Florida's High Hopes of a Title Begin Tonight Against Rival Miami (FL)

Florida player raises his Gators helmet.  Photo courtesy of floridagators.com

Florida player raises his Gators helmet. Photo courtesy of floridagators.com

The FBS college football season kicks off tonight with a matchup between two in-state rivals in Florida and Miami (FL). Two historic, thoroughbred programs going head to head in one of the biggest rivalries in college football.

This marks the 55th meeting between the Gators and Hurricanes. The last time they met, Miami won 21-16 in 2013. Florida haven’t had the best of times winning recent meeting either, losing seven of the last eight and 12 of the last 16.

This week’s Sports University Team of the Week, as voted on by you guys, is the Florida Gators. There are a number of things Florida are looking to accomplish this season. A win on opening week would be nice, but let’s give some quick background on the Gators preseason.

Head coach Dan Mullen is back for his second season as Gators’ head coach and has his team in a pretty good spot. The team return thirteen starts from last season. Five on offense and eight on defense. No one more important to the team than quarterback Feleipe Franks.

Florida are looking to build off their great finish to last season as they destroyed Florida State (41-14) in the regular season finale and Michigan (41-15) in the Gators' bowl game.

The Gators are ranked 8th in the AP Top 25 poll, which is their highest preseason ranking since Urban Meyer was last in Gainesville in 2010.

But the Gators have high hopes to this season and are hyped for not only this game but the entire season, just ask Feleipe Franks.

“I think this team is really special,” Franks said. “We expect to go out there and win every Saturday and try to make it a playoff contender and win a championship here again. That's the expectations here every year.”

Florida could very well be a team that plays spoiler in the SEC and makes it into the playoff for the first time. It starts with a big game on one of the biggest stages, given this matchup was featured for ESPN’s College Gameday. Speaking of College Gameday, Lee Corso gave his pick for tonight’s game.

“Everybody's watching,” Florida receiver Freddie Swain said. “Who doesn't like attention?”

As for Miami (FL), change was a good word for the offseason. Mark Richt retired, Manny Diaz took over and surprised some when he named Jarren Williams the starter for the season over Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and N’Kosi Perry who played most of last season. Diaz trusts that Williams can be the guy for his team.

“We believe we can win with all three guys,” Diaz said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “However, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination.”

A couple of weeks ago, Williams let people know what he can do.

“I feel like I'm an elite passer,” Williams said per ESPN.com . “I can make all the throws, even in tight windows. What a lot of people don't know is that I can extend plays with my feet. I'm not a slow guy. I can tuck the ball and get 15 yards. I can make a guy miss, but I am a pass-first guy. I stand in the pocket and trust the pocket and get the ball to my receivers.”

The Hurricanes are the underdogs in this game; a 7-point underdog according to ESPN. The Gators can’t afford to overlook this talented Miami team if they are to get their 2019-2020 campaign off to a good start. an Mullen made that clear at SEC Media Days earlier in this summer.

“I like to set the bar really high,"Mullen said. “I don't know if there's anybody out there that has higher expectations for the team as a program than I do. We like to set that bar high, and we're constantly striving to be the absolute best that we can be.”

Bring out and all the tailgating, football loving, tradition embracing passion you have because the college football season starts tonight!

Sports University College Football Predictions

Over the past couple of months, on the Sports University Podcast, I have been going through each FBS conference and predicting team records, conference champions and discussing offseason headlines. This past Friday, I concluded the preview and gave my College Football Playoff prediction along with my national champion. Let’s go through it now in podcast form!

As far as conference champions are concerned, check the list below for my predicted winner:

American Conference (AAC) - UCF Golden Knights

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) - Clemson Tigers

Big 10 Conference - Michigan Wolverines

Big 12 Conference - Oklahoma Sooners

Conference USA - Marshall Thundering Herd

Mid-American Conference (MAC) - Ohio Bobcats

Mountain West Conference - Boise State Broncos

Pac-12 Conference - Oregon Ducks

Southeastern Conference (SEC) - Alabama Crimson Tide

Sun Belt Conference - Appalachian State Mountaineers

Each conference I think has its competitive teams, but the SEC, Big 10 and ACC are the most competitive conferences in college football. There could try well be some teams that surprise this year…and of course some that disappoint.

Nonetheless, the Playoff is going to be as exciting as it always is.

On the College Football Playoff podcast, I delve into how we could see some first time teams, and Alabama’s road to the playoff may be a tough one. Teams like Oregon, Michigan, Texas an LSU will be vouching for a spot in the Playoff for the first time.

However, I think we will get more of the same this year besides one but from the “Team Up North”:

  1. Alabama vs. 4. Oklahoma

  2. Clemson vs. 3. Michigan

Michigan makes its first Playoff appearance after Jim Harbaugh’s first win over Ohio State and a victory over Nebraska in the Big 10 Championship.

Alabama takes care of Oklahoma, but an improved defense from the Sooners could make things interesting. and, of course, the storyline of Jalen Hurts taking on his former team.

Clemson and Michigan ought to be a great game. Clemson needs front seven players to step up after some key losses, and this could be Jim Harbaugh’s best team he’s had while at the helm of Wolverine Football. In the end, I think Clemson has too much talent and firepower, not to mention the best QB in college football if Trevor Lawrence plays like he did last season.

As a result, it’s Alabama versus Clemson yet again!

I think this matchup happening again makes this one of the best rivalries in recent memory and we could have another dandy. Saban versus Sweeney. Tua versus Trevor. For me, I think redemption has a ring to it, just like it did for Virginia this past college basketball season.

Alabama wins over Clemson and claims another national championship. Nick Saban is crowned the greatest college football coach of all time, and the SEC and Alabama dynasty pounds its chest again as the champ.

As for the Heisman Trophy winner, I think Trevor Lawrence gets the nod as the best player in college football.

We shall see what happens this season! Hopefully, it’s one for the ages.

What's To Come This Season on the SUB

The first article on the Sports University Blog gets more and more relevant the closer we get to Saturday. “College Football Is Almost Here!”. The countdown is now into single digits before the pageantry that is college football kicks off its 2019-2020 season.

The Coaches’ and AP polls have been posted and everyone now has the rankings to judge. Whether the top four of Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Oklahoma survive to make the College Football Playoff is yet to be decided. And it will go down to the very wire to get to that point.

On the Sports University Podcast that concluded our College Football Preview, many teams are in the running to make it and we could also see some playoff debuts from teams this season.

Schools like Florida, Oregon, Texas and Michigan are looking to make some noise this season and all are in that AP Top 25; as a matter of fact the top 11.

Speaking of Florida, this week will mark the first official Team of the Week Blog that will be featured on the Sports University Blog (SUB). Each week, a different team will be previewed with their game for the weekend along with a post after said game on Sunday. Some posts will contain highlight videos of the game along with dialogue.

The Florida Gators are up first this week as they take on in-state foe Miami (FL). Stay tuned for that as it will be posted in the coming days!

College Football Is Almost Here!

The title explains the excitement you should have for the end of next month. College football is less than two months away and on the Sports University Blog beginning next week, the page will have a preview for every single FBS conference!

That entails predictions including records for each team, conference champion, and which teams make bowl games. In addition to the predictions, the blog will address coaching changes and what to watch for in each conference.

College sports are unique in many ways, but particularly college football. The tradition of college football is what makes it one of the most popular sports in America. Pageantry is another great way to describe it.

I get goosebumps watching College Gameday just waiting for Lee Corso to put on the headgear and maybe fire a gun or two; then it’s time! A day full of games, upsets and season shifting wins. It all goes down on the field. And we get to enjoy it.

You fall in love with a team and that comes with emotional highs and lows. We could be witnessing another great rivalry with Alabama and Clemson (I hope they meet again in the title game) and it’s been a fun one to watch!

You should be excited for college football. Many people are. Just ask the plethora of people chanting “Roll Tide!” til’ the cows come home. They have one thing on their mind and that’s redemption. another title, and a clear argument as to who is the greatest coach of this generation in Nick Saban.

It’ll be a fun summer leading up to late August, the previews come next week and we’ll see if they come true! That’s one of the best parts about sports. At the start of the season every team is 0-0. Anyone can win, anyone can lose. Who will rise?

One thing’s for sure. It’s almost college football time.