NBC 6 Weekend Football Preview: Finally, a Full Slate of Games

For the first time in 2017, football fans in the state of Florida will get a full slate of both college and pro football games this weekend. With Hurricane Irma in the rearview mirror, all three NFL teams and major college football teams will take the field – starting with USF getting a win Thursday night.

If you’re a fan of the Miami Hurricanes or Florida State Seminoles, you might be a little rusty with this season considering both teams haven’t played since September 2nd – with both teams cancelling their games on September 9th and moving their rivalry showdown the following weekend to October 7th.

In the pro game, the Miami Dolphins head into battle with a hated rival after pulling out a win in their season opener last weekend – the first of 16 straight games thanks to Irma. Here’s a preview of their AFC East showdown and how it and the other top Sunshine State action ranks this weekend.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins scores a touchdown against the New York Jets during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on December 17, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

After waiting an extra week to start their season, the Dolphins got a much closer than it should have been win against the Los Angeles Chargers, converting a late field goal and watching L.A.’s kick go wide to secure the victory. Quarterback Jay Cutler completed over 72 percent of his passes for 230 yards and one touchdown in his first regular season game with Miami.

On the other side of the field will be the hated rival Jets – who won’t be competing for any championships this season except for the award for worst team in the NFL. New York has dropped their first two games of the season, including a bad 45-20 loss last week against the Oakland Raiders. Miami swept both games last season while the series has been even (seven wins for each team) this decade.

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Miami Hurricanes vs. Toledo Rockets

It seems like so long ago that Mark Richt’s team took the field inside Hard Rock Stadium for their opener against Bethune Cookman. Three weeks later, the Hurricanes will head back from Orlando – where they have held camp this past week – for the second game of the year against a Rockets team that is undefeated so far in 2017.

It will be a slightly better challenge for Malik Rosier, who won his second ever start in the opener but wasn’t challenged much by the FCS team’s defense. With games looming on the schedule against Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, Richt will be hoping his starter can pick up the learning curve in time for the meat of the schedule.

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GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 10: Lamical Perine #22 of the Florida Gators rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats

Sometimes in football, it’s better to be lucky than good – a statement that could be attributed to the Gators after their Hail Mary touchdown pass as time expired gave them a win over Tennessee last weekend. The much criticized offense found the end zone twice last week for the first time this season, while the defense again played like one of the best in the country.

The Wildcats, who haven’t beaten Florida in football since the 1986 season and currently holds the longest losing streak to an opponent in college football, enter the game 3-0 after beating South Carolina last weekend. Two of the last three wins by the Gators have been by six points or less, so this might be the best chance Kentucky has to get a win.

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TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMEBER 14: Jacques Patrick #9 of the Florida State Seminoles looks for a hole in the North Carolina State Wolfpack defense during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Florida State Seminoles beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack 34-17. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)

Florida State Seminoles vs. N.C. State Wolfpack

Much like the Hurricanes, the Seminoles have been watching football instead of playing since the first weekend of September. Just one game in, the season has been a nightmare for Florida State – who both lost their opener against top ranked Alabama and lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois in the process.

The home opener for the Noles now becomes a Wolfpack team that some think might be a dark horse in the ACC Atlantic Division this year. Quarterback Ryan Finley almost led NC State to an upset of FSU last season, while the Seminoles will be starting true freshman James Blackman at quarterback. A former star recruit from Belle Glade, Blackman will look for help from his veterans and a defense that played dramatically better in the opener than they did last season.

Other State Games

The FIU Panthers will also be returning to the field after cancelling their game last week against Indiana, hitting the road to take on the Rice Owls in their Conference USA opener. The Florida Atlantic Owls will also be on the road taking on Buffalo, while the UCF Knights will take on the Maryland Terrapins in a nationally televised game.

In the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will hit the road when they take on the Minnesota Vikings while the Jacksonville Jaguars will make their yearly trip to London for the league’s International Series when they face off with the Baltimore Ravens.

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