Florida are heavy favorites in their respective matchups.
“The War on I-4” is the end of the year battle between UCF and South Florida. The Knight’s open up as a 23-point favorite. These are two teams heading in polar opposite directions.
The Bulls lead all-time series 6-4, but the Knights have won the last two games of the “War on I-4.”
Take it from me, this game is going to be a blow out! The Bulls have lost three home games in a row against Temple, Cincinnati and Memphis. Coach Charlie Strong is on the “HOT SEAT.” We can call it a local rivalry game, but the Bulls are no match for the Knights in 2019.
UCF has been one of the best offensive teams in the country with the points to prove it. The Knights have 30 or more in 31 straight games, which is the longest streak in the AP poll era (1936).
On Friday night, the Knights will extend the 30 or more point streak as they boat race the Bulls.
My prediction is this game is going to be ugly if you are a South Florida Bull.
Like all UCF home games this season, the game will be over by half time.
UCF 56 South Florida 20
Florida versus Florida State: The sheer richness of noteworthy games, assures us some wild rides and crazy results.
The Gators haven’t beaten the Seminoles in Gainesville since 2009. Since 2000, Florida State holds a 10-9 advantage, despite how close the record is the games have not been close.
Just two short years ago, the Florida Gators were in the same boat as this Florida State team. Florida fired Jim McElwain mid-season and the Seminoles thumped the Gators 31-13.
Fast forward to 2019, Florida State has fired Coach Will Taggart. Florida State is 2 and 0 since Intern Coach Odell Haggins took over the reins. The Seminoles became bowl eligible with a convincing 49-12 victory over Alabama State.
Coach Haggins is 4 and 0 for his career as a head coach at Florida State. Saturday night in the Swamp Coach Haggins will take his first lost.
Florida State has been a dumpster fire since the day Willie Taggart was hired. Don’t get me wrong, the Seminoles have a lot of talented players on their roster. It’s just those players talent has not translated into wins for the Seminoles.
Quick fact: Florida State ranked 124 in the NCAA in pass defense (the lowest in School history). The Gators ranked 19 in the NCAA in pass offense.
Florida State will start the game with a lot of fire and desire but at the end of the day they are no match for this year’s Gator team.
The Gators are playing for a New Year’s 6 bowl, and they would like to send their senior class of 18 players off with a victory.
The Seminoles have given up 36 sacks and 102 hurries in 2019, whereas the Gators have sacked the quarterback 38 times and 134 hurries.
Side note: Florida State’s search for a new head coach has taken a few turns over the past few weeks.
First, FSU strikes out on Bob Stoops. Next, brother Mark Stoops tells FSU no thanks.
The hot names are Norvell, Campbell, Clawson and Haggins.
Also, a report surfaced that Willie Taggart did not sign his contract. This report is not correct Willie Taggart signed his contract, but FSU administration did not sign. Just like the regular season FSU cannot finish.
Final Score: Florida 45 Florida State 20