Saturday, the college football offseason came to a close, blessing the country with a marquee Power 5 showdown. Florida was able to come away with a 24-20 win over the Canes, scoring what would be the winning TD with 8:18 left in the game. This matchup was highly touted by ESPN, and it shattered expectations with a 4.1 national overnight rating, securing it as the most viewed game on the network since Ohio State vs. Michigan back in 2016, as well as the most viewed August matchup in ESPN history.
Despite the record viewership numbers, the game was incredibly sloppy and, at times, hard to watch. Granted, this was Zero Week and teams are not yet running on all cylinders, some of the blunders exhibited were beyond that excuse. Florida was especially disappointing as they come into this season with hopes of a College Football Playoff bid. QB Felipe Franks showed promise in last season’s Peach Bowl rout of Michigan but seemed to fall completely back to earth on Saturday.
Franks was 17-27 for 254 yards and two touchdowns but also added two interceptions and a fumble off of a muffed handoff. All this brought about a pitiful 38.6 QBR against a defense that seemed to not know how to tackle. Watching, I couldn’t tell whether Miami’s defense has actually been solidified under new head coach Manny Diaz or not because of the poor play of Franks and the Florida offense. All-in-all, what I got from this game is that Florida is not a true contender even in the SEC, let alone for a National Championship.
On the other side of things, Miami looked better than expected and had every opportunity to win this game. The real discernable problem for the Canes was the abysmal play from the offensive line. The freshman QB Jarren Williams showed flashes of being a starter but was running for his life for the entirety of the game. The Miami line allowed 10 sacks in the game, something that is almost insurmountable. On top of the miserable pass protection, the team had 14 penalties, a great deal of which were on the offensive line or quarterback. A bright spot was Deejay Dallas, racking up 95 yards on just 12 attempts. Dallas ran hard and fast, showing that he could be an incredible asset for the team this season. The last big thing that we saw from Miami was the “Touchdown Rings”, which are the offense’s spin on the infamous “Turnover Chain”. These things are terrible, and I don’t even believe that Canes fans like the implementation of the rings.
This game was not even close to a “good” game of football, despite the close score. Florida is still much farther from a Playoff bid than many think, and will likely find themselves closer to a second consecutive New Year’s Six Bowl bid. Miami has just one seemingly impossible game on their schedule, and could easily win 10 games this season if Diaz is able to polish up some of the major offensive line issues.