CFB Roundup: Florida's Dirty Dozen, Manny's Revenge And Mikey's Magic

Georgia v Florida

Photo: Getty Images

A dozen plays turned the Florida-Georgia game into a blowout and shouldn't have happened.

Florida trailed the top-ranked Bulldogs 3-0 when the Gators' Rashad Torrence picked off a Stetson Bennet's pass to end a Georgia drive. Florida took over at their own two-yard line with 3:11 to play in the half. The mission was to get a couple of first downs and get out of the half down just three and get the ball to start the second half. Starter Anthony Richardson was struggling against the top defense in the country so Dan Mullen ran him on first down for no gain and he ran again on second down. Richardson had an eight yard gain when Georgia's Nolan Smith stripped the ball from the quarterback and everything changed. If Richardson is not stripped maybe Florida converts on third-and-two and runs out the clock. Or even if Florida punts, their defense had played well and maybe gives up a field goal to go down 6-0. But the strip changed the game because Georgia scored on the next play and it was 10-0.

After the Georgia kickoff, Florida was called for a false start and it became 1st and 15. Then Richardson ran for no gain and then Nolan Smith made another big play with an interception. One play later, a touchdown pass for Georgia and it was 17-0. Seven plays later, after the kickoff, Richardson made another mistake with a telegraphed pass that Georgia's Nakobe Dean took back for a touchdown and the rout was on at 24-0.

Florida fans got what they wanted in Richardson starting but he was overmatched by a special defense. Two series into the second half and Dan Mullen brought Emory Jones into the game. In the end, Florida was dominated in a game Georgia ran just 52 offensive plays. A dozen plays turned a close game into a program spiraling loss. Mullen spoke after the game about holding onto a rope and it sounded like a coach who knows his rival has widened the gap on talent and results on the field and now is scrambling to save a recruiting class and appears to have lost the majority of support from the Florida fanbase.

Mullen is not getting fired this season. But he is on the clock for next year and he needs to solve his quarterback problem. The assumption was Anthony Richardson would be the guy and Emory Jones would be on the move. That makes the final month so interesting at Florida. Mullen is having a QB contest in a way in these final four games and needs some clarity by season's end. But Florida's gap to Georgia is not just at quarterback. Heck, the Bulldogs are the top team in the country with basically a backup QB.

A dozen plays turned a close game into a blowout. A dozen games for Florida this year and Dan Mullen's hold on the program's rope might be slipping away...

I said if Miami fans wanted Manny Diaz gone they needed the school to make a move when the team was 2-3 after their home loss to Virginia. I said if they didn't make a change, Canes' fans would not get their wish because Miami would win a bunch of games in the second half of the season. Well, Miami lost it's next game at North Carolina 45-42 but Tyler Van Dyke had a breakout game. Feeling the heat from an angry fanbase, Diaz and the Canes have since posted back-to-back wins over ranked teams in North Carolina State and Pitt. I thought Miami was getting Pitt at a perfect time after the Panthers beat Clemson the week before. Van Dyke threw for 426 yards and three scores and outdueled Pitt's Kenny Pickett and a healthier Miami team has now starting playing like the top 25 team Miami was projected to be before the season. Diaz has found a quarterback and the Canes are healthier and may win out with Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke left. An 8-4 Miami team with a six-game win streak will not be looking for a new coach. A bowl win would have Miami as a team with momentum heading into 2022 and you can bet it will be with Manny Diaz as its coach...

UCF rolled Temple 49-7 and freshman Mikey Keene tossed five touchdowns and the Knights defense dominated another week as UCF moved to 5-3. Gus Malzahn certainly wishes Dillon Gabriel never got hurt, but in a way Malzahn appears to be enjoying the challenge of developing a game plan with a rookie QB and limited offensive weapons. The Knights have played games without their all-conference center, best running back and best wide receiver throughout the season. Malzahn has had to get really creative with lots of motion, jet sweeps, counter plays and guessing each week. He called his best game of the season Saturday and knew when to trust Keene to throw. Keene became a much more confident player and at times trusted the play and threw the perfect pass. UCF has Tulane this week before a road trip at SMU and then UCONN and South Florida. The trip to Dallas will be a challenge and don't rule out the return of Dillon Gabriel at some point. Gabriel is doing more each practice and his return has gone from not likely to a matter of when...

FSU wants no moral victories and Clemson ain't the same Clemson we have watched for a decade. But Mike Norvell's team is so much better than they were five games ago. Norvell heard about buyouts and better options for his position and yet he has rallied a team that looked really bad just over a month ago into a team that is competing each week. But despite all that, Norvell faces his biggest challenge in November. While the Noles are competing, they are 3-5 and may not win another game. And if they finish 3-9, much of the goodwill built will be gone. FSU plays NC State this week and I think it's the biggest game of the year. If the Seminoles can beat a decent team who once was ranked they could get to five wins and 5-7, after an 0-4 start, would be something to build on. The remaining games are Miami at home before road contests at Boston College and Florida. Can FSU win three of its final four? Sure. Will they? Ask me after the NC State game...

College football playoff rankings are released tomorrow night. It's the first, not last rankings. All eyes will be on where Cincinnati is ranked. I will not be surprised if the Bearcats are fifth. If they are, many will scream. Relax. We have another month of this season and nothing ever goes the way we predict. But here's my guess to the rankings: 1. Georgia 2. Alabama 3. Ohio State 4. Cincinnati 5. Oklahoma 6. Michigan State

Final thought: Marineland, Florida is located just outside of St. Augustine. It's smallest populated city in the state with 11 residents.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content