What to Know
The Miami Dolphins are back in action for what is essentially a must win game in their hopes to get back to the playoffs.
The Miami Hurricanes, despite ending their losing streak last week, know that they can’t let up against one of the ACC’s surprise teams.
Now that the first day of turkey and stuffing and pie has finished (with days of leftovers to come) and gifts have been purchased even before the calendar turned to Black Friday, sports fans can turn their attention to something better: a weekend of football that is beyond important for teams in South Florida and across the state.
The Miami Dolphins are back in action for what is essentially a must win game in their hopes to get back to the playoffs while the Miami Hurricanes, despite ending their losing streak last week, know that they can’t let up against one of the ACC’s surprise teams.
Meanwhile, the other two traditional college football powers in Florida meet for their annual post-holiday feast – this one maybe being the most important in the series’ history that doesn’t have a title on the line for what streaks could be broken.
We break it all down for you with our NBC 6 not-so-scientific ranking system.
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday)
After starting the season 3-0 and having the whole world wondering if this was the season the team could turn around, Miami has lost five of their last seven games before the bye week last Sunday. With just three of their final six foes having records of .500 or better – including the 5-5 Colts this weekend – head coach Adam Gase knows they will need to get an upset win along the way to clinch a playoff spot. Having quarterback Ryan Tannehill back under center should improve their chances.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (Saturday)
On the other side of the spectrum, the ‘Canes have struggled of late with four straight losses before a convincing win last weekend against Virginia Tech on the road. While Miami, which dismissed leading wide receiver Jeff Thomas from the team this week, knows they will be going to a bowl game, they also know that a loss to the Panthers and in that bowl game will mean a losing season for the second time in the last five seasons – a far fall from a team that started the season ranked in the top 10.
Marshall Thundering Herd at FIU Panthers (Saturday)
Don’t look now, but the Panthers are one win away from playing for the Conference USA title for the first time in program history and having a shot at the first outright conference title in program history as well. Needless to say, head coach Butch Davis has something cooking on Southwest 8th Street – but they can’t afford a loss to a Marshall team who is just one game behind them in the race for the title.
Florida State Seminoles vs. Florida Gators (Saturday)
Speaking of losing seasons, the Seminoles haven’t had one since the 1976 campaign – but that could all change this weekend with a loss to the Gators, a team that hasn’t beaten their rivals in the last five games. The Noles were in this same positon last year and blew out Florida, but the Gators have been noticeably better this season under Dan Mullen and would love nothing more than to be the reason an over four decade old streak – as well as FSU’s streak of going to a bowl game every year since 1982 – comes to an end.
UCF Knights vs. USF Bulls (Friday)
Last season, this was one of the most interesting games of the Thanksgiving weekends that went down to the wire with the Knights coming out on top in their road toward a claimed national title.
This season, UCF comes in as a heavy favorite after the Bulls have dropped several games this season – but with the game being in Tampa, USF would love nothing more than to end the nation’s longest win streak owned by their I-4 foes.
Other State Games
The Florida Atlantic Owls will look to get bowl eligible in their regular season finale against the Charlotte 49ers in Boca Raton.
In the pro game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the San Francisco 49ers while the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the road to face the Buffalo Bills – with all four teams having a combined record of 10-30 on the season.