UCF Knights

Sunshine Rivalry

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

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com 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.