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Sunshine State football fans want to forget lost weekend

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Nearly every football fan in Florida had something to be unhappy about over the weekend. At least one of their favorite teams tasted defeat, many by embarrassing scores.

There was a little bit of good news.

Those supporting “The U” did have something to cheer about with Miami’s 45-10 road romp at Appalachian State. The Florida Gators blitzed the North Florida Mean Green, 32-0.

Those wins were enough to see both schools move up in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Miami is now ranked 15th while the Gators climbed to the 19th spot.

South Florida spotted Syracuse 17 points, but scored 45 of the next 48 points to post a 45-20 victory. The Bulls earned a few votes in the AP poll.

That’s about it for the good news.

Even the Gator victory brought about a downer. Quarterback Luke Del Rio suffered a knee injury that will keep him out at least through this week’s rivalry game with Tennessee.

“Someone else will play,” said Gator Coach Jim McElwain. “We’ll get some guys ready and move forward.”

That “someone” will be fifth-year senior transfer Austin Appleby.

Most of the country is aware of Florida State’s 63-20 debacle at Louisville, while Florida Atlantic was embarrassed at Kansas State, 63-7. Seminoles’ fans, as well as the coaches, do not want to see Lamar Jackson again any time soon.

Florida International lost to Massachusetts, 21-13. Central Florida lost to Maryland in double overtime, 30-24. Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M both lost their weekend games as well.

If Florida’s professional teams were to provide some comfort on Sunday, they failed miserably.

The Buccaneers knew their trip to Arizona would be difficult, but few saw a 40-7 thrashing coming. Jacksonville had a similar experience in the Pacific time zone as they took a 38-14 beating at the hands of the San Diego Chargers.

The Miami Dolphins were getting blown out at New England, but they wound up losing by a respectable 31-24 after the Patriots lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

It does not take a sports psychologist to conclude Miami fans feel better today than others around Florida. When your college team wins and your pro team only barely loses after a comeback, you are miles ahead of other Florida football fans.

Practice promises to be filled with a lot of hard work and a lot of (hopefully) corrective action this week. None of the three winning college teams from the past weekend are expected to be celebrating again by Saturday night.

Florida goes to Tennessee with a backup quarterback, while USF is hosting a humiliated FSU. Miami has the week off.

The good news is at least one of the teams that lost on Saturday will win this week. Florida International hosts Central Florida on Saturday night.

 

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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