ORLANDO - Well, at least Florida and UCF have played well enough to win their first two games. The Gators defeated in-state foe USF 42-20 to reach 2-0, while UCF hammered Bethune-Cookman 63-14 to begin the 2021 season 2-0 as well.
Before going over the Gators and Knights, time to talk about the lack of production from Florida State, Miami and USF, three programs that simply look bad. In some cases, it's really bad.
Florida State’s disaster finish against Jacksonville State proved once again that the Seminoles are no place near the program it once was. Consider the following statistics as a current measurement for the Florida State Football program.
Beyond the big play allowed at the end of the Jacksonville State game, there are trends to be concerned about for the Seminoles. In two games, Florida State allowed 608 passing yards. During those same two games, the Seminoles allowed opponents to convert 41.2% of their third downs.
Those two statistics alone likely provide a strong influence for why the Seminoles started off the 2021 season at 0-2. The following point about Florida State might hit home the hardest for those that root for the Seminoles.
Jacksonville State lost its first game to UAB 31-0. Then it turned around and knocked off Florida State 20-17. Of course the ending of the Jacksonville at Florida State game is of particular importance.
The following video says it all about the current situation in Tallahassee:
Moving on to Miami, losing badly to Alabama is one thing. The Crimson Tide beat up most opponents. Fair enough. Still, Miami played poorly during that game. Against Appalachian State, however, the Hurricanes should be good enough to win by two touchdowns or more.
That did not happen. Needing a late drive and field goal to win, the Hurricanes barely hung on to win over the Mountaineers, 25-23.
Miami’s skill talent at running back, wide receiver and tight end only generated 6.1 yards per reception. That’s against Appalachian State. It’s a quality program, but no place near the overall athleticism the Hurricanes possess. Further, Miami’s offense only converted five third down conversions from 16 attempts. That’s a horrendous 31.3%.
Then there's the hapless USF Football program. Once a ranked team in the polls less than a decade ago, it’s fallen on the hardest of times from all the Florida college football programs.
The Bulls were butchered 45-0 by North Carolina State during week one action, and lost to Florida 42-20 on Saturday. Being outscored 87-20 during your first two games does not leave much hope for the immediate future.
The Bulls generated little offense in either game, rushing for a paltry 2.9 yards per carry from the two matchups. The lack of a running attack hindered the passing game, too. USF quarterbacks have combined to complete just 30 of 61 passes for a 49.2% completion rate.
It’s going to be a long year in Tampa for the USF Football program. Perhaps there is still hope for college football programs located inside the Sunshine State.
The two college football programs that actually won yesterday did so convincingly, as expected. Of course one of the matchups -- Florida at USF -- featured two in-state programs so one of them had to lose. The Gators first true test will be at home against a dominant Alabama team that most college football voters believe is the best team in the nation (Alabama received 1,571 points to be ranked No. 1 in this week’s AP Poll).
As for the Knights, they will travel to Kentucky and play Louisville this upcoming Friday evening. It’s sure to be a test as well.
Once the results are in from Florida hosting Alabama and UCF traveling to Louisville, further insight about college football programs in Florida. For now, know that three of the programs in Florida are not playing good football. It’s concerning.
This once proud football state has fallen on some hard times. Perhaps the Gators and/or Knights will help to carry the torch for the State of Florida while the other three programs continue to fall into continued disarray. We will all know more after this next weekend’s college football action.