At the start of the 2021 football season, it was thought the middle weekend in October would be important for several reasons: it was supposed to the game weekend where the Miami Hurricanes cemented their spot in the ACC title game chase and the Miami Dolphins became a playoff contender in the NFL.
Now, it’s more like the weekend where the ‘Canes start a three game stretch of games they could easily sweep or be swept in (a perfect time for a new full-time starting quarterback) while the Dolphins are in the middle of their worst losing streak since starting the 2019 season with seven straight setbacks.
The middle of October might still be weeks away from Halloween, but it’s quite a scary time for South Florida’s football programs. But, look on the bright side: at least FIU can’t lose again this weekend (because they don’t play).
Can the ‘Canes turn around their fortunes as they officially begin the Van Dyke era on a full-time basis? Can the Dolphins avoid getting swept by their Sunshine State foes (having to fly all the way across the Atlantic Ocean in the process)? As always, we break it all down with our NBC 6 not-so-scientific system.
Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday)
The keys to the offense are no longer in the hands of quarterback D’Eriq King after it was announced Monday that he’s done for the season with shoulder surgery. Now, it’s Tyler Van Dyke’s turn after he split his two starts of the season - neither coming against the level of competition he will see in the coming weeks.
Sure, UNC got dominated at home last week by a FSU team that just has two wins this season. But, it’s also a UNC team that dominated Miami when the teams played last season so they won’t be afraid of the ‘Canes at all. With games that follow against N.C. State and Pitt, Miami can ill afford a losing streak starting now.
Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars in London (Sunday)
I’m sure the fans of the NFL who live across the ocean are more than thrilled to have two teams playing with a combined record of 1-9, but most of that blame can go toward a Dolphins team in the middle of a three game losing streak where two of those defeats were against teams Miami shouldn’t have lost to.
The jury is still out on whether quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will get the start in this one after missing the last three weeks due to injury, but the jury will not be out on the Dolphins if they lose against a Jacksonville team that is in a slightly longer losing streak: 20 games to be exact.
Florida Gators at LSU Tigers (Saturday)
Last season, the Gators were a ranked team that had no business even thinking about losing to a Tigers team they were much better than. One shoe toss later, Florida found themselves starting a three-game losing streak. This season, Florida comes in ranked against a Tigers team they are much better than. Someone make sure all the cleats are fastened in this one.
Other State Games
The Panthers, FAU and FSU - which has the longest winning streak of Florida’s FBS teams at…two games - are off this week while the UCF Knights is on the road at No. 3 Cincinnati. The USF Bulls are at home against Tulsa, the FAMU Rattlers are on the road against Alabama A&M and Bethune-Cookman is at home against Prairie View A&M.
In the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated their blowout win of the Dolphins last weekend with another win on Thursday as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles.
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