All in all, this was as good a weekend as teams in the state probably could have asked for, with those needing wins getting them and those who have been winning keeping it going (QB injuries notwithstanding).
- Luke Del Rio will go down as potentially the most star-crossed in a long line of star-crossed quarterbacks at Florida. Del Rio’s broken collarbone will end his career at Florida, his third official stop in a college career that was as stop and start as any we’ve seen. Curious to see if he gets into coaching or something else next, but godspeed to him in his future.
- And the Felipe Franks roller coaster continues. What should encourage Gator fans was Franks performance against what is considered to be a relatively stout Vanderbilt defense, posting an efficient 10/14 for 185 yards. They’ll need a performance like that this week against a talented, yet probably approaching desperate, LSU team.
- The sudden appearance of a viable rushing attack certainly makes matters better for the offense moving forward as well. With Jordan Scarlett’s future at UF still up in the air, Malik Davis topping the century mark and Lamical Perine chipping in with over 50 of his own is encouraging for an offense still searching for its identity.
- At the end of the day, the Gators keep winning. If there is one defining characteristic to the Jim McElwain era so far, its the somewhat inexplicable way Florida consistently wins while almost always looking bad doing it. A far cry from the flash of the Spurrier and Meyer eras.
- Who beats this team? Georgia seems an obvious answer, but the Bulldogs are playing both Florida and recent demons. Texas A&M? South Carolina? Florida State? One could certainly make the argument right now that the Gators will be favored in all but in Jacksonville the rest of the way.
- A win is a win is a win. This one was the first for the Noles since December 30 of last year. It wasn’t pretty either, and took a late TD strike to put away a pesky and much improved Wake Forest bunch on the road. Can this prove to be a building block moving forward?
- I know the quarterback was going to be an issue with an unproven true freshman taking the reigns, but what has been disappointing is the lack of players around him that have stepped up. Outside of Auden Tate at receiver, and finally a good game from running back Jacques Patrick, there have been a lack of playmakers and help from the offensive line.
- Speaking of quarterbacks, it feels like what has happened at FSU this year (and schools like UCLA in the past) is a reflection of the current climate of transfers. Players don’t stick it out like they used to, with QBs all thinking they can make it in the NFL and just need a chance, leading players to bolt immediately after losing starting jobs and leaving high profile programs thin at that position if and when injuries do strike.
- This is Miami’s best chance at ending its losing streak to Florida State (which currently stands at seven straight). Florida State should not need extra help getting ready for this one at home.
- Those who follow me on twitter know my thoughts on the targeting rule, but I will give credit where credit is due, the refs got it right going to the monitor and reversing the call on Derwin James late in the second quarter.
- In what was seen as a potential trap game at Duke on a Friday night, the Hurricanes rolled. This team just continues to take care of business, but face its biggest test to date this season at Florida State this Saturday.
- Mark Walton, who was still running the ball late in the fourth quarter despite a nagging ankle problem and a lopsided scoreboard, is expected to play after reaggravating the injury Friday. He is much needed for the Canes to take pressure off its own young QB, Malik Rosier.
- The defense is a huge strength so far this season, and must be licking its chops facing a Florida State offense that has yet to find a rhythm.
- After Virginia Tech’s loss to Clemson Saturday night, a win for the Canes would put them in the drivers seat for its first ever Coastal Division title.
- The Dolphins played an outmanned Division III opponent Saturday, but largely took care of business the way they needed to. The first two offensive plays went for long touchdowns and JU rushed for a new program record 514 yards.
- Next up: Davidson. Campbell, Drake and San Diego are all 2-0 in PFL play so far, and JU can match them with a win Saturday. Dayton, who had only lost two games in the league the two previous seasons combined, is 0-2, so the challenger to San Diego could come out of anyone of the other teams already mentioned, or JU.
- Dolphins host San Diego and travel to Campbell in back-to-back weeks to end the month of October, and we’ll know if JU will have a shot at its first conference championship since 2010 by then.
Best of the Rest
- UCF steamrolled a good Memphis team at home, and continues to roll on offense under Scott Frost. This team seems to be a greater contender for the Group of Five spot every week.
- USF continues to win too, and the American is undoubtedly to be decided in the state. Quinton Flowers is the best QB in the state too.
- FIU improved to 2-0 in the Conference USA and 3-1 overall in year one under Butch Davis. The Butch effects seem to be in full swing again. Good barometer this week at Middle Tennessee State.
- After a brutal loss to Buffalo, FAU picked up an impressive win vs. MTSU. Lane Kiffin’s offense seems to be finding some life. An overmatched Old Dominion is next, before a bye week to prepare for a resurgent North Texas bunch.
A perfect weekend for the state, won’t stay that way this week. Game of the week will be Miami at Florida State, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Tallahassee.