The Sunshine State is packed with recruiting talent from the tip of the panhandle down through the Keys. But how do the Florida football schools rank against each other? Here’s a look of the top 5 programs heading into 2013 and the top 5 games to watch between those competing.
Top 5 games to watch between Florida Schools:
5) Miami at USF (Sept. 28)
4) USF at UCF (Nov. 29)
3) Miami at Florida State (Nov. 2)
2) Florida at Miami (Sept. 7)
1) Florida State at Florida (Nov. 30)
Florida’s Top 5 for 2013:
5) UCF Knights:
The Knights are coming off of its second 10-win season in three years and a bowl victory to close out 2012. This season UCF is returning Blake Bortles, who threw 25 touchdown passes last year and did not toss a pick in the final six games of the year. The Knights have thoughts at another 10-win season and wins at Penn State and at Louisville could go a long way to getting there. The Knights open the season on Aug. 29 against Akron.
4) Miami Hurricanes
Miami is either going to be the most improved ACC team or a dud. The Hurricanes were last in run and pass defense in the ACC and those numbers can only improve. If the defense comes together the offense will have a chance to win some games and get Miami back to where it is used to being. Seven of the team’s top nine receivers are back from a team that had over 3,500 yards through the air. If the NCAA stays away from Miami, this team could get back to a bowl.
3) USF Bulls
USF had one of its worst years in school history after winning just three games on the way to a 3-9 record overall and 1-6 in Big East play. This season the Bulls have their sights set on returning to bowl eligibility and new coach Willie Taggart is hoping to pump life back into this team that was just a game away from a BCS bowl a few years back.
2) Florida State Seminoles
Florida State is one of two teams in which the Sunshine State has its hopes on to bring a title back to Florida. The Seminoles have been in the nations top-5 view for the last two years but have fallen short of those expectations. Getting passed the Gators this year will go a long way in getting back to the promise land. But up first will be a tough ACC schedule.
1) Florida Gators
At the end of the season the Gators may be the lone hope for the state to have a team in the championship game, those goals though may be at least the SEC Championship Game. For the Gators to get there they will have to go through games at LSU, at home vs. Georgia and then a tough game at South Carolina before hosting Florida State on Nov. 30. If, and a big if, the Gators get beyond that schedule, a likely opponent is going to be Alabama in Atlanta for the conference crown.