2020 season

NBC 6 (Early) Weekend Football Preview: South Florida Welcomes Back the Pigskin…For Now

We break it all down with NBC 6's not-so-scientific ranking system

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After six months of devastation across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, a sense of normalcy comes back starting Thursday night - the road to .500 football begins this weekend for the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes.

Fans of both teams won't find that joke funny, but the fact of the matter is the teams have combined to win their divisions twice since the 2004 season. While both fanbases continue to brag with their swag, the results haven't matched the talk for the most part.

So, why is the confidence so high with both teams? Well, between a star studded transfer at quarterback for the 'Canes and the assumed next great signal caller for the Fins, hope and promise is through the roof.

Action starts this weekend for both teams as well as UM's hated rivals and South Florida's HBCU that hasn't taken the field in over six decades - and we break it all down with NBC 6's not-so-scientific ranking system.

Miami Hurricanes vs. UAB Blazers (Thursday)

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Miami will get their one non-conference game out of the way in the start of head coach Manny Diaz's second season - and they are doing so against the one non-ACC team they had scheduled who has the best chance of pulling off the upset.

Diaz is putting all his hopes of getting the fanbase to forget about last season's 6-7 record and three game losing streak to end the year in the right arm of quarterback D'Eriq King, who was the most sought after grad transfer this offseason and instantly made the 'Canes a viable threat.

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (Sunday)

FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 29: Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, far left, is enveloped by his teammates after his third quarter 2-yard touchdown run. New England Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore walks away from the visiting team. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

When last these teams faced off, the Fins shocked the Patriots in their home season to keep New England from earning a first round bye - forcing them to play a Wild Card round game they would lose which led Tom Brady to leave the team. You're welcome, America.

Miami has the confidence knowing they can compete against the team who has won the division 11 straight seasons. Now, in head coach Brian Flores' second year, can they turn that momentum into being a team that might win the AFC East for the first time since the 2008 season?

FSU Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday)

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 24: The Florida State Seminoles greet the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at midfield before the game in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Seminoles will start the Mike Novell head coaching era - their third full time head coach in the last four seasons - facing a Georgia Tech team for the first time since the 2015 season, when the Jackets pulled off the shocking upset on their way to a robust 3-9 season.

FSU knows they need to get a convincing win in the opener ahead of their first bye week of the season - which comes before road games against rival Miami, Notre Dame and Louisville all taking place before Halloween. Any sign of struggle might be the first sign of worry for fans in garnet and gold.

Other State Games

With the other five FBS teams in Florida - UF, UCF, USF, FAU and FIU - not starting for a few weeks and the FCS teams of Florida A&M, Bethune Cookman and Stetson not playing, there is just one other college game taking place: the first revival game for Florida Memorial, which hasn't played since 1958, when the Lions take on Keiser University in West Palm Beach on Saturday.

In the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers start their season on the road at the New Orleans Saints with the Bucs starting their new quarterback - some guy named Tom Brady - while the Jacksonville Jaguars start their road toward what could be a rough season after letting go of some top players from last season by hosting the Indianapolis Colts.

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