Miami Hurricanes

The Best All-Time

By: Kipp Branch news services

LSU just finished one of the most dominant football seasons in recent memory with a 42-25 win over Clemson for the National Championship.

It was LSU’s third national championship this century to go along with titles in 2003, and 2007. I have been watching college football since the 1970’s and here are my top five college football teams in the window:

Honorable Mention: 1976 Pittsburgh 12-0: The Panthers with Heisman winner Tony Dorsett drilled SEC Champion and 4th ranked UGA in the Sugar Bowl 27-3 as Dorsett rushed for over 200 yards.

1999 Florida State 12-0: The Seminoles beat a Michael Vick led Virginia Tech team in the Sugar Bowl to win Bobby Bowden’s second National Title in Tallahassee. Where have those days gone FSU fans?

2005 USC: 12-1: The Trojans were a great team that lost to Texas for the National Title. Reggie Bush and company were defending champions but this team was better than their 2004 title team.

1979 Alabama 12-0: This was Bear Bryant’s last National Title team at Alabama.

They won seven games by 20 or more points. The Tide led the nation in scoring defense and beat a very good Arkansas team 24-9 in the Sugar Bowl.

2018 Clemson 15-0: This team beat Alabama 44-16 to capture the National Title, and blew out Notre Dame in the semifinals 30-3. Dominant defense with four NFL players on the defensive line.

My Top Five College Football Teams of All-Time:

  1. 1996 Florida 12-1: This was great football team and Steve Spurrier’s only National Champion that blew out unbeaten FSU 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl to avenge a 24-21 regular season loss to the Seminoles.

Bob Stoops was the defensive coordinator and the team was led by Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel at QB and All-American receivers Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony.

The Gators outscored their opponents 612-228 during the season. The Ole Ball Coach put Florida football on the map when he took the job in 1990 and won 127 games in 12 years in Gainesville.

  1. 2005 Texas 13-0: Vince Young led the Longhorns to a classic 41-38 win over USC in the Rose Bowl.

Texas scored 652 points during the 2005 season while giving up only 213. The Rose Bowl that year may be the greatest college football game I have ever watched on television.

  1. 2001 Miami 12-0: The 2001 Canes only allowed 117 points all season, and hammered Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl for the title.

Many say this was the most talented team in the history of college football with players like Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, Andre Johnson, this roster was littered with future Pro-Bowlers.

  1. 2019 LSU 15-0: The first team in the history of the SEC to go 15-0. Led by Heisman winner Joe Burrow, who tossed for 60 TD’s to only 6 Int’s on the season.

This LSU team will go down as the best team in the history of the SEC. The Tigers beat Clemson for a National Title, while Clemson was riding a 29-game winning streak.

This team beat five teams ranked in the top 10 of the final rankings, and six of the top 15. This team will stand the test of time for greatness.

1.1995 Nebraska 13-0: The most dominant team in college football history. The 1995 Cornhuskers averaged 53 plus points a game and defeated four teams ranked in the Top 10.

No team all year came closer than 23 points to the Huskers, and this team beat a great undefeated Florida team 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl and it looked like men playing middle schoolers.

27 players from this team played in the NFL. QB Tommie Frazier is one of my favorite college football players of all-time. He Led the Huskers to back to back National Championships in 1994 and 1995.

There you have it folks. College Football is our greatest game. Nothing really comes close.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

By: Robert Craft news services

Recapping last weekend college football action around the sunshine state, we have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, to steal a line from the classic 1966 spaghetti western.

The Good:

UCF traveled to Boca Raton on Saturday and true freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel led the Knights to a 48-14 victory over FAU.

UCF’s rushing attack of McCrae (93 yards), Thompson (91 yards and a touchdown), Anderson (75 yards) and Killins (37) amassed more than 300 yards rushing for the second week in a row.

Gabriel finished the night 7 of 19 passing for 245 yard and 2 touchdowns. UCF’s defense put pressure on Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robinson all night long. UCF tallied 5 sacks with 16 tackles for loss.

Up next for the Knights is Stanford.

Stanford quarterback K.J. Castello is expected to start after missing last week’s loss to USC due to a concussion.

UCF opens as a seven-point favorite over the Cardinals. This is a classic battle of two contrasting styles. UCF wants to play fast, whereas Stanford prefers to play in a phone booth.

UCF’s defense will be challenged against Stanford’s huge offensive line.

Game time is 3:30 at The Bounce House.  Stanford melts in the fourth quarter. My take: UCF 34 Stanford 21

Florida Gators took care of business against one of their cupcakes on Saturday by shutting out UT Martin 45-0. Feleipe Franks completed 25-27 for 270 yards, 0 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. The Gators took care of business on both sides of the ball against a less talented UT Martin.

Up next for the Gators is a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to open SEC play against the Wildcats.

Both teams are 2-0 but Kentucky is forced to play without starting quarterback Terry Wilson due to injury. Wilson torched the Gators last season as Kentucky ended a 31-game losing streak vs. Florida.

Sawyer Smith will get the nod for the Wildcats on Saturday night. Kavosiey Smoke leads the Wildcat’s rushing attack 18 carries for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Florida will enter this contest with two major players out due to injury Kadarius Toney (shoulder) and C.J. Henderson (ankle).

The Gators look for revenge in the commonwealth after Kentucky broke the streak.  Gators defense too much for Smith and company. My take: Florida 31 Kentucky 16

The Bad:

The Miami Hurricanes have lost their first two games since 1978.

North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Hurricanes 28-25. The Tar Heels were led for the second week in a row by Freshman quarterback Sam Howell. Howell’s touchdown pass to Dazz Newsome with 1:01 left in the game put the Tar Heels up 28-25.

Miami had one last chance but Bubba Baxa shanked the field goal attempt wide left to seal the North Carolina victory.

Jarren Williams 30 for 39 for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns and Deejay Dallas 14 carries for 107 yards paced the Hurricanes.

Miami will rebound this week with a blowout win against an overmatched Bethune Cookman Wildcats. My take: Miami 54 Bethune Cookman 13

The Ugly:

Florida State won the game against UL Monroe but collapsed in the 2nd half again.

Leading 24-7 at half, Florida State forgot for the second week that there are four quarters to play.

UL Monroe scored on their first four drive of the second half. UL Monroe outscored the Seminoles 31-14 in the second half, and forced overtime.

Cam Akers carried the Seminoles the entire game with 36 carries for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns while also catching 5 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Akers scored on a third and goal to give the Seminoles lead 45-38.

UL Monroe QB Caleb Evans walked in moments later to bring UL Monroe an extra point from a second overtime.

The Seminoles got lucky when the extra point sailed wide right.

Florida State travels Virginia to open ACC conference play against the Cavaliers. Coach Taggart and company avoid a second straight disaster.

FSU right now is a dumpster fire and the Cavaliers take advantage of the chaos.  My take: Virginia 31 FSU 23.

Gators and Hurricanes

By: Robert Craft news services

After all of the talking, all the predicting and all of the back and forth from both fan bases on Social Media, it’s finally here: The Miami Hurricanes and The Florida Gators kick off this Saturday.

The eyes of the College Football world will be watching Gators vs Canes when they face off at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL on August 24th.  Let’s breakdown the kick off to the 150th season of College Football.


Miami just announced that they are starting redshirt Freshman Jarren Williams.

Every football fan knows the best way to take pressure off a young quarterback is run the football. Establishing the run game early is vital for the Hurricanes success in this contest.

The Hurricanes rushing attack begins with junior Deejay Dallas. Dallas had an outstanding sophomore season, compiling a team best 1,260 all-purpose yards.

Promising sophomore Cam’Ron Harris is expected to back up Dallas. However, I believe the battle will be between the Hurricanes offensive line and the Gators front seven, and whether or not Miami can run the ball.

Miami is starting a true Freshman Zion Nelson at left tackle, and redshirt Freshman John Campbell at right tackle.

Florida lost Jachai Polite, but the defensive line is 9 deep with seasoned SEC players. Todd Grantham (D-coordinator) will disguise his schemes to confuse the young QB and tackles.

The question is, can Dan Enos (Miami O-coordinator) take advantage of Grantham’s aggressive style?

Miami has explosive receivers in Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley, and Buffalo transfer KJ Osborn.  They will match up against two top corners in CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson.

One advantage for Miami in this matchup is Tight End; Breven Jordan and Will Mallory against Florida’s Linebackers David Reese and Amari Burney. Florida has always had problems with Tight Ends.


This is the match up I’m looking forward to watching: Head Coach vs. Head Coach.

Miami’s front seven is probably the greatest strength for Manny Diaz and his team. The Hurricanes return their starting Linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McClould.

On the defensives line for Miami, Junior defensive ends Jonathan Garvin and Trevon Hill are looking to take full advantage of Florida’s new starters at both tackles.

If Miami has a weakness, it is in their secondary; where the Canes have to replace 3 starters from last season.

Florida’s offense will ride or die in this game behind Feleipe Franks.

Florida is loaded with skilled players like Lamical Perine, Van Jefferson, Kadarius Toney (Tag Positions) and many more. The question is can Florida’s inexperienced offense line hold up against Miami’s front seven.

Florida’s offensive line coach, Dan Hevesy will earn his paycheck in this contest.

Florida has four new starters on the offensive line; Stone Forsythe (LT), Brett Heggie (LG), Chris Bleich (RG) and Jean Delance (RT) (Delance sustained an injury in camp and is questionable for Saturday’s game). Depth is an issue; Florida doesn’t have a true utility lineman among the reserves.


I’ll keep this one short and sweet. This is the first game for Manny Diaz as a head coach with an entirely new offensive staff.


This game gives me deja vu of Florida opener in 2017 versus Michigan.

Florida starting a redshirt freshman quarterback against a tough veteran defense.

I believe Florida’s defense controls the game long enough for Florida’s offensive line to wear out Miami’s front seven.

Feleipe Franks has a big game with his arm and legs throwing for 2 scores and running for another. Florida 31 Miami 17.

The Tough Coastal Life

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

The summer is just getting started and I can’t wait for Fall to get here. In just a few long months football season will start.

I’m going to take a look at the Coastal division in the ACC and see how each team should finish. If you’re wondering why I didn’t pick the Atlantic it’s because we all know the final answer, Clemson wins with ease.

The Coastal is the much weaker division. By default, that makes it very competitive because they lack a dominant team. The only problem is the division champ is just waiting to be slaughtered by Clemson in the ACC Championship.

Perfect example, Pitt (7-7) won the division and was mauled by the Tigers 42–10.

Duke: They have the most stability with the longest tenured coach in the division, David Cutcliffe. He’s led the Blue Devils to 6 bowl games in the last 7 years. That’s very good considering Duke was a perennial doormat for most of their history.

They have to replace their starting quarterback, Daniel Jones who was the 6th overall pick in the draft.

The schedule is very tough. They start the season against Alabama in a neutral site game in Atlanta. They play both Virginia schools on the road. Then in November, they play Notre Dame, Syracuse and Miami. They will struggle to win 6 games.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are replacing Paul Johnson and his triple option scheme after 11 seasons. They will look totally different under new head coach Geoff Collins.

The Yellow Jackets will now run a spread offense, which means most of their roster does not fit that scheme. They also will have a learning curve adapting to a new scheme.

The book ends of the season are going to blow out losses to Clemson and Georgia. The games in between are somewhat manageable. I expect them to get 6 wins, mainly because there are other teams in the division with first year coaches.

Miami: The Hurricanes should be the cream of the crop. Former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is now the head coach. They also have Ohio State transfer and former five-star quarterback Tate Martell. If he’s anywhere near as good as he thinks he is then he will be a Heisman finalist.

The season begins against Florida in Orlando. After that, the schedule is easy. The Florida State game used to be a big deal but the Seminoles aren’t good anymore. Get ready for more turnover chain celebrations in 2019. I think the Hurricanes can win 10 games. At worst, I expect 9 wins.

North Carolina: Mack Brown returned to UNC and has not coached since 2013. The Tar Heels were 2-9 last year so they are very bad.

I think Brown is rusty and he inherits a bad football team. The season begins against South Carolina and 11 of 12 games are against teams that went bowling last season. They should improve but they will still have a losing record, 4 wins at best.

Pitt: The Panthers have back-to-back games against Penn State and UCF. They should win 6 or 7 games.

Virginia: UVA improved significantly last year in Bronco Mendenhall’s 3rd season on the job. Other than Notre Dame, Miami and Pitt the other games are manageable. The Cavaliers can realistically expect to win 8 games.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies only won 6 games in 2018, which is a down year for them.

They have not lost to in-state rival UVA since 2003, so I assume that’s a win. Va Tech should finish with 7-8 victories.

The Richt Time

By: JJ Lanier news services

The Urban Meyer retirement I saw coming; the Mark Richt retirement, I did not.

Whenever you have a coach as young as Richt abruptly retire, the speculation automatically turns to poor health, albeit with him or someone in his family.

I’m sure over the coming days and weeks more info will come out of Coral Gables as to the reasons why; it will also give us a little more clarification as to whether or not there’s a possibility Richt follows the aforementioned Meyer and returns to the sidelines any time soon.

Rather than try and guess any of those things, I want to take Richt retirement at face value, assume he is done coaching and talk about what legacy, if any, he leaves behind.

Since he had only two head coaching stops during his 18 years as a head coach, 15 of which were spent in Athens, your opinion of his coaching is probably based on whether his tenure at Georgia was successful.

Regardless of how you felt about Richt at the time he ceased to be Georgia’s head coach, he did have a successful run there. He took a program that had been struggling to find some consistency, amid high expectations from alumni and fans and was able to bring in some of that much sought after stability.

Georgia went from a good program to one that people outside of Athens thought could be title contenders on a regular basis.

Miami was in even more dire straits when Richt took over three years ago, and although this year didn’t live up to expectations, he was bringing that program back to respectability.

Unfortunately, despite what he was able to accomplish, I’m not sure that’s exactly what Richt will be remembered for.

As soon I wrote that his team in Coral Gables didn’t live up to expectations this year, I admit I thought “Well, isn’t that kind of his thing?” I mean, for all the triumphs he had as a head coach, his teams never quite seemed to be able to reach their potential.

When you look at all the talent that came through the program while he was there, it’s a bit surprising he didn’t win more big time games during those 15 years, isn’t it?

It’s hard to knock someone who won 2 conference titles and had the misfortune of coaching in a league with both Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, but it still always felt like Georgia could have been more.

This seems to be even more exacerbated by the success Kirby Smart has had since taking over for Richt. Smart has been more successful on the recruiting trail and was able to take them to heights- mainly being a national championship game- that Richt was never able to do.

We all like to talk about how difficult it is to follow a highly accomplished coach on any level, but sometimes it’s more damaging to the reputation to be outdone by your successor.

I have no idea if Richt will ever return to coaching, or if he even has the desire to. I imagine if he chooses to comeback at point down the road, there will a number of college football teams interested in his services. He is a good coach that seems to have a knack for elevating the level of the program he is leading. Just don’t expect him to bring you to the top of the mountain; as you’ll probably remember, that’s not exactly his forté.

A League Of Their Own

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

There are only a few games remaining in the college basketball regular season. At this point we know who the contenders and pretenders are.

The ACC has been the best conference for several years and this season is no different. Currently there are 10 teams that will qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Things have played out differently than we initially expected before the season began though. Duke was the top ranked team in the preseason so expectations were very high. The Blue Devils always compete with Kentucky for the top recruiting class and they had a lot of incoming talent.

They landed the top recruit in the class of 2017, power forward Marvin Bagley. Point guard Trevon Duval also committed to Duke and he was ranked 6th nationally. Teaming these young stars up with senior Grayson Allen sounded like a slam-dunk.

Bagley is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder and he’s missed some games with a right knee sprain.

They are 22-5 and the No. 5 team in the country so they are having a pretty good season. The surprise is that Virginia is the best team in the conference and they have a three game lead over Duke.

The Cavaliers have only lost one conference game and their top ranked nationally. They have sustained success over the last five years so maybe we should have expected this.

North Carolina has been inconsistent this season. We know the Tar Heels are the defending national champions and they played in the championship game the past two years. They lost several players from that team so we expected some growing pains.

They lost to Wofford at home in December. In ACC play they had a three game losing streak to Virginia Tech, NC State and Clemson.

They ended the streak against a terrible Pitt team then beat Duke. The Heels are a good team but too inconsistent to advance far in the tournament.

The most shocking team is Clemson because their typically doormats in basketball. The Tigers are No. 15 in the nation and fourth in the ACC. They have not made it to the NCAA Tournament since 2011. They are a legit team and they have a chance to win a couple of games once they get there.

Virginia Tech is also playing well. The Hokies are fifth in the ACC and have a winning record in conference play. After a 10-year absence from March Madness they made it in last season. This will make two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for a program that has only been nine times.

NC State is tied with Va Tech. The Wolfpack as a program have struggled with maintaining success. They beat Duke and North Carolina, which is a major accomplishment.

Louisville has performed well but they are on probation. I believe they have a post-season ban.

Two football schools, Miami and Florida State are both currently 19-8. These two programs have been very good over the last four years so maybe this should be expected at this point.

Syracuse is the final team that will make the tourney. They used to be an elite team in the Big East. After making the switch to the ACC they have been fairly disappointing.

The conference tournament will be very competitive. There is always the possibility of an unexpected team winning it.

The Smart Richt Move

By: JJ Lanier news services

There aren’t too many instances in today’s society that are win/win situations.

This is especially true in sports where the entire objective is for there to be a winner and a loser.

I mean, whole articles are written about who got the better end of a trade, or who the winners/losers are of a particular draft. Every now and again, when the moons align with Endor, and the flux capacitor reaches 1.21 jigawatts, you have a situation that plays out well for both parties involved.

Case in point: when Kirby Smart replaced Mark Richt as Georgia’s football coach. To say I was critical of the Smart hire is a bit of an understatement. The phrase “Congratulations Georgia, you just hired the Romeo Crennel of college football” may have been thrown around.

But seriously, who’s keeping track, right?

It’s not that I believe Richt shouldn’t have been let go; it’s that when you consider how the administration and fan base viewed themselves on a national level, Georgia could’ve gotten a bigger name coach.

You could argue now that they still could’ve gotten a bigger coach, but almost two years in, it’s hard to argue they could’ve found a better fit.

Smart has exceeded expectations, both on the field and in recruiting.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I thought Smart would take the same nosedive trajectory Butch Jones just took; I figured he would have some semblance of success. The level of success and how quickly Georgia has attained it is what I didn’t expect.

As for Mark Richt, I’m not sure even he could have imagined his release from Georgia turning out as well as it has. He’s coaching his Alma Mater, and is only a few wins away from an undefeated season, earning his Hurricanes a spot in playoffs.

Again, much like Smart and Georgia, I don’t think anyone is surprised that Richt is getting the best out of his players; he did a tremendous job during his tenure at Georgia.

But anyone who says they saw this type of season coming for Richt’s team, is about as trustworthy as Rick Pitino standing in a Foot Locker with a big briefcase.

One storyline that could be very interesting concerning both of these schools and I realize I’m shifting gears here a little, is the future of Jacob Eason.

At this point, unless an injury occurs to Jake Fromm, there is no way Eason takes another meaningful snap for the Bulldogs. With his bags probably already packed and one foot out the door, does Eason try to reconnect with the coach who originally recruited him to Athens? You’d have to imagine there is some mutual interest there?

Obviously, I don’t have any ties to the Georgia program, so I have no idea what if this is realistic or not, but if so will Smart allow him to transfer there, or will he block it like he did with AJ Turman?

Like I said, I’m completely in the dark on this, but it does add a little more intrigue to the whole situation.

Anyways, my point is in a profession where there is so much turnover and negativity, it’s nice to see an occasion where both parties actually benefit from a separation.

Of course, if Miami happens to make the playoffs over Georgia; well, I guess all good feelings must come to an end at some point.


The Jason Bishop Show with Kipp Branch Nov 11

The Jason Bishop Show with Kipp Branch Nov 11

Survival Saturday

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

We have several heavyweight matchups taking place in Week 11 of the college football season.

Games like #12 Washington vs. #21 Stanford and #11 Oklahoma State vs. #15 Iowa State are on the backburner. Let’s look at some of the marquee matchups.

#1 Georgia at #14 Auburn: So, the Dawgs are 9-0 for the first time since Herschel Walker was on campus (1982). They have an embarrassment of riches at running back with Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’andre Swift.

True freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has that ‘it’ factor and he made Georgia fans forget all about Jacob Eason.

The defense has been stellar ranking fourth in the nation in total defense, only giving up 254 yards per game.

Auburn looks like they finally found their stride on offense. The last time the Tigers were really explosive was 2013.

Baylor transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham received a lot of hype to before the season began. He struggled initially but he looks more comfortable running Gus Malzahn’s offense. He’s also able to rely on the power running of Kerryon Johnson. Auburn is also exceptional on defense, ranking 14th nationally in total D.

Fromm went on the road and played well in Knoxville in front of over 100,000 fans but the Vols are terrible. I think playing a good team in front of 87,451 screaming fans might cause him to make freshman mistakes. I give the edge to War Eagle.

#3 Notre Dame at #10 Miami: It’s crazy to think undefeated Miami (8-0) is only ranked tenth. They have had some luck on their side against Florida State and Georgia Tech. They are coming off of a 28-10 win against #13 Virginia Tech so their confidence is high.

The Fighting Irish are thirteenth in total offense. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush is a good runner and he’s improved his passing game.

RB Josh Adams has rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and averages 8.7 yards per carry. I think this will be a close game but Notre Dame should win.

#5 Oklahoma vs. #8 TCU: Both teams have one loss. The only chance the Big 12 has to make the college football playoff is for one of these teams to win out. The Sooners are led by Heisman frontrunner, quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The offense is clicking, coming off of a 62-52 win over in-state rival Oklahoma State. That’s also alarming that the defense gave up so many points. They’ve looked bad since the Ohio State game.

Both teams lost to the Iowa State and you know the Cyclones aren’t a great team. That tells me they both lack focus.

I think the Horned Frogs are a more complete team. TCU is sixth in total D and Oklahoma is 87th. That’s going to cost them against a good team like TCU.

#2 Alabama at #16 Mississippi State: The Bulldogs looked like contenders at the beginning of the season. They had a blowout win against LSU and we didn’t know the Tigers were overrated at the time.

Then Georgia and Auburn blew them out in consecutive weeks. Miss State is on a four game winning streak.

The Crimson Tide get to play with a chip on their shoulder after being demoted to number two.

They rank second in defense and 17th in total offense. They’re the most complete team in the nation. Mississippi State has shown that they can’t compete with elite SEC teams so this will be another bad loss.

Week 7 College Football Preview

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

We’re now in Week 7 of the college football season. We have a pretty good idea of the teams that will make the playoffs but there are some teams that are on the outside looking in. I’m going to take a look at the biggest matchups in the South.

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