College Football Season Kickoff in the Sunshine State

Coach+Dan+Mullen+and+the+Florida+Gators+before+their+win+over+Charleston+Southern.
Coach Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators before their win over Charleston Southern.

Coach Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators before their win over Charleston Southern.

Coach Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators before their win over Charleston Southern.

Bennett Carollo, Staff Writer

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The 2018 college football season got underway this past weekend, with many teams eager for a fresh start and a new chance, no matter how slim it may be, to make the College Football Playoff. The Florida Gators were definitely one of these teams, as they looked to put an uncharacteristically bad 4-7 2017 season behind them. A dominating 53-6 win over Charleston Southern was a good start. New head coach Dan Mullen impressed, as the Gators were superb on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Feleipe Franks looked like a much improved version of himself, completing 16 of 24 passes for 219 yards and a whopping five touchdowns. Of course, all of this week 1 success should be taken with a grain of salt, as Charleston Southern is a far inferior FCS team that the Gators expected to defeat easily. The first real test for Mullen and the 2018 Gators will come next week against their first SEC opponent, Kentucky.

The great week for UF fans continued beyond just the Gators’ win, as watching in-state rivals Miami and FSU lose was no doubt a nice bonus. 8th ranked Miami suffered defeat at the hands of the 25th ranked LSU Tigers, 33-17. Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier had a shaky performance, completing just 15 of 35 passes and throwing two interceptions, while wide receiver Jeff Thomas gave Miami fans hope with 132 yards on five receptions. As for the Seminoles, they were mercilessly torched 24-3 by the VA Tech Hokies. An unacceptable five turnovers, including three interceptions thrown by Deondre Francois, ended up doing the Noles in, as they managed just the three points despite gaining more total yards than the Hokies, 327 to 319.

Elsewhere in the Sunshine State, a handful of Group of 5 schools also began their seasons. The local USF Bulls got off to a good start, beating Elon 34-14. New quarterback Blake Barnett was impressive, completing 24 of 34 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns. The Bulls’ chief rivals, UCF, built off of their outstanding 2017 season by beginning 2018 with a 56-17 blowout of UConn. Returning QB McKenzie Milton threw for five touchdowns and 346 yards in the win. On the other end of the spectrum, FAU was obliterated by the far superior number 6 ranked Oklahoma, 63-14.

With only one week of games in the books and eleven more to go (and that’s before considering bowl games and the CFP), there’s no telling what’s in store for the 2018 college football season. There are sure to be plenty of exciting upsets and rivalry games to come, but week 1 can at least give us an inkling of what to expect in the coming months.

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