College Football Round-Up
September 30, 2018
From the University of Miami’s surprising loss against Louisiana State University to constant struggles for Florida State University, this college football season has not been kind to the Sunshine State.
Fans considered the Miami Hurricanes as NCAA national title contenders before the season began. Despite losing to the University of Wisconsin in the 2017 Orange Bowl, the Hurricanes ranked eighth in the 2018 preseason Associated Press polls.
The Hurricanes’ high ranking did not last long.
The Hurricanes suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Louisiana State University’s Tigers, 33-17, who ranked at number 25 on the same AP poll. The Hurricanes dropped to 22, as the Tigers scored 33-3 at the end of the third quarter.
However, the LSU loss may have looked worse than it actually was. UM bounced back the following week with their biggest win in franchise history against Savannah State University in a 77-0 victory. Since then, the Canes have also won games against the University of Toledo, Florida International University and the University of North Carolina, and haven’t lost a game since. After the release of the latest AP poll, the Hurricanes are currently ranked 17th in the nation.
One of the Hurricanes’ most prominent issues amongst sports analysts and fans alike has been the performance of redshirt senior quarterback Malik Rosier. One of the biggest problems regarding Rosier is his throwing accuracy. In the final three games of the 2017 season, the only games the Hurricanes lost, Rosier completed 40 out of his 89 passes, which was a dismal 45 percent accuracy rate. He also threw five interceptions and completed only three touchdowns. In the season opener, Rosier completed 15 out of 35 passes with a 43 percent accuracy rate and threw one touchdown, but also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned by LSU for a touchdown.
However, a new source of hope for the Hurricanes has risen in freshman quarterback N’Kosi Perry. As the season continues, Perry has been given more opportunities to play, and he has taken advantage of it. He has completed 26 out of 39 passes with a 67 percent accuracy rate, along with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Eventually, Perry rose to the starting position against North Carolina, which led to an eruption of cheers from fans at Hard Rock Stadium. With Perry as quarterback, many Miami fans are excited for what this season could hold.
“I think the Hurricanes should start N’Kosi Perry… so he can learn how to roll with the offense,” sophomore and Hurricanes fan Aaron Schurr said.
Four hundred and ninety miles away from the UM campus, in Tallahassee, things haven’t been too smooth for the Florida State Seminoles either. Starting the season ranked 19th in the AP Poll, FSU has entered a downward spiral and, as of week five of college football, FSU is no longer receiving any votes to be ranked.
The Seminoles’ season started with a loss to then ranked 20 Virginia Tech in a 24-3 rout. The following week, they barely escaped against Samford University despite being a 33 point favorite. The Seminoles were then beaten 30-7 to the University of Syracuse. After this loss, FSU fell out of voting consideration for the polls despite a 37-19 victory against Northern Illinois and a 28-24 comeback win against Louisville. However, this could change next week when FSU meets UM in a very highly anticipated matchup across South Florida.
Many fans have been critical of FSU head coach Willie Taggart. An example of fans’ criticism was a sign at ESPN show College GameDay. The sign read, “You can’t spell Willie Taggart without two L’s”, including the hashtag “#DoBetter” at the bottom, showing fans frustration with Taggart’s subpar opening games with FSU. The Seminoles have only scored 20.8 points per game this season, 115th out of 130 FBS college football teams and have given up 24.8 points per game, tied for 67th best with Boston College. However, some fans like Palmetto High junior Johnny Griffin think Taggart should be given a chance before he gets kicked to the curb.
“Every coach has something in them,” Griffin said.
The Florida Gators have also gone through an up and down season. After entering the AP Poll rankings at 25th during week two, they immediately lost to Kentucky, who were unranked at the time but are currently ranked 17th, by a score of 27-16, and fell back out of the rankings the following week. However, the Gators have been fighting their way back into the polls. They beat Colorado State and Tennessee by an average margin of 32 points. After upsetting Mississippi State, who was ranked 23rd when the teams met, the Gators have re-entered the AP poll at 22nd, while Mississippi State is no longer ranked.
One of the more shocking teams this season in Florida was the University of Central Florida. After going undefeated last year, some fans expected UCF would fall off after head coach Scott Frost became the coach at Nebraska and star linebacker Shaquem Griffin was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. But so far, UCF has been one of the only Florida college football teams to stay undefeated, and due to their consistency this year, they have risen from 21st to 12th in the AP Poll throughout the year. While some fans question if UCF should be ranked that high, other fans think they deserve their place in the polls.
“[UCF’s rise] didn’t surprise me, because they’ve been playing well and earned it,” sophomore Jesse Weingarden said.
This season has truly been a roller coaster for Florida football. However, there’s still plenty of time left for things to change for any team, for better or for worse.