For the second time in the 2021 season, the two teams that call Hard Rock Stadium home will be back in South Florida and in action - with both teams knowing this could be as close to a must win weekend as possible.
For the Miami Hurricanes, the big win last weekend over an inferior foe has fans wondering if that is going to be the true ‘Canes that show up the rest of the season…or just a one weekend joy ahead of an ACC schedule that could be deceptive with a conference that is all over the place this season.
For the Miami Dolphins, a disappointing loss last weekend on the road has head coach Brian Flores hoping the players stick with the plan - a plan that would like to be at .500 before next weekend’s game against the defending Super Bowl champs.
What about FIU, who heads back to the Sunshine State for maybe their biggest game on the schedule when it comes to bragging rights over a hated foe.
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Can South Florida get a 'triple win weekend' or will something - or some team - get in their ways? As always, we break it all down with our NBC 6 not-so-scientific system.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Cavaliers (Thursday)
The conference opener for the ‘Canes comes in the only scheduled weekday game of the regular season, five days after a blowout 69-0 victory over Central Connecticut State that has some wondering if Miami has finally woken up from a sloppy 1-2 start to the season.
Over the past decade, the ‘Canes have not lost to Virginia in South Florida and have won five of the last six meetings between the teams in this series. For Miami to even sniff a shot at the second ACC Championship Game in program history, the Hurricanes know getting conference win number one is a no brainer.
Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts (Sunday)
Last week’s heartbreaking overtime loss on the road to the Las Vegas Raiders has some wondering what happened to the Dolphins team that started the season with such an important road win. Now, Flores and company know going 1-3 to start the season is not an option with what’s coming up next weekend.
Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett didn’t look all that bad in throwing for 215 yards, but a critical error gave the Raiders a safety and ultimately the win. Don’t think for a second that the Palm Beach County native doesn’t have redemption on his mind against his former team, who come into this weekend with an 0-3 record.
FIU Panthers at FAU Owls (Saturday)
For the 20th time, the rivals whose campus sit just 56 miles apart will meet on the football field with the Panthers looking for their first win in the series since the 2016 battle. It won’t be easy as FIU comes into this game on a three-game losing streak – one that has some wondering if this is the final ride for coach Butch Davis.
Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats (Saturday)
While it may make some fans of the ‘Canes and FSU sick, the Gators bounced back just fine from their loss to Alabama with a convincing win last weekend at home. This game will be their first real road test of the season and the first of three games in the month of October that could be the difference between playing for the SEC championship or playing in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
FSU Seminoles vs. Syracuse Orange (Saturday)
For the first time since the 1974 season, the Seminoles have started off the season with four straight losses…and yet, somehow, are still the favorite in this game. Syracuse will aim to do something besides extend their record to 4-1 with a win: get the first victory over the ‘Noles in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will aim to give this writer something to cheer about this college football season.
Other State Games
The UCF Knights return to action after a week off, looking to bounce back from their upset loss to Louisville by taking on Navy. The USF Bulls will begin conference play against SMU while FAMU will also begin their time in the SWAC by hosting Alabama State. Bethune Cookman, who beat ASU last weekend, faces old rival South Carolina State on the road.
In the NFL, the winless Jacksonville Jaguars are back on the road with a Thursday night showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals that dozens of people can’t wait to watch. The Tampa Bay Bucs are on the road for Sunday Night Football (right here on NBC 6) as they take on the New England Patriots. Hmm…Brady’s return against Belichick...maybe you’ve heard about it.