Sunshine State Football Turned Upside Down in 2017


Photo via Wikimedia

UCF had a great turnaround season this year.

2017 was a wild year for college football in the state of Florida.

A few of the crazier notes include UCF turning their record around from 0-12 in 2015, to 12-0 this year. Coach Scott Frost did an incredible job turning the program around.

Meanwhile, perennial powerhouses University of Florida and Florida State typically have football seasons that other Florida college teams such as UCF and FAU can only dream about. After all, they have national championships, they have produced multiple Heisman Trophy winners, and they produce dozens of high NFL draft picks. But this year was different.

The UCF Knights, under one of the hottest young coaches in the country, Scott Frost, finished 12-0 and won their conference. Just 2 short years ago they were 0-12, marking the biggest turnaround in NCAA history. The USF Bulls are also 9-2. Ironically, one of their two losses was to UCF after their kickoff late in the 4th quarter of that game was returned for a touchdown with less than a minute to go. They lost 49-42 before a sellout crowd of over 70,000 people.

The University of Miami has been just as impressive in 2017, their best season in the last 15 years. Miami was ranked number 2 in the country until a surprising loss to Pitt last week. Though they had a rough finish to the season with a crushing loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, Miami overachieved and they put “The U” back on the map.

Florida Atlantic also had a fantastic year. Coach Lane Kiffin engineered a rapid turnaround, taking the Owls, who had finished 3-9 in three straight seasons, to their first C-USA conference championship. At 10-3, the Owls gained national media attention and will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come.  

At this time last year, no college football fans would have guessed that the mighty Florida Gators would be struggling with a record of 4-7 and in need of a new coach.

The Seminoles also have a losing record, and they are rumored to be looking for a new head coach, since coach Jimbo Fisher left to coach at Texas A&M. The theories for this unusual football dynamic range from bad coaching in the Gators football program to key injuries to the Seminoles.

Usually the FSU and UF football programs recruit all the top high school players in the state. If this year has told us anything, however, it is that there is no guarantee that the usual favorites will always prevail. We’ll see if this year’s surprises become the new standard for Florida college football or if it was just a fluke year.

Sources: ABC News, Journal Star, SB Nation, NY Times, Tallahassee Democrat

Photo Source: Wikimedia (License)