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Picks of the Weak: Three perfect teams in Florida but not at UF or FSU

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 8:54 am

By Rick Pedone

As we cross the midpoint of the college football season, several Florida universities are boasting unbeaten records.
One of them, of course, is Florida State, the preseason national championship contender …. Oops! Hold on here, that’s not right. The Seminoles, in fact, are sporting a not-so-radiant 2-3 record.
Well, we just made a mistake there. It’s the Florida Gators, three-time national champs, who are cruising unbeaten into next week’s World’s Biggest Cocktail Party against Georgia and … What? Geez, they’re not even close to perfect.
The last we saw of the 3-3 Gators, they were flailing hopelessly on the wrong side of the scoreboard against Texas A&M while wearing the ugliest uniforms in college football history.
Back to the original thesis of this column, there are, in fact, three unbeaten Florida college programs heading into today’s action: UCF, USF and Miami.
And there’s a good chance that all three will still be unbeaten at day’s end.
The Knights have been a revelation under Coach Scott Frost, who has brought Oregon’s explosive offense to Central Florida. The Knights (5-0) are scoring so many points that they are wearing out Spectrum Stadium, which apparently needs to be welded back together soon.
USF, the Knights’ main rival, has been reborn under Charlie Strong. Strong has the Bulls (6-0) humming along better than they have been in a decade.
The Miami Hurricanes (5-0), who at one time rolled perfect seasons as routinely as South Beach hotels erect neon signage, are showing some swag again. But, maybe they should score the winning touchdown a little earlier than 5 seconds before the fourth quarter ends to spare their fans heart spasms.
The question is, which of the three has the best chance to go unbeaten?
Since USF finishes the season at UCF on Thanksgiving weekend, only one can be perfect. UCF probably has the slightly tougher path, with road games today at Navy and at SMU next week. But, although USF finishes with three of its last four at home, one of those is against high-powered Tulsa.
Between those two, we’ll vote for UCF as most likely to earn a Big Bowl Bid.
Miami, ranked No. 8, has flaws, but its toughest remaining games – Nov. 4 against Virginia Tech and Nov. 11 with Notre Dame – are at home. Maybe this is the year the Canes finally bring home the ACC championship.
The Mighty News-Gazette Divine 9:
No. 1: The Crimson Tide. No. 2: Nittany Cats. No. 3: Them Dawgs. No. 4: The Canes. No. 5: Knightro. No. 6: USF. No. 7: Neon. No. 8: Deon. No. 9: Cold fronts.

To the picks:
UCF (-8) at Navy: They might need to widen the scoreboard at Annapolis. Neither defense has much of a chance. Knights by 9.
Syracuse at Miami (-15): Both teams are coming off near-miraculous wins. For the Orange, one of those per decade is all they can handle. Canes by a Not So Miraculous 16.
Louisville at FSU (-6.5): This game looked like one of the ACC’s best during the preseason. So, we’ll just file this under, “Things Happen.” Cards by 4 in the “Things Happen” Upset Special.
USC at Notre Dame (-4): One of the glamour matchups of the day. But, honestly, isn’t it way past time for the Irish to start doing something special? Troy Boys by 6 in the “Nothing Special About These Irish” Upset Special II.
Michigan at Penn State (-9.5): A year ago, the Lions looked like perennial Big Ten foot wipes. Not any more. Lions by 7.

The paid professionals:
Jacksonville (-3) at Indianapolis: This one is pretty easy to figure out because the Jags have found a rhythm: Win, lose, win, lose, win, lose …. got it? Jags by a rhythmic 4.
Jets at Miami (-3): Jets were victimized by one of the worst calls of the year during their game against New England last week. But, the Fins won’t need any help from the striped shirts today. Fins by 4.
Tampa Bay at Buffalo (-3): A really interesting inter-conference matchup that becomes much less interesting without Jameis Winston. Wild Bills by 2.
Washington at Philadelphia (-4.5): So, here is the cream of the NFC East. Such as it is. Last year Philly got off to a great start and fizzled. Don’t think that’ll happen again. No Phizz Philly by 4.
Atlanta at New England (-4): The Super Bowl rematch that no one outside of the greater Boston metropolitan area wants to revisit. Pats by 3.
Brian “Big Man” McBride’s Super Sniffer Upset Special: Jets over Fins by 3. (He said he’s won three weeks in a row, so I guess we have to pitch in for a trophy or something.)
Petey “The Gators Are Going To Win” Covino says: Send me one of those uniforms before the bonfire. I need a Halloween costume.
Ken “Young Jackson the Elder” says: Knights by 12; Canes, but take the points; Cardinals by 4 in “It’s Been Fun Picking Noles To Lose” Upset Special; Irish by 7 in the Overrated Bowl; Lions by 3 points and two James Franklin new contract requests; Jags by 7 because it’s their turn to win; Confounding Fins by 4; Bills by 7 because no Jameis; Eagles by 17 because they own the Redskins on Monday night and Patriots by whatever Belichick says.