GAINESVILLE— It should come as no surprise, but Florida has officially fallen from the ranks of the nation's top 25 in the Associated Press and the coaches polls.
It's the first time the Gators have been out of the AP poll since the final poll in 2004. Before Saturday night's home loss to Mississippi State, Florida had been ranked in every poll under sixth-year coach Urban Meyer, including 62 times in the top 10.
Florida, which has lost three straight, has a bye this week then faces Georgia on Oct. 30. For the players, it's an opportunity to regroup and attempt to figure out how to salvage a season that is slowly falling apart.
CIRCLING THE WAGONS: With the losing streak continuing, the national media growing more critical and fans on Internet chat rooms and websites becoming increasingly frustrated, the Gators are trying desperately to keep negative distractions from infiltrating the locker room.
"That's the first thing we acknowledged when we got in there (locker room)," senior S Ahmad Black said. "We lose as a team. We win as a team. I told them that we're still a family, no matter what, through thick and thin. We always stick together and pull it out.
Senior C Mike Pouncey called the three losses a career low point.
"I can't remember the last time I ever lost three games in my whole life," he said. "This is one of the toughest times of my life. I'm going to talk to people, with my teammates that are close to me, and we're going to stick together and get through this."
East still attainable: Florida still controls its destiny in the East Division. Because of Georgia's slow start and South Carolina's loss at Kentucky on Saturday, the Gators can win out and play in a third straight SEC Championship Game.
FSU: A needed break
TALLAHASSEE — After playing for seven consecutive Saturdays, Florida State receives a much-needed off week.
The Seminoles will prepare instead for an Oct. 28 game at N.C. State that should go a long way toward deciding the winner of the ACC's Atlantic Division.
FSU will use the bye week to get healthy, coach Jimbo Fisher said.
"We're banged and bruised pretty good. We've had a couple big games — emotionally, I think we need to get our feet back on the ground and get our bearings,'' Fisher said.
UM: Offense sluggish
CORAL GABLES — Miami's offense, aside from RB Damien Berry, continues to be a concern. In Saturday's win at Duke, the offense had just 21 points against a defense allowing 39.8 points per game, 115th in the nation.
The Hurricanes said they were sluggish, with coach Randy Shannon blaming "a tough environment." He said the atmosphere at Duke for some reason makes it a difficult place to play. The attendance was 25,911.
South Florida Sun Sentinel