While the Miami Dolphins are enjoying a bye week after four straight wins against teams with losing records, college football will be in full force across the Sunshine State with all the big names in action – and South Florida’s squads fighting for their postseason lives.
The Miami Hurricanes, fresh off their blowout win over a bad team, hit the road for a game that many pundits expected to see a rematch of in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the FIU Panthers hit the road desperate to get the taste out of their mouths from yet another blowout loss to a hated rival.
Meanwhile, two of the state’s top programs have tune-up games before they renew their rivalry in a game that will mean something for the first time in a long while. Plus, one of the best atmospheres in college football takes place this weekend with both teams heading in opposite directions.
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Can the ‘Canes salvage some kind of momentum against the ACC’s dominate team this season? Can FIU get a needed win and make next week’s home finale worth something? We rank all the games with our NBC 6 not-so-scientific system.
Miami Hurricanes at Clemson Tigers (Saturday)
Before the season started, this was the matchup that the media predicted would be in the ACC Championship Game in two weeks. The Tigers held up to their end of the bargain and will be in Charlotte while the ‘Canes are still needing a win just to make it to a bowl game.
Assuming things play out the way they should - and yes, upsets are possible but even this one might be a little much - Miami will find themselves in a spot they have not been in decades: needing a victory in the home finale just to avoid the first losing regular season since 2007.
FIU Panthers at UTEP Miners (Saturday)
A lot of the good will that the Panthers built up over this season went away with yet another blowout loss in the Shula Bowl against rival FAU. The good news at this point is that their final two opponents have records of .500 or worse so the chance is still there that FIU can become bowl eligible.
FSU Seminoles vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (Saturday)
The ‘Noles enter the final two games of the regular season with their best record since the 2016 season and have realistic hopes of making it to a decent bowl game (even the Orange Bowl is a possible spot). Before their home finale next week with the chance to become state champs of Florida, FSU could become the state champs of Louisiana as well with a win here after beating LSU in September.
Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores (Saturday)
Don’t look now, but a two-game win streak has the orange and blue bowl eligible and feeling a lot better about themselves heading into the final two games of the regular season. A win in Nashville could make them a lot more confident heading into next week’s game at their hated rival.
Other State Games
The FAU Owls are on the road at Middle Tennessee State while the UCF Knights are at home against Navy. The USF Bulls are at Tulsa on Friday night while the annual Florida Classic takes place Saturday in Orlando between the FAMU Rattlers and the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
In the NFL, not only are the Dolphins off this week but so are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.