Welcome to my weekly musings column on news, notes and nuggets from around local college football this weekend. Let’s dive in (but not make contact with a QB’s head for fear of getting ejected for targeting before we even get started).
- The Noles are 0-2 for the first time since 1989, when a Brett Favre-lead Southern Miss squad defeated Florida State at the Gator Bowl to start that year on a day that was reportedly well over 100 degrees. Fun fact: I was in attendance at that game, as my mom was pregnant with me in the stands.
- The sky is not falling, but it is gut check time for FSU. The vaunted defense needs to lick its wounds and bounce back fast. Jimbo Fisher needs to get his team more ready to play in all fazes of the game.
- James Blackman showed flashes against a defense that is considered one of the better in the ACC. Kid can spin it. Just needs more help.
- Speaking of help, top receiver Auden Tate had nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown before exciting with a shoulder injury. An already thin and inexperienced receiving corps cannot afford to lose its top target for long.
- The offensive line needs to block for the running game better, plain and simple.
- This week’s road game against Wake Forest will not be a cakewalk, with the Deacs 4-0 so far this season. Should be a get-right game for the defense at least, as the WF offense is nowhere near as good as NC State’s (with no disrespect to my fellow Crusaders John Wolford & Chuck Wade).
- Two straight weeks, two opponents and opposing fan bases that half to be the sickest in America following defeat at the hands of the Gators.
- What is this team? They keep winning, yet no one thinks they are all that good, myself included.
- Saw this stat that both astounded me and also felt hollow somehow
- One thing that seem to be set coming into the Kentucky game was that Felipe Franks was the quarterback. Now, my money is that we see him again at some point this season, and maybe even Zaire again. Does not feel like anything is off the table, and I have a hard time thinking Luke Del Rio is going to run with the job now that he is the starter again.
- The update today on Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett seems to solidify the belief that they will not return. So no influx of talent is coming to save the Gator offense. Can it continue to improve despite the unevenness through the first three games?
- Certainly some post-Irma rust down in Coral Gables, as in Tallahassee. A better team might have got the Canes.
- On the other side, this team, unlike versions of Miami in the past, seem less likely to let slow starts doom them. I would say the head coach has something to do with that.
- Goodness gracious, Mark Walton is the truth. How does one average 18.5 yards a carry in a game in college. On 11 carries. After leaving the game in the first half with a bum ankle. Scary good.
- Biggest risk for The U right now is overlooking an improved and always pesky Duke squad on the road on Friday night with Florida State and that seven game losing streak to their in-state rivals looming.
- JU opened up Pioneer Football League play on the road and jumped out to a 22-9 lead before surviving a flurry of scores in the fourth quarter from Marist to improve to 2-1.
- The game had a little bit of everything: JU QB Rylan Wells accounted for five touchdowns, the defense intercepted four passes, both teams scored on special teams (Marist kickoff return for TD, JU blocked PAT returned for two) within 30 seconds of each other, and both teams turned it over on downs in the others territory.
- If you are a little blue due to the offensive deficiencies in both Gainesville and Tallahassee right now, get a dose of Vitamin “O” when the Dolphins host Guilford this weekend. JU puts up points against evenly matched opponents, but the scoreboard should look like a slot machine this Saturday.
Best of the Rest
- Hottest name in the coaching carousel right now? Maybe Scott Frost. The UCF coach seems to be the de facto replacement for Mike Riley at Nebraska already (and while Riley has not been fired yet, he may have third degree burns from his hot seat).
- The Knights are 2-0 after pasting the same Maryland team that opened the year beating the pants off Texas in Austin. Remember when UCF went winless two years ago? Just a blip on the radar now.
- I’ve long felt that UCF was the bigger sleeping giant of the two directional Florida schools with FBS football programs. Better facilities, support, fans and has major bowl win under its belt in the last five years. If they can keep Frost in the part of Orlando not named Disney (poor Frozen reference, mea culpa, mea culpa), then the Knights should be one of the favorites to get the group of five bid next year. And yes, I think they are a year away.
- Thursday, Saturday, Tampa, west coast, it does not seem to matter, Charlie Strong has USF rolling in his first year.
- The other side of the coin is, USF have played four bad teams, and do not have a good team on the schedule until perhaps UCF at the end of the year. Could the War on I-4 decide the AAC champ?
- When a kicker making two field goals is the headline of your first win, you know you have a long way to go. Congrats on the first W at FIU Butch Davis, now go fix your offense.
- Lane Kiffin and FAU lost to Buffalo. And not the UB that I won back-to-back Sugar Bowls with in NCAA Football 07 either. The great Lane experiment in Boca is off to yet another roaring start.